The state of emergency for the Tokyo capital area was lifted on the 22nd, ending more than two months of restrictions that focused mostly in the dining sector.
Restaurants in Tokyo will continue to close early at 9pm, and spectators at sporting events will be limited to 10,000 fans.
The timing coincided with the cherry blossoms reaching full bloom (photo: Ueno park, 24 Mar) and while the viewing is not restricted, almost all parks prohibit eating/drinking and encourage visitors to quietly enjoy the blossoms, then quickly move on.
Finally, there are more signs the Tokyo Olympics will go on as planned with the 121 day Torch Relay starting at Fukushima on the 25th. This comes just days after a decision became official that overseas spectators will not be allowed not to watch the games.
Despite a drastic improvement in the number of COVID-19 cases, the state of emergency in the Tokyo Metro area was extended for another two weeks, until March 21st.
Restaurants will continue to close at 8 pm, and some facilities run by the Tokyo Government will remain closed, but overall things are running fairly normally.
The state of emergency issued for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa has been extended for another month until March 7th.
The ban on entry to Japan remains in place for foreign visitors, and the business track program has been suspended.
Following a surge in new cases and hospital beds quickly reaching capacity, the government declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba.
Restrictions focus on restaurants and bars, which will now be ordered to close at 8 PM.
Unlike the declaration in April-May 2020, schools will remain open and so will movie theaters and gyms. Sporting and cultural events can still be held though the attendance must be controlled to under 5,000 people.
The declaration could be extended if the number of cases do not drop below a certain level, which in Tokyo would be 500 cases per day.
Due to a spike in new cases of COVID-19, some facilities run by the Tokyo Government announced they will be shutting down for the New Year holiday period between Dec 26-Jan 11.
They include places such as:
Tokyo Government Building Observatory
Kasai Rinkai Aquarium (Tokyo Sea Life Park)
Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
The Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden will also close from Dec 26-Jan 11.
Anyone arriving in Japan from a foreign country must arrange for transportation in advance under current government guidelines.
Starting December 16, the Airport Transport Service (who operate the buses under the "Friendly Airport Limousine" brand) will start a new service to selected hotels in the Akasaka and Shinjuku area, which will be an exclusive service for arriving passengers.
A reservation and payment must be placed in advance and the passenger must be staying in one of the 12 hotels below.
【Akasaka Area】6 Hotels
The Okura Tokyo, ANA InterContinental Tokyo, New Otani, The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Akasaka Excel Hotel Tokyu, The Capitol Hotel Tokyu
【Shinjuku Area】 6 Hotels
Century Southern Tower, Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku, Hyatt Regency Tokyo
Shinjuku Washington Hotel, Park Hyatt Tokyo, Hilton Tokyo
The committee studying the feasibility of a Mount Fuji Railway met for the fifth time earlier this month. The team is led by the President of the House of Councilors.
The plan being discussed will call for a light rail system using the space which is currently the Subaru Line toll road. It will climb to the 5th station parking area, at an elevation of 2,300m (7,500 ft). The initial cost estimate is placed at 1.4 billion JPY.
Once the railway is complete, traffic on the road will be limited to emergency vehicles and allow for a more environmentally friendlier transport option for the roughly 5 million people that visit this area annually.
The committee will make a final proposal in February of 2021.