Written by Dwinda-san
Hostel is always being my first choice when I am travelling in low budget in Japan. It is cheap and many hostels in Japan provide comfortable and hygienic bed. As a Muslimah (Muslim woman), I do not mind to stay in the same room with foreigners. If you are lucky, you can find a friendly roommate in your dormitory room and have a nice chat about your travel stories. However, because I am wearing hijab, I prefer to stay in female dormitory. It makes me feel more comfortable in my room. Many hostels in Japan provide a curtain beside your bed to keep your privacy and if you want to have more privacy, you can choose a private room in your hostel.
Although hostel seems like a great place to stay in my low budget trip, before entering my room, there is always a question in my head: Can I pray there?
Most of hostel dormitories are in a room with a lot of bunk beds. Some of them are in a large room, but some of them are not. If you got a small room, you have to think about how to spread your prayer mat and pray on it. The pray direction needs a right direction to Mecca, so sometimes it will be a problem if there is not enough space in your room to pray in the right direction. So if you are in this kind of condition, what will you do?
Here is my advice:
Pray in the common room. Although hostel’s lobby is not very large, there is always a larger space in the common room. Sometimes the common room located beside the kitchen, in TV room, or even in the rooftop! Don’t worry for people who staring at you when you pray, they are just curious about the way we pray. Since most of hostel’s guests are backpackers who already traveling in many countries, I think they would not be too surprised to see a Muslim praying. In my experience staying in some Japanese hostels, most of the hostel guests are already going to bed after 10 or 11 PM (in my experience, many tourists in Japan sleep very early ^^). In that case, you can have a quiet Isha prayer (evening prayer) in the common room.