Travellers visiting Japan can now rent wagara hijabs

Muslim tourists can rent patterned Japanese headscarfs that match perfectly with traditional kimonos

Over 20 designs of wagama hijab can now be rented to pair with traditional Japanese kimonos in Kyoto. Courtesy Yumeyakata
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With cherry blossom season just around the corner, Japan is gearing up for its yearly influx of tourists as millions of travellers head east to see the country's famous blooms at their most glorious.

In March and April, when the flowers are at their best, many people spend time outside under flower-filled trees and many tourists opt to do so in a rented kimono to help them capture the perfect holiday snap.

Across the country, kimono rental stores offer spring collections, and in Kyoto, one shop is now offering customers the chance to rent a patterned hijab that perfectly matches their colourful kimono.

Yumeyakata in Kyoto has designed a spring line of wagara hijab's that can be rented with kimonos, a popular activity with tourists in Japan. Courtesy Yumeyakata. 

As the number of Muslim visitors to Japan continues to increase —  the country was ranked first in a list of halal-friendly destinations by Crescent Rating, the leading authority on the subject — owners at Yumeyakata in Kyoto also saw an increase in Muslim visitors.

"We have a lot of Muslim customers and we thought that having a wagara hijab would be a good way to help them enjoy the kimono experience more," said a spokeswoman from the company.

Both Yumeyakata stores in Japan's ancient capital now stock a line of over 20 different wagara hijab designs. The patterns and colours have been selected to match the most popular kimonos of the spring season and include designs like Sakura, which means cherry blossom, and yukiwa or snow ring.

Staff members are trained to assist customers in co-ordinating a rented kimono with a matching wagara hijab. By summer, the collection will include another 50 hijab designs.

All of the kimono and hijab designs at Yumeyakata are original, and the company also offers versions of the traditional robe for men. Daily rentals starting at Yen3,500 (Dh116) with a matching hijab costing an extra Y500 (Dh16). To celebrate the launch of the product, travellers renting hijabs this season will only pay Y300.

Everyone renting will also be given instructions on how to dress in the robes, and guests can opt to add optional photo location plans, photographers and hair and make-up services.

In Kyoto, popular photo shoot locations include the famous Nakaragi no Michi path which leads to the Kyoto Botanical Gardens or by Lake Biwa Canal, which only reopened to travellers for the first time last year after being closed for almost seven decades.

Last year, cherry blossom visitors to Japan topped 2.57 million and the country recorded its best ever year for tourism with over 30 million annual overseas visitors according to the Japan National Tourism Organisation.