Kyoto Coronavirus Update: Is it Safe to Travel

Coronavirus Cases in Kyoto (Updated Daily)

The number of coronavirus cases in Kyoto has been decreasing. However, this global pandemic is still not under control. Please closely follow travel warnings from officials in your country before finalizing your travel to Kyoto. If you scroll down below the coronavirus updates, you can find what our company, Japanese hotels and Japanese airlines are doing to assure your safety.

Which Places in Kyoto are Closed Due to Coronavirus?
-All major outdoor sightseeing spots in Kyoto are open for public (Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji, Kiyomizu Temple, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, etc.)
-All major museums and in-door attractions in Kyoto are closed until May 6th. There is a possibility that the opening date can be delayed. Kyoto Samurai & Ninja Museum also will be closed until the end of June.
-Major amusement centers in Japan (e.g. Universal Studios Japan, Disneyland, etc.) are closed
How is the Local Community in Kyoto Reacting to the Situation?
Kyotoites are calm but worried about the unfolding situation. Having approximately 300 cases, Kyoto is one of the least affected cities in Japan. However, many cultural events and activities in Kyoto including kabuki performances and geisha dance shows are cancelled. Even the world-famous Gion Festival, scheduled to start in July, has been cancelled. You can read more about the Kyoto Geisha community's reaction to Coronavirus here.
When is it Safe to Travel to Kyoto
Currently, Japan does not accept any visitors from most of the countries in the Northern Hemisphere. The date of opening the borders has not been decided, yet, but Japan usually follows the instructions World Health Organization . Given the fact that Japan currently has the lowest fatality ratio () among developed countries and was among of the last batch of countries to shut down its borders, we expect the borders to be open as soon as WHO lifts restrictions on international traffic: probably sometime in September with conditions. So far, no major international sport tournament or business exhibition due to take place in Japan in October or November has been cancelled. At the same time, we expect the current social distancing rules to remain in effect until the end of 2021.
How Does Japan Compare to Other Countries?
Japan has the lowest fatality ratio among developed countries, roughly 100 times lower than Italy and France and about 50 times lower than the US (). Also the number of deaths and the number of cases have been decreasing. This may be because of the established hygiene routines and Japan's advance healthcare system (). The following graph shows that almost all G7 countries are close to flattening their curves. ()Even though Germany cancelled the famous October Fest (), which was supposed to start around mid-September, it eased the shutdown regulations already and expects to hold a number of international events in September and October ().
Japan Coronavirus g7
What are We Doing to Assure Your Safety?
  • Currently we suspended all of our services until the end of June.
  • We are training our staff members on epidemics, contagious diseases and advanced hygiene practices
  • We will be constantly monitoring the body temperature and symptoms of our staff members and teachers
  • We will provide protective masks free of charge to all our guests and we will assure the sanitizing alcohol dispensers are available in every room
  • We have an hypochlorous acid sprayer in the Samurai & Ninja Museum and we frequently ventilate both our teahouses and museums
  • Until the end of October, we are planning to provide all of our experiences "private" by following the social distancing rules (e.g. the tea master or a tour guide will be at least 4 feet away from you and there will be no stranger in your tea ceremony session or ninja training session)
  • We will provide free consulting and translation services to all our guests in case they need assistance reaching out the health facilities or visiting a clinic

*If your travel plans change for any reason, we refund you 100%, without any questions asked.

What are the Hotels in Kyoto Doing to Assure Safety?
Japan is also considered as a hygiene-friendly country. Even before the coronavirus crisis most hotels did offer sanitizing gels, sanitizing alcohol dispensers and advised the staff wear a mask in case they are sick. Currently all major hotels in Japan are taking the following steps to assure hygiene and safety
  • Wiping everywhere inside the elevator, handrails, door knobs, etc. with alcohol disinfectant
  • Ventilating the lobby 24 hours a day
  • Making sure all the reception personnel, housekeeping members and the kitchen staff  are wearing masks
  • Thoroughly checking the temperature of employees and checking their physical condition periodically
  • Instructing employees to refrain from visiting places where there is a high risk of infection
  • "In certain occasions the staff may ask you to use the sanitizer at the entrance and check your body temperature."
  • "If your body temperature is 37.5 degrees or higher, the staff will guide you to a public health center or medical institution"

We also noted these notes on some 5-star hotels' websites

  • Additional hypochlorous acid sprayers in various places are installed
  • Cleaning and the kitchen staff are asked to wear gloves all the time
  • Remote controls, room switches, and main surfaces in the room are always disinfected
What are International Airlines Doing to Assure Safety?
A number of airlines are already selling tickets for international flights taking off as early as June () though we suspect Japan allows foreign visitors by then. Emirates already provides rapid COVID-19 tests for its passengers on certain routes (). Most Airports already have infrared cameras that are likely to detect passengers with high fever. Etihad Airlines is testing a kiosk that can measure passengers' heart rate and the respiration rate.  Most airlines () already decided to implement these rules for both domestic and international flights
  • Providing masks and requiring passengers to wear masks during the flight
  • Providing sanitizing wipes and disinfecting all the surfaces before and after flights
  • Requiring social distancing and not selling tickets for the middle-row seats
  • Asking the cabin crew to wear masks and special protective equipment
  • Suspending the in-flight magazines, newspapers and duty-free sales
What if You Get Contracted in Kyoto?
  • JNTO (Japan National Tourism Hotline)  By clicking on this link you can get the latest information on the coronavirus epidemic and also call or chat with a representative free of charge. Please use this link only for emergencies. You can also call JNTO:  From Japan 050-3816-2787 From Overseas +81-50-3816-2787
  • Medical Instititution Directory  On this directory you can locate the contact information and the address of the nearest English speaking hospital, clinic or Tourist Information Centre.
  • You can also simply email us (kyoto (at) and our staff would support you free of charge.
What Did the Japanese Government Do to Control the Epidemic?
  • On January 31st, Japan banned anyone who recently visited Wuhan, China from entering Japan.
  • The Japanese government shut down schools and banned spectators at large sporting events on February 28th ()
  • On March 24th (), Prime Minister Abe declared that the 2020 Olympics are postponed to 2021 .
  • On March 25th ()the governor of Tokyo asked everyone to stay-at-home. A large number of businesses voluntarily shut down.
  • On April 16 (), the Japanese government declared national emergency by asking citizens to stay at home. All public gatherings were cancelled and venues that hold group activities were asked to shut down until May 6th.
Why Doesn't the Japanese Government Test Everyone?
  • Currently, anyone with symptoms are checked by a doctor who decides whether a COVID-19 test is necessary or not.  Japanese government officials believe that randomly testing so many people may have negative outcomes because a) healthcare facilities must prioritize serving the needs of patients with severe symptoms () b) visiting hospitals for testing significantly increases the likelihood of getting the disease () c) in a collective and conformist society, a high number of coronavirus tests and labels may create disturbance.
Which Places are Closed Due to the Coronavirus Epidemic?

These are the main sightseeing spots closed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

City Location Closed ~
Kyoto Samurai & Ninja Museum May 30, 2020
Kyoto Amanohashidate View Land May 6, 2020
Kyoto Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama (Japanese only) May 6, 2020
Kyoto Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art TBA
Kyoto Byodoin Museum May 10, 2020
Kyoto Kyoto Museum of Crafts and Design May 6, 2020
Kyoto Kyoto National Museum TBA
Kyoto Kyoto Railway Museum TBA
Kyoto The Museum of Kyoto May 6, 2020
Kyoto The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto TBA
Kyoto  Tea Ceremony Kyoto Maikoya  May 30, 2020

Source: JNTO