Japan, like the rest of the world has been effected by the new COVID-19 coronavirus. The virus has spread rapidly since the outbreak in Wuhan, China since December 2019. What is it exactly? What has the effect been on Japan and Can you still travel around Japan?
What is the new Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are part of a greater group of viruses, as they look somewhat like a crown under the microscope (Corona meaning crown in Latin). There are many like these, usually they are at the base of the common cold and only have a mild impact, like coughing.
What are the symptoms?
The coronavirus starts with common cold like symptoms, such as coughing paired with shortness of breath, and higher body temperatures (38+ degrees). In more serious cases, it may be causing fever and respiratory complaints such as coughing, shortness of breath and pneumonia. However, so far people with poorer resistance (older people and people with underlying diseases) become more seriously ill than young, more healthy people.
The problem with the disease is that at the start symptoms are not always noticeable, especially in milder cases.
What has the effect been on Japan
Japan was one of the first countries outside of China to be hit by the Coronavirus. The initial big outbreak was at the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Since cases have been reported in different prefectures around Japan. Compared to the rest of the world, the amount of reported infections has been relatively low. On the 13th of March, Japan had a total of 645 reported cases, outside the Diamond Princess. Measures taken to combat further infections, such as the closing of schools, cancellation of public events and closure of public attractions in Japan.
Where can I find the latest news on Japan:
What can I do to avoid exposure?
The key is in hygiene and avoiding unnecessary human contact. In
In general this includes:
- Washing your hands regularly with antibacterial soap and hand disinfectants. Especially after coming in contact with animals, humans and public spaces.
- Try to avoid touching your face at all times, as this the human face is the easiest place for the virus to take hold.
- Wipe down services with disinfectants before using them, especially in public area’s. This is important in public spaces with high turnover rates, such as fast-food restaurants.
- Face masks only offer limited protection and are only recommend in case with close victims. Adjusting the mask with your hands may actually increase risk.
- Avoid rush hour and try to travel during lower congestion times. In Japan a typical rush hour is between 6 and 9.30 in the morning and 16.30 to 19.30 in the afternoon.
- Shinkansen and LTD. Express (intercity) trains are different, as JR Staff will assign seating beforehand and seat travelers away from each other.
- Consider travelling Green Class (1st Class) for your journey or using a taxi for smaller distances (<20KM).
Can I still travel to/around Japan?
The situation is changing by the day. As of March 13th, several government bodies have given a Level 2: Exercise a high degree of caution, such as the AU Department of Foreign affairs. What does this actually mean? It does not mean you can’t go to Japan but if you do decide to travel, then take extra precaution. The best advice we can give here is to read the latest news and make a decision you feel comfortable with.
If the risk of the virus itself and closure of attractions are no objections, then you will have Japan nearly for yourself, take beautiful photos and local businesses will be more than welcoming for those tourists that do come.
Can I change or cancel the Japan Rail Pass.
If your trip is only moved by a couple of days/weeks: The Japan Rail Pass can be activated at any day within 3 months after issue date. Should your travel days be within the period, then no further action is needed.
Should you wish to make any amendments to your pass past 3 months, then please contact our support team.