Japan recently revised its border policies to allow most foreign nationals to travel independently on tourist visas in Japan. Starting October 11, 2022, special permits and pre-arranged packaged tours are no longer required for short-term stays. Please check whether a visa application is required for your nationality, and for any additional documents required to enter Japan.
Covid-19 testing and quarantine requirements have been lifted for most countries. Countries are classified into “Red”, “Yellow”, and “Blue” groups. Regardless of vaccination status, travelers from countries in the “Blue” category are no longer required to conduct Covid-19 testing or quarantine upon arrival. Travelers from countries in the “Red” and “Yellow” categories must adhere to Covid-19 testing and quarantine requirements upon arrival depending on the traveler’s vaccination status. All travelers are asked to refrain from using public transportation for 14 days after arrival.
If you are considering visiting Japan, please carefully review 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 link (if available) or Google Maps to check on the latest status.