“I came here purely out of curiosity.”
A mosque in Tokyo says it’s welcoming more than a thousand visitors a week as interest in Islam grows among the Japanese public.
“Every day is an open door day for the mosque,” says Muhammet Rıfat Çınar, imam of Tokyo Camii.
“We get around three to four-hundred walk-in visitors during the week, and more than a thousand on weekends. At least three out of four visitors are Japanese,” he adds.
Outside, a Japanese convert to Islam recalls his journey so far.
“I’m now practicing reciting the adhan. It’s a big change after one year. Earlier I struggled with things like eating, but now I’ve quit alcohol and cigarettes and I eat halal food,” he says.
Back inside, a Japanese TV crew has arrived to film and learn more.
“I chose this place because I wanted to learn about Islamic culture. I wanted to know more about the teachings of Islam, so I asked the Imam of Tokyo mosque, who has detailed knowledge,” says Hashimoto, a TV presenter.
Today there are more than 110 mosques across Japan compared to just 15 in 1999.