Okayama Health Tourism Introduces Muslim Friendly Guide
Okayama is the first prefecture in Japan to introduce Muslim friendly guide called Okayama Health Tourism Project. This is the second of the project and they aimed to promote Muslim-friendly in Okayama targeting travellers from Malaysia and other Muslim countries. Okayama Health Tourism created the Peach Mark for Muslim friendly restaurant or hotels or attractions. There are two level of Peach Mark, Peach Mark One and Peach Mark Two.
Where is Okayama?
Okayama is in the Chugoku region of Japan and it is founded on June 1, 1889. It is located in between Hiroshima and Osaka and it is a transit hub for many bullet train in the West region of Kansai Japan. The city is famous of the Japanese fable Momotaro and the white peach, the best peach in Japan.
The nearest largest International airport near Okayama is Kansai International Airport. There are two direct flights from Malaysia to Kansai International Airport and they are AirAsiaX, Japan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines.
Okayama is only 45 minutes Shinkansen (bullet train) ride away from Shin Osaka Station. There are two options, the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen or the Sakura Shinkansen. We prefer to travel with latter as the train is bigger and more comfortable.
During the summer season, you can go for fruits picking. You can try their famous white peach and other fruits such as grapes and more.
There is also the beautiful Okayama Castle, Okayama Korakuen Park, Kurashiki Bikan Quarter and more.
How to travel cheap to Okayama?
We know traveling with Shinkansen is not cheap. From Shin Osaka to Okayama one way, the Shinkansen fare is 6,000 Yen (RM 218) and return is 12,000 Yen (RM 435).
How to travel cheaper? Well, use the 5 Day JR Kansai Wide Area Pass for 9,000 Yen (RM 323) when you booked with Klook.com (pick up at Kansai International Airport). The 5 Day JR Kansai Wide Area can be used from the airport to Okayama and other cities such as Kobe, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji and more. You get to save on the train fare and you can use it other areas for five days too. Booked it with Klook.com and you can get the pass in the airport and after you review, you will get extra credits for the next booking on Klook.com
The Okayama Health Tourism Peach Mark.
The Peach Mark is used in Okayama City, Maniwa City, and Kibichuo Town to designate products and services that have features that are helpful for non-Japanese, such as English ingredient lists, English menus, and English language services. In addition, these products and services refrain from using pork by-products and alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam, and provide enough information that the visitor can decide on their own. The Peach Mark recognizes the efforts of local business in promoting “health tourism” — tourism with the aim of refreshing the body, mind, and spirit. while assisting visitors in recognizing products and services that are in line with their religious beliefs and health concerns.
Peach Mark 1: Used for restaurants and cafes that have English menus or pictogram menus, and which have some pork / pork-derivative-free menu items; for lodging facilities that have English support, and make prayer mats and compasses available for guests; and for products that have English information and do not utilize pork or pork-derivative ingredients.
Peach Mark 2: Used for businesses that fulfill and exceed the Peach 1 qualifications. It is used for restaurants that have some vegetarian menu items, as well as some menu items that do not include pork-derivative ingredients or alcohol, and which have ingredient lists in English; for lodging facilities that can prepare a prayer space on request and which have a hospital nearby that offers English support, and which have health-conscious instruments; and for products that are made of all vegetable-derived ingredients.
We visited a few restaurants and café with the Peach Mark 1. What the restaurant do is they use only Halal meat and food, different set of cooking utensils and tableware for Muslims.
In Okayama, we met up with the representatives of Tourism and Convention Promotion Division City of Okayama, Okayama Visitors and Convention Association and JTB Okayama. All of them are very positive with the Muslim Friendly guide and hope more Muslims will travel to Okayama.
Some cool information for the people we met in Okayama. Otsuki Satoko of Okayama Visitors and Convention Association worked in Malaysia for 10 years while Ms Hitomi Nakamaru of JTB Okayama worked in Malaysia for one year and Mr. Takaaki Kataoka is currently learning Malay language. They fell in love with Malaysia and experienced the warmth hospitality of Malaysians and that is one of the main reasons why they wanted to promote Okayama as the top destinations for Muslims and Malaysians. They are looking forward to the Indonesia market too.
These are honest people with great intention to create a Muslim friendly environment for Muslim travellers in Okayama. Currently, they are knocking door to door for more restaurants and hotels to adapt the Muslim friendly The Okayama Health Tourism Peach Mark.
If you are looking for a Muslim friendly destination, you can visit Okayama. It is only 45 minutes away from Osaka. For more information, visit https://www.okayamahealthtourism.com/