Mount Fuji and the autumn leaves of the banksof Lake Kwaguchi.
Mount Fuji and the autumn leaves of the banksof Lake Kwaguchi.

An official tour for visitors from all around the world has been prepared at the Japan Halal Expo 2014. The event has been given the subtitle of Made in Japan Halal & Visit Japan, as visitors will be able to experience the development of Halal Tourism in Japan. I will introduce the attractions of this official tour in this column as well as the two following columns. The first is a two-day, one-night trip to Hakone and Gotemba.

On the first day, the tour group will head to Gotemba Premium Outlets, one of Japan’s biggest outlet malls with 210 shops and restaurants, where they can enjoy shopping at 25-65% off the retail prices. The mall includes a prayer room, so Muslim visitors can enjoy shopping without worrying about the time. The highlight of this part of the trip may be the view of Mt. Fuji, which can be enjoyed from a lot closer distance than in Tokyo.

After enjoying a day of shopping, the tour group will head to their accommodations in Hakone. Hakone is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Japan, with post towns and checkpoints established at the foot of the Hakonetoge since the Edo period. Hakone is particularly renowned for its hot springs in various places and the beauty of its autumn leaves. Late November, when the Expo will be held, is the best season to enjoy the autumn leaves in Hakone.

The group will visit the surrounding attractions such as Gora Park, the ropeway, and Owakudani while enjoying Muslim-friendly meals in various locations. Owakudani is well known as the area around a crater created during the last eruption of Mount Hakone some 3000 years ago. Today, much of the area is an active volcanic zone. Recently it has also been the setting for the anime “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, used as the place where the main character Shinji arrives after running away from home and wandering around.

Please come and experience this spectacular resort located just a two-hour drive away from Tokyo.