Sunday, February 6, 2022

The entering Japan experience with COVID prevention measures

As of the time of writing this post, this our last day under Japan's quarantine, yay! 

What I am going to write from now on is our experience when entering Japan, before arriving to the airport and after it. Hope this is an interesting read or is useful for whoever reads it. 

There are a some requirements to enter Japan at the moment, which must be fulfilled before being able to even board:

  • Having a valid VISA, which as of know is restricted to close family members and some student categories.
  • Filling a pledge where you agree to obey to all the rules the Japanese government has set for new arrivals.
  • Installing the required applications: 
    • MySOS: An application to track our location and to receive notifications (quite useful since we don't have a phone number yet). Location checks, video checks and phone calls are all received through this app.
    • COCOA新型コロナウイルス: This app is used to monitor and report close contacts(濃厚接触者 、のうこうせっしょくしゃ) that have tested positive. 
    • A health form application which must be fulfilled before arrival and provides a QR code that the Japanese authorities will check on arrival.
  • A location to continue the quarantine after the government sponsored one, and a government approved transportation means.
  • A valid plane ticket.

The easiest part of the things we had to obtain were the plane tickets. Afterwards, obtaining all the applications was quite a rough experience because the applications were not available for sometime to download; luckily we were able to install them eventually after a couple of days trying. 

On arrival to the airport, there is some sort of gymkana path set where they verify in each step that you have fulfilled all the requirements and the situation of your arrival (prior countries of stay, applications installed an properly configured, emergency contacts...). One of the first steps includes a PCR test which in our case was a Saliva PCR and we were told that I would take at least one hour to have the results. In total, it took around 4 hours to make it to the arrivals hall.

Arrival at Osaka Intl Airport (関西空港)

The goverment sponsors the first days of quarantine depending on the countries you have stayed prior to arriving in Japan, which in our situation was only Spain and at the time of arrival it was 3 days of quarantine (the day of arrival doesn't count, so that makes it 4 days). Before arriving to Japan, the quarantine were 14 days for Spain but it was reduced to 7 during our flight (3 days government sponsored + 4 days self-sponsored). 
A fun fact is that even though the hotel was literally a minute away by foot they took us in a bus in a 7 minute ride to the hotel.

This is how far the hotel was from the arrivals hall.

The room that we were giving was good enough for two persons. Of course, we were not given the keys of the room nor were we able to wander freely. The room door was blocked by a chair and there was a guard at all times checking that there was no one misbehaving or trying to wander around. 
A total of 3 meals were provided everyday and to give it to us it was placed in the chair right in front of the door and they rang the bell of the room; from there we had to wait 2-3 minutes to get the food.

Our quarantine hotel room.

During our quarantine (this includes not only the government sponsored one but also the one we were forced to do ourselves) we received random checks at random times to verify our location and to prove that we were not faking it: Videocalls, regular location checks and videocalls with a real operator.

By the time the quarantine finishes you have to leave the quarantine hotel to continue your self-quarantine under a government sponsored means of transportation which basically is nothing but a private and expensive taxi. Our fare from the Kansai Airport to Osaka's Nishi-ku fared a grand total of ¥26000

Our views from the quarantine hotel.

We chose an AirBNB location because it had a good price-quality balance and we were able to cook by ourselves, this way we would save up money from hotel meals and by purchasing in online supermarkets the experience was nice enough. The internet connection and having more space to wander around was also a nice upgrade 😀. 

Tomorrow is our last day of quarantine and I can't wait to walk around this place. :D

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