03. September 2020
Starting next spring, the final train on the Yamanote Line will be leaving about 30 minutes earlier, according to media reports. JR East is making the move to allow more time for maintenance crew and also cut down on operation costs. This means services will end around 0:30 instead of 1 am. The news come as many major rail operators in Japan are reporting huge losses due to companies switching to teleworking and reducing business trips. Bars and restaurants are closing earlier, or not operating...
23. July 2020
The Hakone Tozan Railway resumed full operation today, more than nine months after it received heavy damage from Typhoon Hagibis. Visitors can now do a full circuit of the main tourist sites by using the Tozan Rail, Cable Car, Ropeway and the boat on Lake Ashi.
01. July 2020
As of July 1st, Japan bans entry of residents from a total 129 countries/regions. https://www.japan.travel/en/coronavirus/ In the past month, there has been reports the government is considering easing restrictions on business entries from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam. On July 1st, the Asahi Shimbun reported that Taiwan, South Korea and China are also among the candidates. Brunei and Myanmar could also possibly be included. After business travel resumes, students will receive...
24. June 2020
Following the lifting of the state of emergency, more facilities are starting to reopen to the public. Some places conduct body temperature checks at the entrance and all locations require visitors to wear a mask. Places that have reopened: Amusement Parks Tokyo Disneyland/DisneySea (reopening July 1st/requires advance reservation) Gardens Imperial Palace East Gardens Rikugien Koshishikawa Korakuen Hamarikyu Shinjuku Gyoen Obseravtion decks Tokyo Tower Tokyo Skytree Shibuya Sky (Shibuya...
17. June 2020
The much anticipated season for NPB baseball and J League soccer will resume soon. Both leagues announced its revised schedule on the 15th. ・After completing several rounds of preseason games, NPB will begin its regular season on June 19th and play a 120 game season. Games will not go beyond the 10th inning, and each team can carry a max of five foreign players on the roster instead of four. In the Central League, the playoffs will not be held and the winner of the league will automatically...
27. May 2020
The Tokyo Tower becomes one of the first tourist facilities to reopen following the lifting of the state of emergency. And the following rule might allow for the facility to easily implement social distancing rules ; visitors will not be allowed to use the lift and will need to climb up and down the emergency staircase. There are about 600 steps to the main observation deck located at the 150 meter level. Update (June 10) It has been reported that visitors are already allowed to use the...
25. May 2020
The state of emergency for the Tokyo metro area and Hokkaido was lifted on May 25, following a drop in new cases of COVID-19. Many businesses that shut down during the 7 week "soft lockdown" are starting to resume operations with reduced hours and social distancing measures. A major barbershop chain resumed services in most of their shops with staff wearing transparent face shields in addition to masks. NPB was quick to announce its pro baseball season will start on June 19th and it hopes to...
20. May 2020
Effective May 20th, passengers wishing to bring items with overall dimensions of over 160 cm into the Shinkansen running on the Tokaido-Sanyo route (Nozomi/Hikari/Kodama/Mizuho/Sakura) will need to reserve space prior to boarding the train. Passengers with oversize luggage who did not make prior arrangements could be charged 1,000 JPY depending on how strict the train conductors decide to enforce this new rule. The new requirements do not apply to the northbound Shinkansen operated by JR East,...
12. May 2020
JR has been making improvements to its online booking platform and travelers on wheelchairs can now apply for tickets online. For Nozomi/Hikari/Kodama trains https://railway.jr-central.co.jp/pwd/wheelchair/#w4 For JR East operated trains (for Kanazawa, Niigata, Tohoku region and Hokkaido) https://www.jreast.co.jp/equipment/equipment_1/wheelchair/ Users can submit their request for a specific train and the train company will reply back. Travelers will still need to pick up the physical ticket...
06. May 2020
The Sumo Association announced the cancellation of the May Tournament, scheduled to start on the 24th. The announcement came soon after the state of emergency in the country was extended to May 31st. The next tournament in July will be moved to Tokyo (instead of playing in Nagoya) with action starting on July 19th. There is no word yet on when NPB Baseball or J-League Soccer can start their seasons; probably the best scenario is to resume training in June and games would be back in July,...

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