NIKKO, Tochigi Prefecture--A railway company has set up Muslim prayer rooms in one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan.

The rooms opened on April 1 at Tobu Railway Co.’s Tobu Nikko Station in hopes of attracting more Muslim travelers from Southeast Asian countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

“To lure Muslim tourists, it’s vital to prepare prayer rooms and foods that accommodate their needs,” an official of Tokyo-based Food Diversity Co. said.

The company, which is headed by Akihiro Shugo and provides information about Islam, teamed up with Tobu Railway in Nikko to open the first railway station prayer rooms in Tochigi Prefecture.

The two prayer rooms, one for men and one for women, are each 2 meters by 4 meters and are located on the second floor of Tobu Nikko Station

The area was previously used as office space for a Tobu Railway group company.

The prayer rooms are equipped with hot water features that allow Muslims to perform the “wudu” washing ritual before they pray.

A Qibla mark shows the direction toward the Kaaba in Mecca, which Muslims face when they pray on the carpeted floors in the rooms.

The rooms are open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A newly established concierge at the ticket window on the first floor of the station manages the prayer rooms.

Tobu Railway also caters to Muslim guests at its group accommodation facilities in the tourist hotspot: Nikko Kanaya Hotel and Chuzenji Kanaya Hotel.

The hotels offer breakfast and dinner menus that do not contain pork or alcohol, items forbidden in Muslim diets. Reservations for the Muslim dishes must be made at least five days in advance.

The company has also issued tourist maps and upgraded its website to help travelers easily find Muslim-friendly places. The list includes 15 restaurants and accommodation facilities that provide menus for Muslims as well as venues that house prayer rooms.

One of them is the Tobu World Square, a theme park famed for its 102 architectural “bigatures” on a scale of 1:25. It opened a prayer room equipped with wudu facilities in December 2015.

According to the Japan National Tourism Organization and other sources, a record 28.69 million foreign nationals visited Japan in 2017, up 19.3 percent from the previous year.

The number of visitors from predominantly Muslim countries, including those in Southeast Asia, has sharply increased.

About 350,000 Indonesians, up 30 percent from 2016, and about 440,000 Malaysians, up 11.5 percent, visited Japan last year.