Akari is the capital of Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture, home to the city of Tokyo. 

The city has an impressive collection of historic homes and shops, but the main thing to remember about Akari’s history is that it’s the home of the largest Muslim community in Japan, the Akariya. 

Many people consider it a modern-day Mecca. 

But the history of Akari dates back to the late 19th century. 

Akariya refugees from the Meiji Restoration Era who fled to Akari from nearby Toyama in 1894 moved to the nearby city of Akasaki, which was already home to Muslims. 

Today, the two communities are divided by the narrow narrow road that runs through the city center. 

When Akarians are asked why they chose Akasaki over Akari, many say it was a better city to live in. 

“Akari has a great place, and we are proud of our Akari community,” says Masamichi Nishiyama, a student in Akari.

“Akari was not the first city to have affordable housing, but it was the first to do it in a place with a large Muslim population.” 

Aboriginal people from the nearby town of Miyako in Shizuokan Prefecture had also moved to Akasaki from Toyama. 

At the time, many people viewed the two towns as rivals, but Akari has an overall better reputation, and the town has become a hub for Japanese-style Japanese food. 

According to the Akaiji Research Center, Akariis have a history of education, religion, and culture dating back to about 1650. 

Most Akari people are in their 50s, and their families are also mostly middle class. 

It’s not unusual for Akari residents to have multiple jobs, though it’s rare to see them working on the streets, which are filled with tourists and residents from other towns. 

There are few stores or restaurants in Akaiya, and most shops have been shuttered since the early 2020s. 

A lot of Akai’s history has been wiped out by pollution. 

Since the mid-20th century, Akai has been plagued by smog, and its air quality has worsened over the years. 

In March of this year, the government announced plans to reduce pollution by building a 1.2 billion yen ($2.3 million) air quality monitoring center in Akarie to monitor air quality in Akare. 

However, the project has been delayed and the new air monitoring station is not expected to be ready for a few more months. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also expressed his opposition to the construction of a new air quality facility in Akaru, but there has been no public announcement about when the air monitoring center will be finished. 

Despite the worsening air quality, Akarie has seen an increase in tourism in the last decade. 

Over 2.2 million people visited Akari in the first half of this decade, according to Akarie’s government data. 

And Akariyas population has increased, with new arrivals accounting for about half of the city’s population. 

With its rich history, Akariyas residents are very proud of their Akari identity, and there’s even a statue of the Akariya King that stands outside of the old city center in the Akarie Museum. 

If you want to visit Akari today, the best place to do so is from the Shizuoya International Airport. 

Ticket prices vary, but they start at around ¥1,800 ($180) for an adult, ¥1-2,000 ($120-140) for a child, and ¥3,800 for a seniors pass. 

Check out this article for more information about Japanese culture and Japanese-inspired cuisine.