Translated byLester Somera
Just a Kansai guy trying to get by
The number of Muslim tourists coming to Japan has rapidly increased in recent years, and Osaka Station has a prayer room available to accommodate their needs.
In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of people from majority-Muslim countries like Indonesia and Malaysia coming to visit Kansai. In October 2014, a prayer room was set up in Osaka Station City (JR Osaka Station) to accommodate people of all denominations. We’ll introduce you to the prayer room, which will be a comfortable place of refuge on your trip.
Osaka Station City is a multipurpose complex that encompasses JR Osaka Station. Including the South Gate Building (above photo) on the south side of the station and the North Gate Building on the north side, it is one of Japan’s leading commercial facilities.
You can enjoy the view of the giant roof that covers the station building from the upper level of the connecting bridge, which links the north and south sides.
The prayer room is on the western end of the south gate plaza, first floor. Frosted glass is used to give visitors privacy.
Go inside and you will find the men’s prayer room on the right, as well as the women’s prayer room on the left. There are mirrors and luggage racks for you to use. The wall has informational pamphlets in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean for you to read.
There is a small shower room you can clean up before your prayer.
There are also paper towels available from a dispenser in the wall.
It’s a compact space, but there is a prayer rug on top of an unobtrusively colored carpet.
Cardinal directions are indicated on the ceiling compass. The small mark on the right shows the direction of Qibla, which Muslims face five times a day during their prayers.
You need to go to the Osaka Station City 3F information counter (open from 10:00 to 20:00), located on the north side of the connecting bridge, and check in to use the prayer room. From the JR line, go out the connecting bridge exit and turn right. Tell the staff that you want to use the room, then fill out the form with the necessary information. Head to the prayer room during your allotted time and the door will automatically open. Use of the prayer room is limited to 20 minutes per visit.
The prayer room is on the west end of the south gate plaza on the first floor. Go out the south central gate of Osaka Station and walk a short distance. You will see the prayer room on your right.
Since its establishment in 2014, the prayer room has gone from seven or eight visitors a day to 14 or 15 visitors a day, and during hanami season, there can be as many as 25 visitors. 80% of visitors are from Malaysia and Indonesia, and many of them learned about the prayer room from pamphlets, Twitter, and word of mouth. The visitors seem unanimous in their happiness that such a facility exists. Though they are few in number, there are also Buddhist and Confucian visitors who use the room.
Kubo-san of Osaka Station City told us a happy story about how soon after the prayer room opened, a Muslim who worked near the station insisted on conveying his thanks to the people who built it. By chance, an architect involved in its construction was nearby, and the room was full of smiles as the men exchanged firm handshakes. Kubo-san said that “As the tourist gateway in Osaka, it would bring us great joy if people were to use the prayer room at Osaka Station in Osaka Station City. The prayer room is open to people of all religions, so feel free to visit.
Osaka Station City Prayer Room
Address: Osaka, Kita, Umeda 3-chome
Hours: 11:00 - 19:00 (last reception at 18:40)
From May to August, 11:00 - 20:00 (last reception at 19:40)
Other Languages: English and Chinese at the information counter
Pamphlets in Other Languages: English, Chinese and Korean
Station: JR Osaka Station
Access: JR Osaka Station 1F, south gate plaza (from the central exit, go out the right side and walk a short distance)
Religion: All denominations welcome
Phone: 06-6458-0212 (information)
Homepage: Osaka Station City