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 a building whose towering minaret and impressive dome make it stand out from the surrounding architecture.
This is Tokyo Camii, the largest masjid in Japan, built in impressive Ottoman style. It can be found throughout Japan’s major cities — a fact that in itself is likely to come as a surprise to most Japanese people, who remain largely unaware of these pockets of Islamic culture thriving in their midst.
Camii is a Turkish word derived from the Arabic jami, and refers to a central ‘congregational masjid’ — a major masjid where people gather for Friday prayers, the most important of the week. Tokyo Camii, the largest masjid in Japan, is architecturally similar to the famous The Sultan Ahmed Masjid in Istanbul.
Apart from water, concrete, and steel, all the building materials and furnishings used in the masjid were brought from Turkey. Around a hundred Turkish artisans worked for a year to build the second-story masjid itself and the cultural center downstairs. The building itself is a work of art.