Japan has closed its borders to almost all countries until further notice. The number of non-Japanese nationals who are permitted to enter into Japan is very limited. All international tourism has been suspended at this time. Even for those who have a valid visa to enter or stay in Japan, their visas may already or will be suspended. In response to the recent coronavirus variant Omicron, reinforced quarantine measures have been taken for a list of countries based on a risk assessment.
In accordance with the Quarantine Act, all travelers entering Japan, including Japanese nationals, must submit a certified negative COVID-19 test before departure and upon arriving in Japan. The test must be conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from your country of origin. In addition, all visitors and Japanese residents are required to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. This has been amended from the previous 14-day self-quarantine period on Jan 15, 2022. During quarantine, you are not allowed to take public transportation or travel to crowded areas. Violators of the Act may have their visa status revoked or be deported.
It is currently undecided when the government will open its borders up for tourism again. If you are considering visiting Japan, please review carefully the information available from the Government of Japan, as well as from your country’s embassy or consulate in Japan. Some resources are listed below.
There are currently no restrictions in place on intercity or interstate travel within Japan. However, if you are planning on doing the pilgrimage in Shikoku during this time, please thoroughly do your research on information available from the local governments in Shikoku, as well as the temples and lodgings you plan to visit or stay at during your travels.
Apart from some inns and lodgings that are temporarily closed, the pilgrimage itself is still available and doable, given that you are legally allowed in Japan. However, as a traveler in Shikoku, you should pay close attention to guidelines and instructions when entering into establishments or interacting with people there. It is common for indoor establishments to require a face mask at all times, and you should sanitize frequently. Almost all businesses (including temple offices) have alcohol spray by the front door, but it’s a good idea to carry a little sanitizer and keep it handy in your pocket. (They are sold at convenience stores.)
Most public transportation is operating normally, though intercity buses have fewer buses running. Small train stations on Shikoku, the ones that don’t have an attendant, have closed their restrooms. Airlines are also on reduced schedules. If you are traveling from another prefecture, long-distance railway services are still maintaining their usual schedules. Please also note that while the ordinance to close drinking establishments was lifted at the end of September 2021, there are still some restrictions on the sale of alcoholic drinks, and some drinking establishments are choosing to remain closed for the time being.
Please respect local rules and guidelines, and stay vigilant at all times.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The lodgings pages listed on this site may not accurately reflect their statuses of operation in regards to COVID-19. You can click on the link to their official website (if available) or Google Maps to check on the latest status.