(AhlulBayt News Agency) - If Muslims in Japan's Okayama look for the Peach Mark logo, they can find facilities that cater for their special needs.
The logo enables Muslim tourists to identify eateries that provide food that doesn't contain pork and menus in English, as well as accommodation that has prayer mats stashed and ready for use.
The Okayama health tourism association, which was jointly set up by the municipalities of Okayama, Maniwa and Kibichuo, as well as a regional tourist association, has started to grant the certification to accommodation facilities, restaurants, cafes and other places that Muslims can easily identify by grabbing a glimpse of the logo featuring pink and yellow peaches.
The certified facilities include ones that have obtained halal certification that guarantees the food has been prepared in accordance with Islamic dietary laws.
Obtaining halal certification is so difficult that only five facilities within the aforementioned three municipalities, including two eateries and a “kibidango” millet-cakes manufacturer, have been officially authorized.
The difficulty in finding facilities that make efforts to cater to Muslim travelers, even if they don't have halal certification, is the reason the association came up with the idea of the Peach Mark signs that Muslims can easily spot.
The Peach Mark logos come in two types.
Peach Mark I bearing a pink peach is for facilities providing food that contains nothing from a pig, while also boasting English menus for Muslims able to read that language.
Peach Mark II, featuring a pink peach and one that is yellow, has all the criteria from Peach Mark I but adds a written explanation about the raw ingredients in the products.
Eateries that use meat certified as halal, or offer vegetarian meals, are more likely to be certified with Peach Mark II.
Similar criteria is to be authorized by the association for cosmetics and processed foods.
With accommodation facilities, the availability of prayer mats and compasses was taken into consideration, as well as toilets where Muslims have enough space for “wudu,” the Islamic purification ritual of washing face, hands, feet and other parts of the body prior to praying.
Up to now, a total of 13 facilities, including seven eateries, three accommodation facilities and three manufacturers within the municipalities have been awarded the Peach Mark certification.
The association plans to publish a guidebook that features certified facilities to promote the Peach Mark logo recognition.
In March, the association is scheduled to promote the logos at a tourism event in Malaysia.