Japan’s 4th State of Emergency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic was extended until September 30th, but it will finally end on October 1st. This means restaurants and bars will be open after 8pm again, as well as other entertainment being able to reopen. At the same time on October 1st, quarantine restrictions for those entering the country will be slightly eased. Previously Japan made no distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers, but from Oct. 1 the self-isolation period for people vaccinated against COVID-19 will be reduced from 14 days to 10 days, although some countries with heightened risk will have more strict rules. As usual, please check the links from our Emergency and Useful Information page for updates and more detailed terms.
It is with great sadness we have heard that Kazuko Irie, a 105 year-old painter based in Asagaya, has passed away on August 10, 2021. She continued her life’s work of paintings of the Silk Road trade route through Asia well into her 100’s, as if the art would keep her alive forever. She opened her museum in 2000, mostly showcasing the body of work resulting from a 30 year sketching journey of the Silk Road from age 62-92. Her colorful and uplifting work is usually on display at her Irie Kazuko Silk Road Museum in Asagaya, and we hope it will remain there so people can experience her life’s work when it is safe to travel again.
On June 20th we mentioned the 3rd State of Emergency in Tokyo had been lifted, but unfortunately things took a turn for the worse (again) and a 4th State of Emergency was scheduled from July 12 – August 22. What this means is that the 2021 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games (still branded as “Tokyo 2020”) will take place in their entirety during the State of Emergency, July 23 – August 8, and thus closed to spectators. While unfortunate, we do hope you can enjoy the broadcast of the Tokyo Summer Olympics from the safety of your own home.
Rather than coming to Tokyo for an international event, how about coming for a summer festival such as the Awa-Odori festival next year?
As of today, June 20th, the State of Emergency in Tokyo, as well as for 8 other prefectures, has been lifted. However, there are still some regulations in place to try to keep people from going out and gathering in excess. It is important to note that thus far after each of Japan’s State of Emergency had ended that cases spiked afterwards (hence needing yet another State of Emergency), so precautions should be taken. Also at this time only the elderly have received vaccinations, only about 5% of the population, so Japan has a ways to go before people can come here to enjoy the amazing culture as before, but hopefully this is the start on the right track to recovery.