The Enchanting Story Behind Tokyo Mosque, the Largest Mosque in Japan

Tokyo mosque
ID 72335908 © Attila Jandi | Dreamstime.com

When people talk about Islam, Japan is not one of the countries that will readily come to mind. One of the most homogenous nations on the planet, this Far East Asian nation is not considered on the list of nations with massive Muslim populations. However, there are Muslims in the country and they have an impressive total of about 80 mosques scattered all over the country. But of all these mosques, there is one that truly stands out and that is none other than the Tokyo Mosque.

Also called Tokyo Camii (but pronounced Jamii), the mosque is situated in the Oyamacho District of the Shibuya Ward in Tokyo, it is the largest mosque in the country. Construction of the mosque dates back to the 12th of May, 1938 when it was initially built alongside a school by Muslim immigrants from the Soviet Union. They had immigrated to the country following the October Revolution. The first imam of the mosque was Abdurreshid Ibrahim and he was also the person who supervised the construction of the mosque.

In the mid-1980s, the mosque suffered some serious structural damage and it had to undergo some demolition. After the demolition, there was a plan for the construction of a new building and it was placed under the direction of the Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey. The architect responsible for the new building was none other than the renowned Muharrem Hilmi Senalp. The design of the mosque was based on the religious architecture predominant in the Ottoman Empire. Hence, it comes with elegant façade and elaborate designs and patterns.

It was a vast construction project and it took about 70 craftsmen from Turkey to complete all the finishing of the structure. A massive amount of marble was also flown in from Turkey for the mosque. Finally, in 2000, the construction of the mosque was complete and it was at a hefty price. The final calculation of the project showed the cost coming to about 1.5 billion yen. On the 30th of June, 2000, the mosque was opened in an inauguration ceremony.

In terms of area, the Tokyo Mosque covers an area of 734 square metres and it comes with a single floor in the basement and above ground, three floors have a total area that comes to 1,477 square metres. As with other main mosques, the Tokyo Mosque has a main central dome and it is 23.25 metres in height and its support is maintained by six pillars. Then it has a minaret located adjacent to the main structure, the minaret is 41.48 metres in height.

The designs used for the mosque has made many to consider it to be one of the most beautiful mosques in all of Asia. The mosque also doubles as a Turkish Cultural Centre and it gets its name from the Arabic word ‘jami’ which means congregational mosque. The same word in Turkish means ‘camii’ and it holds the same meaning. The cultural centre section of the Tokyo Mosque is on the first floor. May Allah (SWT) bless the efforts of all us, aameen.

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