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Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/13 18:11
So I've got a big of an interesting predicament at the moment. In the middle of last year - I purchased flights to Japan in April for 2 weeks (from Australia) which I'm expecting to be cancelled due to borders being closed and such (tourism).

This thread is not about borders and what will happen between now and then. It's more about preparing for the unexpected and how tourism may be different compared to what I'm used to.

To put it simply - I have visited more of Japan than most but my very limited experience of travelling during covid (I visited Thailand over December/January) is that things can be tense and to prepare to the wazoo....

My original plan was a bit of an odd one. Spend some time around Saitama, Tochigi and driving down the Pacific coast of Tohoku which was affected by the tsunami. I also scheduled 4 nights in Tokyo for flexibility at the end. To put it simple - I'd be travelling at a quick speed through areas which prior to covid-19 was trying to encourage tourism but may not have been that popular for international arrivals.

My main question is - if all of the stars align and everything goes perfectly, would it be better to:

(1) Stay in the more touristy areas
(2) Significantly slow down my planned travel speed due to potential roadblocks and places being closed or at reduced hours/capacity.
(3) Travel to less touristy areas where my money would make the most impact.

I know this post seems jumbled. I'm also aware that Japan is not Thailand - but there was some disdain towards foreign tourists when I was in Thailand so I don't really want to antagonize people locally. I guess I'm interested in hearing how local tourism is going in Japan and how most people are travelling and doing things. Aka - are most people only really travelling in their prefecture or are people now traveling more far and wide.
by mfedley  

Re: Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/14 08:53
In areas where the corona crisis was relatively mild - Iwate Prefecture in your itinerary - some people are still not super happy about visitors from other parts of the country. But people in Japan are generally too polite to show their disdain towards visitors (exceptions are always possible), so it is very unlikely that you will make negative experiences in that regard - unless, of course, you ignore local corona manners. Still, you are much more likely to make positive experiences than negative ones.

In the greater Tokyo area, nobody will care.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/14 10:31
Thanks for your info as normal Uji.

If I can somehow make it to Japan - I'll probably still stay around Saitama and Tochigi but might visit Chuchibu or an extended onsen visit in Kanto with good quality water.

I'm aware that most Japanese people will be too polite to say anything negative - but I'd prefer to limit any possible negative impacts.

My changes will also allow me to cancel and replan my trip which is always a fun thing to do - at least for me.

This will also potentially be my first trip to Japan when I have not planned every day down to a tee with other options available if the weather changes.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/14 11:24
Well, there is what you want vs. what is possible. It is still unclear what limitations and restrictions there will be when you can go to Japan again. So regarding your 3 choices:
1) Maybe, if you can be satisfied by going to touristy places. No point in going if you won't.
2) Not sure if this will be an issue or not. Depends where you're going. Too early to tell.
3) Certainly possible, and less crowded places might be better. If you are driving down the highway alone, you are not in anyone's way or likely to be frustrated over something. I went to some places like you are thinking by car, and that was before all this mess - I encountered very few people.

It's good to think it through and game it out, but it is still hard to see what is possible given how things are going. It could be all smooth sailing, after a lot of quarantine type stuff when you land. Wait and see.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/15 11:17
Thanks for the info Ken.

In general - I tend to enjoy visiting smaller towns which normally more cater for Japanese tourists but I'll probably stay away from Iwate this time.

I'm actually hoping that I can re-schedule for December so that I can have more time to travel as I have a longer holiday at that time.

One thing I have recently noticed is that I have not really scratched the surface of stuff to do in Tokyo - specifically in the outskirts.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/15 13:21
I appreciate that this is a different scenario, but we travelled not long after the great earthquake and we were really welcomed and had a similar idea to you, essentially lash out with spending to get money where it is needed.

I'm not an expert, but having had a pre March 2020 plan of going to about 7 towns in 14 days (including one night in Tokyo on the way in), i have contracted that to probably 2 - 3 in 14 days, one of which will be Nara for at least 7 of those days. Potential disruption is one aspect, another is that we could use a break. i've spend 5 days in Nara in a stretch before (we have visited Nara 4 or 5 times now) and really we just dont get tired of it.

I guess/hope that tourist towns will be more welcoming of foreigners, and anyway if I have a central base we can always catch the local trains to other places.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/16 07:48
As a non-Japanese person living in Japan, and having done a a couple of brief trips to different parts of the country over the last two years, I would be astonished if anyone actually said anything to you. I have in the past (years and years ago) had rude shop keepers and restaurants basically say p*ss-off we don't want foreigners (including in central Tokyo), but out of a decade of travelling there are only a handful of those instances spread across more than a decade.
During the covid pandemic the antagonism I see towards non-Japanese is mainly directed at those not following the social norms (like mask wearing), or people being d*ck-heads, and really, you get that in many countries. Plus, there are a sufficient number of Japanese people that don't follow those unwritten rules as well.
Plan your trip as you like. At least you know you will be be vaccinated, while a notable proportion of the people you meet might not be.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/16 12:05
Thanks for the info JCT.

Apart from wearing a mask when people are around and giving space to others if available - are there any other "unwritten rules" which you see as important to know.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/16 16:48
last year it was more wearing a mask when youere outside regardless if there are people around you or not (not sure though if this changed) was quite a burden during the hot summer (just that youere prepared as it can get pretty hot with the mask, especially at beaches or during the afternoon)
The wearing mask was completely different from what Ieve known from europe. And youed have to measure your temperature wherever you go
by ted (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Preparing For The Unexpected 2022/2/19 11:20
Well I think my planning has been decided for me. I can log into my JAL flight but can't see it.

Now just to wait until I can rebook or get a refund.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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