Beginning from June 10th, Japan will finally allow tourists into Japan again, after about 2 years. There is a catch, though, however: for now this is only for packaged tours, so you must have a guide and a fixed tour with a fixed schedule in order to be allowed in (and this is on top of the usual COVID-19 checks including having proof of a negative Covid test as well as proof of 3 vaccinations). You also must apply for a visa in advance. Packaged tours is the first stage, but gradually Japan will allow more and more tourists in in various stages, so stay tuned for more updates.
The semi-state of emergency finally ended on March 21. While unfortunately Japan hasn’t opened up for tourism just yet, as of this month entry will be allowed for all other purposes besides tourism, such as for purposes including business and employment. For entrants who have gotten all 3 shots of their vaccinations, hotel quarantine will no longer be required as it had been before. While these changes don’t help most of our viewers who are looking forward to visit Japan to enjoy the food and culture, they do show that things are getting better, and hopefully they continue in this direction.
In the meantime, please check out our latest documentary about the video game arcade community in Koenji, which exemplifies another niche part of what is so special about this area in Tokyo.
We have a lot going on in the pipeline right now, so please stay tuned. We just released an article and video, Exploring Japanese Culture in Suginami Tokyo, that ties in with our pamphlet of the same name (download or view the PDF here). We also got to check out one of the most visually amazing theme cafes in all of Suginami, or Tokyo for that matter, Chamber of Raven.
In March we’ll be releasing video and interviews on Japanese video arcade fighting game culture, so be sure to check that out soon.
As the COVID-19 situation continues to get worse in this New Year, once again a Semi-State of Emergency has been set in place scheduled currently to last until February 13th. What this means is that dining and drinking establishments are requested to close by 8pm, as well as added restrictions on the holding of events and use of facilities. Of course, travel is also discouraged and Japan will still not allow tourists to enter the country.
Note that depending on the situation, this could be extended or if things get even worse, it could become a full-blown State of Emergency adding more severe restrictions.