What you can expect when Japan finally opens 100% What you can expect when Japan finally opens 100%

What you can expect when Japan finally opens 100%


2022.08.16

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

What you can expect when Japan finally opens 100%

As of June 10th 2022 limited numbers of international tourists have been allowed to enter Japan albeit under the guidance of closely monitored tour groups and with a number of strict rules and regulations in place. We are all patiently waiting for these restrictions to ease and the flow of inbound tourism to pick up again. When this does happen, what can one expect when traveling around the country post-pandemic? How have things changed since 2019 and what are the differences one may find from between Japan and their home country?

  • 01

    Face masks

    One of the first things international travellers, especially those from Western countries, will notice is the abundance of mask wearing. Japan’s collectivist mentality to mask wearing contrasts heavily from the individual-choice approach seen in many other countries at the moment.
    Although the government changed its advice regarding mask wearing on May 23rd, approving the removal of face coverings when outside providing people maintain a social distance of two meters, very few people have taken steps to actually stop wearing them. If you take a stroll around any town in Japan today, large or small, you will soon notice the vast majority of people are choosing to remain masked up.

    Although there are no mandates in place regarding mask wearing, you will be expected to follow suit while visiting Japan, and a reluctancy to do so may result in disapproving looks from locals and other visitors who feel the pressure to fall in line with those around them. Proprietors from individual businesses may also refuse entry to facilities such as shops and restaurants if those trying to enter refuse to use a face covering. It’s not unusual to still see signs in doors and windows here staring that masks are necessary to enter establishments.

    This may seem like a lot of hassle and unnecessary pressure to some visitors, but unfortunately it is the way things are at present in Japan, and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future.

  • 02

    Social distancing

    Establishments continue to maintain fairly strict social distancing policies in Japan, with many restaurants and cafes choosing not to run at full capacity to keep space between customers. Also, it is not unusual to see plastic perspex dividers erected between seats or across tables to stop the spread of Covid through droplets. Other places will have certain seats blocked off to stop people sitting too close to one another, and in some cases whole facilities and areas remain closed to the public since the start of the pandemic in 2020.

    Photo by Maxime on Unsplash

    Again, this may seem a bit over-the-top to some visitors, and in many ways it really is, but it is what it is and people wanting to visit such places will be expected to abide by the rules when visiting.

  • 03

    Hand disinfection sprays and body temperature readers

    Another aspect of change in behaviour that was introduced at the start of the pandemic and doesn’t seem to be waining is the presence of alcohol sprays for ones hands at the doors of shops, restaurants, museums and other public spaces. Such measures seem to have mostly disappeared in many countries, but they remain common in Japan, sometimes with strict policing in place.

    If you want to enter an establishment please be ready and willing to give your hand s quick spray to kill off any unwanted germs that could potentially help spread the virus.

    Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

    And more often than not these alcoholic sprays come coupled with apparatus for checking ones body temperature. Sometimes these are in the form of small hand-held devices operated by staff, other times they are floor standing readers with a large tv screen that shows the temperature of everyone coming through the door.

    Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

  • 04

    Do these rules apply to me?

    Simply put, yes. You will expected to be courteous and follow these various rules while traveling around Japan. We hope that in time things relax more and we can go back to life pre-2020, but until then we must continue to adjust our behaviours to help continue to flatten the curve of virus spread and continue to be aware of social norms, especially when traveling to new places!

  • 05

    Read up on how one can enter Japan here

    We have compiled a list of Japan’s current rules and regulations for those wanting to visit, you can read about that here.

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