Following the end of the nationwide state of emergency, cities across Japan have steadily relaxed restrictions on going out and gathering with friends. Parks, beaches and other outdoor areas have seen an influx of weekend visitors looking to make up for lost time. But if you’re keen to head to the beach this summer, think again. Some Japanese cities, concerned they won’t be able to implement adequate safety measures, have decided they won’t be opening their beaches to the public this year.
While Tokyo has just entered its second phase of reopening, beach huts and other seaside facilities in nearby Kanagawa prefecture will stay closed. There will not be any lifeguard present either.
It's sad for anyone anticipating long summer days of suntan and ocean waves, but Japan Today reports that officials say it would be impossible to ensure proper safety guidelines are followed on the beach. As a result, cities including Kamakura, Zushi and Fujisawa have asked beachgoers to skip their visits this summer and come back next year. This will be the first time since World War II that Kamakura’s Yuigahama beach will be closed all summer.
According to Nikkei (Japanese only), Kamakura mayor Takashi Matsuo acknowledges the government can't legally bar people from visiting the coastlines. Instead, regulations such as an alcohol ban on the beach may be implemented to discourage overcrowding.
There are still a number of cities that have yet to come to a decision over opening their beaches. NHK (Japanese only) reportedly reached out to officials from six cities northeast of Tokyo in Ibaraki prefecture, including Kitaibaraki, Hitachi, Hitachinaka, Oarai, Kashima and Kamisu, but the officials said a decision about local beaches would be made in the next week.
For information on how to go out safely in Tokyo, click here.
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