April 07, 2017

Visiting the rumored “Tokyo Camii”


There is a peculiar sight you can see from the windows of the Odakyu-Line – a gigantic building that stands out in the middle of the residential area. What is it? You may ask as you marvel at the rustic exterior of the sky-piercing steeple and the voluptuous dome. That architecture that we’ve always wondered about is apparently a Islamic Mosque, which in fact, is revered as the largest in Japan and most beautiful in Asia… In this article we will take you on a trip into the “Tokyo Camii”.
小田急線の窓から見える、住宅街で異彩を放つ巨大な建物。あれはいったい何? 空を突き抜けるようにそびえ立つ尖塔とたおやかなドーム、蒼然たる外観。ずっと気になっていたあの建物は、どうやらイスラム教のモスクらしい。しかも日本最大でアジア一美しいとか……。うわさの東京ジャーミイを訪ねてみた。

What is “Camii”

Yoyogi-Uehara – known as one of the high-class residential district of Tokyo. Usually a station that you may (or may not) notice en route riding on the metro, but in the recent years Yoyogi-Uehara has been rising to interest for its unique boutiques and quirky cafe’s and bars. Five minutes away from this fashionable town along the Inokashira Street is where Tokyo Camii stands.
What is a “Camii”, you may ask? Camii is Arabic for “A place in which contains many things”, and essentially refers to a Mosque. The Camii opened in 2000 to bridge Japanese-Turkish relations, and is the home of the heart for the many muslims that live in the area. Furthermore, the Turkish Culture Center attached to the Mosque hosts many cultural events. The interesting fact of the Tokyo Camii is that the people who visit are not necessarily Muslims and overseas tourists – the Mosque is also a popular sightseeing spot for the local youth of Tokyo.



Pay a visit for the full experience

Tokyo Camii is open everyday from 10AM to 6PM, and is open to the public. Once you enter the elegant hand-crafted wooden doors, you will find yourself in the entrance hall of Tokyo Camii that looks like a Turkish palace. The first floor is open to the public as the Turkish Culture Center, which galleries shops, and guest rooms exhibit a myriad of artifacts of Turkish culture. Waiting for us in the guest room that is furnished like a traditional Turkish home is PR Manager Mr. Shigeru Yamashita.
“I want you to take a look, it is breathtaking!” he says as he leads to the second floor. From the elegant terrace, you can see the astounding view of the Ottoman-Turkish Chapel. To enter, one must take off their shoes, and women must cover their heads with a rental scarf. When you open the Chapel doors, we were speechless at the overwhelming beauty before our eyes. Within the high ceilings and wide interior of the Chapel is a vivid stained glass window in which light generously pours through.
“What do you think?” Mr. Yamashita’s question snaps us back to reality. “Its absolutely breathtaking” we answered desperately.



The charm of the Mosque as art and architecture

In this Islamic Mosque where idol worship is prohibited, there are various arabic literature, geometric and plant-like patterns. There is a certain allure of Islamic art that is a stark contrast to famous paintings exhibited in other cathedrals in the world, such as the Duomo Cathedral in Italy. If you are interested in learning about the Mosque’s art and architecture in depth, we recommend you to participate in their “Tokyo Camii Tour” every weekend from 2:30PM.
“Tulips are most renown in the Netherlands, but they are actually made in Turkey. It is a flower that is cherished in the Islamic countries.” Mr. Yamashita explained as we were searching through the gift shop for Turkish souvenirs. With that knowledge, it is inevitable to choose out of the many decorative plates the one with the Tulip. Once you’ve bought your souvenir, you’ll understand what it means to be able to ‘feel like you’re in Turkey without leaving Tokyo’. With that said however, one must remember that this is still a religious facility. Visitors must refrain from showing too much skin, and be mindful of the manners of service. 
Honestly, I do not know much about religion but this is indeed, a heavenly place.




Tokyo Camii; Turkish Culture Center

Address: 1-19 Ohyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
TEL: 03-5790-0760

Service Hours: 10:00 ~ 18:00
Open all year round
URL: www.tokyocamii.org




URL: www.tokyocamii.org

photographer / MIREI SAKAKI

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