How to go out safely infographics, Tokyo city skyline, Tokyo Tower
Photo: Kazuend/Unsplash; Design: Zineb Bektachi

How to go out safely in Tokyo, plus social distancing rules explained

Everything you need to know about protecting yourself now that social restrictions have eased and Tokyo has begun to reopen

By Emma Steen

On May 25, the Japanese government lifted the state of emergency covering Greater Tokyo and Hokkaido. The ease in restrictions is a relief for many of us who are getting restless self-isolating at home. But even as Tokyo begins to reopen, it’s important to keep practising social distancing and personal hygience – and adhere to the city’s current safety precautions. Here’s how to stay safe when going out in the coming weeks. 

Please note, Tokyo is going through a transitional period where circumstances are shifting frequently. A lot of things are subject to change, but we aim to keep you updated with the coronavirus situation here in Tokyo through these live updates.

Hand sanitiser
Photo: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

Keep your hands sanitised

Keeping your hands clean is an essential part of staying protected from the virus. Businesses like supermarkets and museums will have bottles of hand sanitiser stationed at their entrances and some will even require you to disinfect your hands before entering. 

Face masks
Photo: Noah/Unsplash

Wear a face mask when going out

Clean your hands before applying a mask to your face and after removing it. Replace your mask if it gets damp and never reuse a single-use mask after you’ve taken it off. Always make sure the mask is covering both your mouth and nose, otherwise it defeats the purpose of wearing one. 

Additional resources:
- How to make a DIY no-sew face mask
- How to wear a face mask without fogging up your glasses

Tokyo empty
Photo: Simon Launay/Unsplash

Stay two metres apart from others

In a city packed with as many people as Tokyo, maintaining a two-metre distance from others isn’t easy, but it’s an adjustment that’s worth making. Remember to respect the tape marks that designate how far apart to stand when in line at the supermarket or konbini.

Additional resource:
This iPhone tool helps you maintain proper social distancing

Photo: Daryan Shamkhali/Unsplash

Be mindful of train congestion

Catching the train is the best way to get around in Tokyo, but it's tough to maintain a safe distance from other people when you're riding a packed carriage. Because of this, JR East is developing an app to be released in mid-July, which will tell you how crowded the trains are. The app will provide real-time information with updates every five minutes and rank congestion on a scale of one to five. In the meantime, you can check out our guide on how to navigate Tokyo during rush hour to avoid the crowds. 

Temperature checks
Photo: Anton/Unsplash

Get used to temperature checks

Procedural temperature checks will no longer be limited to airports for passing travellers, but will also be implemented at the entrances of public facilities such as museums. Schools and some businesses will also be implementing daily checks as a precautionary measure. As always, it's important to remain vigilant of your health and consult a medical professional if you notice any symptoms. 

Shibuya Crossing, Tokyo
Photo: Cory Schadt/Unsplash

Avoid going out to crowded places

Venues may be starting to reopen, but we’re all still encouraged to avoid crowded spaces. In stage one of Tokyo’s reopening plan, events in the city are capped at 50 attendees and venues are urged to enact strict social distancing measures.

Photo: Mia Baker/Unsplash

Download the COCOA app

To help prevent the number of Covid-19 cases from rising in the country, the Japanese government has released a contact-tracing app that will notify users if they've been in close contact with someone that recently tested positive for the disease. The app will operate by exchanging encrypted codes between phones but will not reveal any personal information including names, addresses or phone numbers. 

Work from home
Photo: Lucija Ros/Unsplash

Work from home

Part of the Japanese government’s appeal for adopting a new lifestyle in response to coronavirus, working remotely will help avoid a second wave of infections. If working from home is not an option, consider commuting at off-peak times and avoiding rush hour.

Photo: Alyson McPhee/Unsplash

Consider eating in

Tokyo restaurants are now able to serve diners until 10pm, but thanks to the state of emergency restrictions, there are now more takeout options than ever before in the city. Plus, with an abundance of delivery services, dinner at home doesn’t have to mean cooking a meal from scratch.

Additional resources:
- Where to find vegan takeout in Tokyo
- These Japanese breweries are now delivering craft beer
- The best ways to get your groceries delivered in Tokyo

Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Be mindful of your mental health

Coping with isolation and stress triggered by the pandemic can feel overwhelming at times. If you need support or someone to talk to, you can reach out to any of these multilingual hotlines for counselling services. 

Stay protected and informed


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