Changes Japan Since Covid
Has the world changed since Covid? Sure some things have changed and some stay the same. For many it has been over 2 years since you stepped on Japanese soil and snow and imagine you are excited to be coming back. We are very excited to see you in Nozawa too.
To be honest Nozawa itself has not changed a great deal, in the 30 plus years I have been there it has not changed so much. One of the things I like about it 🙂 We have a new Gondola for you, as mentioned in the last post, and there are a few new restaurants about town but that same great hospitality or as Japanese call it ” Omotenashi”awaits. Omotenashi is a deep rooted part of the Japanese culture which comes from the ancient Tea Ceremony meaning to wholeheartedly look after guests.
Changes Japan Since Covid
There are a few changes that have occurred in Japan in general though over that time. Here are a few that may help with smooth travelling on your next Japan trip
At the time of writing masks are still very much worn in most places. While much of the world has stopped wearing masks for a while now Japan and some other countries are still masking up to help prevent the spread of covid. It is more visible in Tokyo and the big cities where you will definitely feel out of place entering shops, restaurants and most establishments without one. Once you sit down to eat you can take it off. The same applies in Nozawa but outdoors Masks are not worn much.
The last two seasons they have been worn on the Gondola and would expect if getting on with people outside your group this will still be expected as is close quarters. Once skiing wont be a problem except to keep warm. Even before Covid Masks were a part of the Japanese scene so they may decrease in number but do not see them disappearing. Please do the right thing.
In Japan Cash has always been King and that is still the case. However since covid and the move to contactless payment there is definitely an increase in the ability to pay by Card. Around Nozawa too many little restaurants have adopted Tap and Pay type set ups on the counter. The local bottle shop is still cash but they have an automatic payment machine like in some supermarkets. Would still suggest you bring a good amount of cash but card options are much wider than before. The Exchange rate is great at the moment too with such a weak Yen.
Another good change is many shops are now charging for plastic bags which environmentally is a step forward.
As usual the train system in Japan is very impressive. Always on time and the network is insane. One of the joys of a lot of people in a small place. Heard a funny story when a train driver recently got in trouble for leaving a station 20 seconds early not late! There are a few changes underway which may affect the way you travel on trains on your journey.
Luggage is the big one with new initiations on large articles on trains. On some lines, luggage compartments are a thing of the past and from now on you’ll need to reserve a special seat for your oversized baggage.These new rules mainly apply to the Bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka so dont think will affect the Shinkansen up to Iiyama from Tokyo if coming to us. Skis and boards are always a bit of a hassle on the train so if have the time always suggest you send them up with the ever efficient Yamato Black Cat Courier service. Here is a link to more details on sending bags to and from Nozawa; Sending Luggage Nozawa Onsen
If cant be bothered carting your luggage from Train to Train and want to ensure it gets there with you suggest taking the shuttle direct from the Airport to Nozawa and back. Here is a link to book; Snow Shuttle Nozawa Onsen
Suica Card – One other advance I personally like is the ability to charge the Suica Travel Card with your credit card on your mobile phone. This was not possible before and a bit of a pain to always top up with cash jumping around trains in Tokyo. Here is how to do it; Add Suica to Apple Wallet
Entry to Japan
From October the 11th 2022 Japan borders have opened again to overseas travellers. Long awaited and fantastic news for all. There are still some requirements for entry in to Japan but it is all pretty easy. You will need the following
1. Your valid visa and passport OR Japanese passport OR visa exempt passport (after 12:00AM October 11th)
2. A valid vaccine certificate or negative PCR test certificate (see below)
3. MySOS web or MySOS app registration ( Rumours this may change )
Children under 18 accompanying their parents are exempted from vaccine requirements as long as they are travelling with fully vaccinated parents. Please note that this exemption does not apply to children under 18 travelling by themselves; they will need to obtain a negative PCR test.
Here is a link for up to date rules as they may change; Japan Entry Requirements
A few more changes and tips that may help for your next trip to Japan;
- Smoking has finally been banned in restaurants and public places. Hooray! Still filtering thru to some but a lot better
- Kyoto, Tokyo, and Nozawa are all a lot quieter. Tourists in big numbers are yet to return on mass so can enjoy all the sights
- As always Japan does love to build new infrastructure so you will see some new cool things all over Japan
Japan remains a truly amazing place to travel and our beautiful overseas guests have been missed. Especially in Nozawa so we look forward to welcoming you back soon. Remember to travel respectfully, remain humble and grateful and all of Japan will welcome you with open arms.
There are no doubt more changes and these changes will also change 🙂 So keep an eye out for updates please.
For those coming up to Nozawa skiing be sure to book your Accommodation and Snow services well in advance as it is going to be a busy season. Head to Nozawa Holidays and happy to help with anything you need; https://www.nozawaholidays.com/
Safe travels and see you soon.