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Coronavirus Kyoto Update: Is Kyoto Safe to Travel Now?

Updated: 6 days ago


If you have an upcoming trip to Kyoto or are now traveling in the city, you may get worked up about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As you may have already known, Japan coronavirus cases are increasing, prompting travel restrictions and temporary closures of attractions.


As of March 25, 2020, there have been 1,215 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Japan, of which 27 are in Kyoto Prefecture; 7 have recovered. There have been no reported deaths in the prefecture caused by the virus so far.


(You can see a live tracker of coronavirus in Kyoto and Japan here. For real-time updates, follow the Japan National Tourism Organization’s (JNTO) Twitter account.)


That leaves us with the question: “Is it safe to travel in Kyoto now?”


Is Kyoto, Japan Safe to Travel Now?


How safe is it to travel right now in Kyoto? Should you just cancel your Japan trip?


It is difficult to answer either “yes” or “no.” But given the situation, we highly recommend staying at home or at your accommodations for now to ensure your safety.


If you have your trip booked already, you may want to defer your travel plans to a later date or wait for the virus to be completely contained before pushing through. Prevention is always better than cure.


Can I Still Travel in Kyoto?


Absolutely. Right now, most establishments and tourist attractions in Kyoto are still open. Also, most travel services, like Kyoto Localized, are still accepting bookings.


In fact, local tourist businesses are making a collective effort to lure tourists back in. A group of shop owners in the Arashiyama area has initiated an advertising campaign called “suitemasu Arashiyama,” which means “there are few people in Arashiyama” or “empty Arashiyama.” Arashiyama is particularly a touristy area, home to some major attractions in Kyoto such as Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Iwatayama Monkey Park, Togetsukyo Bridge, and Kimono Forest.


In contrast, some museums in Japan have been closed. You can see the list of museums in Kyoto that have been temporarily closed in the following section.


Temporary Closures of Attractions in Kyoto


Here’s a list of attractions in Kyoto that have been temporarily closed and the expected dates to reopen:

  • Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art - TBA

  • The Museum of Kyoto - March 20, 2020

  • The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto - TBA

  • Kyoto National Museum - March 23, 2020

You can see the complete and updated list of temporary closures of attractions in Japan here and via TripAdvisor (in Japanese).


Ways to Prevent COVID-19


If you really want to go on with your trip, some precautionary measures you need to remember to avoid contracting the coronavirus as much as you can:

  1. Observe social distancing.

  2. Avoid crowded places.

  3. Clean your hands with soap and water properly and frequently.

  4. Apply hand sanitizers or alcohol-based hand rub after touching anything.

  5. Wear masks when going outside.

  6. Cover nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing with tissue paper or flexed elbow.

  7. Keep away from people who have flu-like symptoms such as fever, cold, and cough.


For more tips, check out the World Health Organization’s advice for the public.


What to Do If You’re Suspected to Have COVID-19


In case you suspect to have contracted the virus, get yourself checked at the nearest hospital. You can check out the list of emergency hospitals in Kyoto and their contact details.


For hospitals and clinics in Kyoto with English, Chinese, and Korean translators, you can refer to this list from Kyoto City International Foundation.

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