There are over 80 Masjids مسجد (mosques) in Japan, many of them relatively small. The country’s biggest Masjid is Tokyo Camii, or Tokyo Masjid which has space for around 1,200 worshipers. This is magnificent Ottoman-style Masjid in the heart of the Japanese capital is one of the historical Masjid in Japan. In 1998, there were only two Masjids in Japan. One was KOBE Masjid and the other was Masjid of Arabic Islamic Institute Tokyo.
Now, in 2014, there are over 70 Masjids or Musallahs (temporary prayer places) in all over Japan. Masjid have been built in number of Japanese cities and prefectures such as Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Fukushima, Shizuoka, Gifu, Miyagi, Aiichi, Niigata, Toyama, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Okinawa etc.
When the Soviet Russia began to rule in 1917, some of the Turkish communities migrated to different regions of world. Kazan Turks, who had migrated to Tokyo, established a community called “Mahalle-i İslamiye” (Islamic District) led by Abdulhay Kurban Ali and Abdurreşid İbrahim and built a Cami (Masjid) and school in 1938. According to senior Turkish in Japan, Japanese people gave a considerable support to the community’s services both economically and socially.
In 1986, the historical Tokyo Camii, (Tokyo Masjid) had to be demolished because of severe structural damage due to second world war and earthquakes. Under the direction and support of Diyanet İsleri Baskanlıgı a new building was begun in 1998. The architect for the building was Muharrem Hilmi Senalp.
The ornamentation was based on Ottoman religious architecture. Around 70 Turkish craftsmen performed the finishing works, and a considerable quantity of marble was imported from Turkey. The construction was completed in 2000 at a cost of around 1.5 billion yen. The inauguration was held on June 30, 2000.
Tokyo Camii is 734 square meters in area and has one basement floor and three above-ground floors with a total floor area of 1,477 square meters. Its main dome is 23.25 meters tall and is supported by six pillars, while the adjacent minaret is 41.48 meters tall.
In the heart of a quiet residential area in Yoyogi Uehara, just a short distance from the bustling city-center hotspots of Shinjuku and Harajuku, is Tokyo Camii whose towering minaret and impressive dome make it stand out from the surrounding architecture. Neighboring Japanese called Tokyo Camii a symbolic while increasing number of Japanese people visit this historical Masjid every day.
“Camii or Jamii” is a major or big Masjid where people gather for Friday prayers, the most important of the week. Tokyo Camii, is architecturally similar to the famous Blue Mosque in Istanbul.
Apart from water, concrete, and steel, all the building materials and furnishings used in the Tokyo Camii were brought from Turkey. Around a hundred Turkish artisans worked for a year to build the second-story mosque itself and the cultural center downstairs. The building itself is a work of art.
If you are living in Tokyo or visiting Tokyo, you can go to Tokyo Camii to see Islamic culture and meet Muslims in Japan. The Camii is open for Muslims and for non-Muslims as well. Friday is most recommended day to visit and if a visitor goes to the Tokyo Camii on Friday noon, he or she can observe Friday prayer and meet Japanese and non-Japanese Muslims from various countries. On many occasion throughout the year, seminar and exhibition are being held at Tokyo Camii. School or University students, individual or in a group, can visit the Tokyo Camii for research or study purpose by contacting administration of the Tokyo Camii.
Visit Tokyo Camii in the month of Ramadan
Sawm صوم or fasting in the Islamic month of Ramadan رمضان المبارک is one of the five pillars of Islam which is 9th month of Islamic Calendar. Fasting in the month of Ramadan is an obligation for all Muslims except those who are ill or cannot perform due to the reasons permissible according to Islamic law, the Shariah. During the month of Ramadan, Tokyo Camii administration arranged fast breaking meals for Muslims who perform fasting but non-Muslims men or women can also join the meal to experience Islamic culture or life style of Muslims. During the Ramadan, you can enjoy such meal at Tokyo Camii every day, well after the sunset time. About 200-250 Muslims or non-Muslims including Japanese men and women come to Tokyo Camii every day during the Ramadan to have fasting break meal. On Saturdays or Sundays of Ramadan, about 300-350 people come to have fasting break meals. Turkish cuisine, cooked by Turkish chef offered to visitors on fast breaking time. This is a good time to experience Muslims daily lives.
University students also visit Tokyo Camii in groups
Visit of Tokyo Camii is recommended for Muslims visiting Tokyo from other countries. Never miss to see the Historical Tokyo Camii.
Islamic literature or basic information about Islam and Turkey is available at the Tokyo Camii. One can also check Tokyo Camii web-site for further information.
Tokyo Camii address and contact number:
TOKYO CAMII & TURKISH CULTURE CENTER 1-19 Oyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 151-0065, JAPAN
Nearest Station: Yoyogi Uehara St. (Odakyu Line or Chiyoda Line)
Tel: 03-5790-0760 Fax: 03-5790-7822 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org