The last article I had posted on the theme of "Tokyo life & travel now" was in August of last year. It has been almost half a year since then and our social circumstances have changed in so many ways.
The government's "Go To Travel" campaign launched in August had allowed people to travel domestically while enjoying discounts (although some areas were excluded by the government for a certain period of time in the interest of preventing further spread of COVID-19), and some tourist spots became as crowded in fall as in previous years. These trends have made it appear as if the lives of people have largely returned to normal. We can also now see many people in the commercial districts of Tokyo on weekends.
On the other hand, the daily number of new cases in Tokyo exceeded 1,000 for the first time at the end of last year, and on January 7th, the government declared a state of emergency in several prefectures in the Kanto area including Tokyo. After that, the state of emergency was expanded to include other prefectures such as Osaka. Under this state of emergency, individuals have been requested to avoid going out for non-essential and non-urgent reasons, and restaurants have been requested to close by 8:00 PM.
However, some experts are concerned by the fact that the state of emergency has done little to affect the size of crowds in these areas. I personally feel that this is because weekday routines at schools and workplaces have not really changed (even though the government has been pushing for companies to adopt telecommuting to reduce the size of the rush hour crowd), and there are still many people who want to enjoy going out at night and on weekends like in the past.
This year will be the second year since COVID-19 broke out. I wonder how our daily life will continue to change going forward.
These official sites have more travel-related information.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Official Video Channel with information for residents and visitors of Tokyo https://tokyodouga.jp/foreign
Go Tokyo – The Official Tokyo Travel Guide https://www.gotokyo.org/en/index.html
Japan information for Tokyo and all of Japan by the Japan National Tourism Organization https://www.japan.travel/en/