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Posted by
2957 posts

That’s good news. We are looking to visit Japan in 2024. We’re going to the travel show at the Javits center today and will be visiting their booth.

Posted by
2559 posts

That is good news. I admit it catches me a bit off-guard when I see a Facebook photo of a group of friends in Japan and they are all wearing masks. Masks have never been uncommon but things have definitely been slower to relax some, even in normal day to day life for those who live there.

Posted by
194 posts

We recently returned to US after spending the month of Dec 2022 in Japan (Kanto area - which includes Tokyo). It was a wonderful time, and food was as good as ever. Prices (especially with the favorable dollar-yen exchange rate) were very reasonable. Most Japanese people, non-Japanese Asian people, and Black people we encountered were wearing masks, as well as about 70% of Caucasian people. (No judgement, just reporting my experience.) BTW, the color of the masks worn by Japanese was usually white.

The entry at the airport (Haneda) was surprisingly smooth and swift for those who had provided COVID, immigration, and customs information on-line before the flight: one just needed to show QR codes to the bevy of people guiding entrants through the entry process.

I had lived for years in Japan, and after leaving travelled often for business/pleasure, but this was my first visit after a multiple-year hiatus. A few changes I noticed (probably mostly due to COVID, Tokyo Olympics, and technology):
- Tokyo-area train/subway station names (especially JR) are for the most part written not only in Japanese, but also in English, and often in Korean and Chinese.
- Tokyo-area train/subway stations (especially JR) have become more accessible to passengers with mobility issues.
- Very few people were using the ticket machines at the train/subway stations. Instead, most were using a Suica (or Pasmo) card or a Suica (or Pasmo) mobile app for payment -- including for riding local buses.
- That wonderful Japanese invention - the washlet - is now ubiquitous in most bathrooms at train stations, restaurants, hotels, museums, etc.
- Many large grocery stores now require self-bagging, and one pays (cash or card) using a machine.
- When I paid at a Mosburger for lunch, it required the use of a touchscreen and paying via machine (cash or card). (BTW I think my Mosburger craving is permanently sated - Mosburger food remains good, but my tastes have evolved.)
- Service in the lower-level take-out food sections of dept stores remains unchanged: excellent.

Posted by
6800 posts

I think that it is important to realize that wearing masks while ill is very much a norm to prevent the spread of disease and was in place long before Covid in parts of Asia. People still wearing masks means that people are still being courteous and considerate of others when they are concerned about spreading a respiratory disease.

Posted by
9169 posts

Thanks for this updated report on one of my favorite destinations.

Posted by
19 posts

Thanks for the info. Possibly heading there in the fall. My spouse and I have plane tickets but are still deciding. If we go, it will be out first "real" travel since 2019.