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Masks 2022/11/4 18:26
Is it acceptable not to wear masks on train / train stations, hotel lobbies and when visiting temples and gardens?
by Judith (guest)  

Re: Masks 2022/11/5 04:14
Judging based on current trends:

on train - unacceptable (except on uncrowded long-distance trains where you can see considerable number of people temporarily take off their masks while they sit in their seats)
train stations - unacceptable
hotel lobbies - unacceptable
when visiting temples and gardens - outdoors can be acceptable if it is not too crowded or the temple asks visitors to wear masks; indoors unacceptable
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/5 06:11
Roof above your head= wear a mask.
No roof above you head= you choose.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/5 06:49
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2234.html

Agree with PP. Regarding masks in trains, it is customary in Japan to eat / drink on long distance trains. So people take off their masks for that. But once finished they put their mask back on.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/5 06:58
Sorry forgot 2 more points:
- in shops / museums and really any other indoor place you should wear a mask
- there is a law since a few weeks (essentially in preparation for the influx of foreign visitors) that allows hotels to reject you entry if you are not adhering to Covid rules.
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/10/07/national/hotel-masks-mand...

Essentially all these rules mentioned in that article already existed for the past 2,5 years but no law was needed for it. Simply a gsuggestion g by the government and everyone followed suit. But with the opening of borders it seemed that hotels feared that foreigners wouldnft adhere to these rules and that they (the hotel) could get problems with their Japanese guests if there were people not following the rules , so the government officially allowed them to ban such guests.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/5 08:39
While certainly not universal, there are a reasonable number of places displaying signs (in English) saying admittance will be refused if you are not wearing a mask.
And, there are still announcements on trains saying to wear a mask.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/5 09:00
I haven't been wearing masks on train / train stations, hotel lobbies and when visiting temples and gardens, as long as I don't speak, and have had no problem. I just can't tolerate masks. I get sick.

Often at theaters (movie theaters for me), a clerk would either call out or directly suggest to me that I wear my mask, even when there is no one around, and I would. I can try, and I don't faint even if I wear one.

I always keep my mask in my pocket (and never leave it elsewhere, because I might forget the filthy thing there) while keeping a spare in my bag. I'd wear it when I need to speak to someone, even if it's outdoors.

The government now suggests that you can keep your mask off when you're outdoors and have a 2 meter distance kept between the stranger you're speaking to. But I do put my mask on when speaking outdoors, just so that I don't offend anyone.

Last year, I would enter a store without a mask and a clerk would sometimes immediately offer me a spare from the store. But not any more. In fact, when I am indeed wearing one, some clerks would even tell me that I can put my mask off "since there is no one else in the room right now".

Do people wear masks on train / train stations, hotel lobbies and when visiting temples and gardens? Yes, about 99.9% of the people I see in Japanese cities wear them. But it's not that you'd cause trouble just because you're not wearing, as long as you honor others.

Again, note that I always honor each facility's policies. I'd never go around insisting that it's "better" not to wear masks.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/6 19:00
Ifm not the OP, but Ifd like to thank Uco for her input. I was pleasantly surprised by her response.

I myself have a medical condition and wearing a mask could trigger a flare. Of course, I wear one if I am required to.

I visited Japan twice this July. Back then, everyone wore masks on trains, in train stations and hotels. Ifm not sure about temples/gardens as I didnft visit any. I wore a mask the whole time during my visit when I was with other people.

I did notice two Japanese guys (or two Asian guys who are fluent in Japanese) not wearing masks on the street. On a side note, the flight to Japan from the U.S. required masks, but the return flight did not. It depends on the countryfs regulations.
by Ann (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/7 08:51
Thank you All. Any idea how long this state of affairs is likely to last? What would make things normal again in Japan?
by Judith (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/7 10:26
Maybe between the upcoming winter wave and the next summer wave? Japan's next major wave is likely going to peak around January/February. The current mask customs are not going to change massively before then; although a very slow gradual change can already be observed with a small increase of maskless people outdoors and plastic dividers slowly decreasing at restaurants.

But after the winter wave, I am hoping that the change will speed up and more people will realize how oppressive the current atmosphere in Japan is compared to the rest of the world. Japanese people traveling abroad will contribute to this trend, and economic and government circles will also be strongly interested in accelerating this trend and make efforts accordingly. At one point even the media may finally start cooperating in taking the fear out of Omicron and make Japan a normal country again.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/7 14:51
What would make things normal again in Japan?

To me, the only abnormal thing left today is that we need to wear masks at concerts. You are encouraged to refrain from doing chants and sing-alongs, and even if the artists manage to let you do it, you still need to keep your masks on. It doesn't help that most venues in Japan are "indoors" due to the risk of rain throughout the year in Japanese climate.

Other than that, people have already been normally chatting without masks when eating or drinking while sitting at a table or counter. In trains, locals never talked that much in the first place (because most of us know how it's annoying when a wagon-full of teenage students talk on their way to school!). Meanwhile, it had always been normal for many people in Japan to wear masks to avoid simple colds and allergens. Hand-washing have always been customary as well (although it was since the pandemic that we started using alcohol for it, which actually turned out to be easier than having to visit the restroom). So, just because you see people wearing masks in public, that doesn't automatically mean that things are "not back to normal".

But the news is reporting, and music fans are being aware of, a lot of foreign talents now coming back to do big shows here in Japan. Not only Avril Lavigne, but also bands like Guns'n'Roses, Kiss and Black Crowes are attracting older concert-goers. Also, many traditional festivals and annual events are coming back, such as the Shibuya Halloween and Kimu-taku doing a parade in Gifu.

If all this doesn't cause hospitals to overflow and/or deaths to increase, I suppose policies would change for the better.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/7 15:44
The scenery of 99% of people hiding their faces behind masks in the streets and parks of Japan feels abnormal to me. Not being able to see the faces of people who welcome and serve you at restaurants and at hotels feels abnormal to me. I am convinced that the Japanese will not make the norm out of it. After all, about half of the people in Japan also dislike masks and wear them for the sole reason of social pressure.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/7 23:58
Well, what I meant was that a lot of it is not really forced in the sense that it's not a rule or regulation.

For example, you are free not to hide "faces behind masks in the streets and parks of Japan", but a lot of people do it either (A) because of medical reasons or (B) because they're embarrassed not to do what no one else is doing. For (B), unless it's crowded, be the first to do the opposite, because I mostly am.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/10 11:25
Ok, reading all of these answers, I can tell that there are a few Japanese people here who absolutely hate the idea of not wearing a mask and that's fine, you're entitled to your opinion. As for what's "Required" in short; Unless a place specifically is making it mandatory that you wear one, you don't need to.

The Prime minister even said outdoors, you don't need a mask at all. I get that Japan is very concious about doing the same thing as everyone else and not wanting to be out of place or "different" but you honestly don't NEED to wear it unless a place asks you to.

It's still honestly ridiculous too that companies and places are requiring people to wear them at work and such, despite most countries around the world are completely open and don't wear them and you don't see those people getting sick. Just enjoy yourself and I hope Japan honestly stops this mask nonsense.
by Tom (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/10 16:32
Do the government officials / public servants / people working in the tourist industry wear or not wear masks? I would have thought they would be leading by example?
by Judith (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/10 18:37
Tom wrote:
I can tell that there are a few Japanese people here who absolutely hate the idea of not wearing a mask and that's fine

There are? I don't think so. I wonder why you thought so.

OP wrote:
Do the government officials / public servants / people working in the tourist industry wear or not wear masks? I would have thought they would be leading by example?

Yes, they generally do when working professionally and when social distance isn't kept. Politicians take off the masks they're wearing when speaking on a stage or posing in front of a camera. Prime Minister Kishida and his family had their masks off the whole time they were enjoying golf on their vacation this summer. On a related note, people on TV shows (including news shows) don't wear masks in front of the camera even inside a studio, and they generally keep social distance.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/12 07:57
From a Kyodo article (https://nordot.app/963631516117155840?c=445918389795193953):

Wearing a mask remains the norm in Japan, despite 72.7 percent saying they are in favor of dropping the practice. Among the respondents, 33.9 percent said they were in favor of shedding masks, while 38.8 answered they were "somewhat" in favor."
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/12 09:18
Thank you Uji. I hope things will be normal soon. Does social media play any significant part in Japan on these "transitory" customs?
by Judith (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/12 18:54
In Japanese-language social media, particularly in Twitter where people tend to be more "honest" and straightforward, there are pro-mask people and anti-mask people equally saying strong things.

As a Japanese resident, I wouldn't say that the majority of residents in Japan are influenced by these social media comments, but as Uji suggested, I'd say that the majority of people wear masks because they "don't mind" paying courtesy for the pro-mask people, and chose to do so rather than to support the anti-mask people. At least, that's the impression I get from talking to friends about it. Some openly say so on social media.

On a related note, I'd just like to add (and I truly hope that readers don't misunderstand my intention) that it's not that all people overseas are okay with people not wearing masks. A friend of mine who lives near NYC is still scared of going into the city, and has been staying home apart from the walks to areas where there are very few people. And I understand that in many cities in Europe and the U.S., the majority of public transportation passengers still do wear masks.

So, I don't really think that wearing masks inside a fairly full train is something outrageous. But I do feel that a lot people in Japan don't "bother to take off" their masks outdoors or when distance is kept.

That said, today I went to a couple of crowded towns, kept my mask off the whole time I was walking my 14,000 steps, entered a mall without a mask, happened to say a few words to a shop clerk without my mask on, again, traveled on buses and trains without a mask because the window was properly opened, but no one seemed to mind.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Masks 2022/11/12 23:53
I live in NYC and wear my mask most of the time as I live in a fairly crowded area. I was recently in Paris and kept my mask on most of the time there as well, and they weren't worn very much there at all.

As far as people not getting Covid, I know more people who have been ill recently than at the beginning in 2020.
by Maranyc rate this post as useful

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