Japan – What To Do In The Time Of Coronavirus

Article originally published March 19, 2020

Here are some RESOURCE UPDATES (last updated August 11, 2020):

Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s “Tokyo Coronavirus Support Center for Foreign Residents (TOCOS)” multilingual hotline
– Available in Simple Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Nepali, Indonesian, Tagalog, Thai, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Khmer, and Burmese, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays except national holidays.
0120-296-004 (toll free)

AMDA Medical Information Center’s “Multilingual Consultation Service Regarding COVID-19”
(April 10~May 20, 2020 – though their support number is still up)
– Available in English, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends and national holidays. Also available in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Spanish, Vietnamese and Portuguese on designated weekdays.

– Available in English and Chinese on weekdays only, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s COVID-19 info

Tokyo Metropolitan Government hotline
– Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

– Available via fax for those with hearing impairments

Japan National Tourism Organization’s “Guide for when you are feeling ill”
– Multilingual clinic/hospital search available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese

JNTO’s “Japan Visitor Hotline”
– Available in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese 24 hours a day

+81-50-3816-2787 (from overseas)

Japan’s health ministry hotline
– Available in Japanese only, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

World Health Organization’s “Q&A on coronaviruses”



Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been spreading around the world, and it’s now a time to be cautious about health and travels.

COVID-19 is also hitting Japan, and as of the publishing of this article- 2020, March 19- 868 cases have been found in Japan; 100+ of those cases in Tokyo. Still not sure what the Coronavirus is? Check out this website to learn more:  World Health Organization – Coronavirus


How is Coronavirus affecting Japan, and what is Japan like in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic?

Schools are closed until April, which will be the start of the new school year.  Most restaurants have taken a hit on customers, although take-out joints like Indian curry and rice ball shops are gaining clientele. Despite everything, the Japanese people have handled and taken the Coronavirus situation pretty well.  That being said, the first few days after Prime Minister Abe announced the closure of schools, stores were immediately raided for masks, toilet paper, cleaning products and…yakisoba.


Toilet Paper is slowly getting restocked again, but you will still find people lining up in the morning before the shops open.

Here is a map with up to date information on how many Coronavirus cases are in Japan:

Ministry Of Health – Mapping the Coronavirus Disease 2019


Spring is one of Japan’s most popular touring seasons, as the famous Cherry Blossoms begin to umbrella our parks and streets in pink and white. Sadly, but understandably, the government has asked us to refrain from picnicking under those majestic trees. Yet, in a survey of asking 500 locals what they would do, 70% of people still said they would go. It’s hard to stop the tradition, but its best to gaze upon them in uncrowded areas!

Sidenote: Apts.jp has had to cancel our Yoyogi Park hanami this year– we’ll see you all next year!


What To Do If You Are Planning To Come To Japan


We know that many people have planned to move to Japan/Tokyo in this season- as April is the beginning of the new fiscal year (and arguably the best season in Japan).

You might have concerns about coming at this time, with every right so.

Japan is currently at a Level 2- alert for travel https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/coronavirus-global.


It is a time for general caution, but if you still want to go forward with your move to Japan, here are a few things to consider—

Check Your Country’s Travel Restrictions

Japan has banned entry from travelers from parts of China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy, and as of today, parts of Spain, Switzerland, and all of Iceland have fallen under the travel ban.


You should check what restrictions your country has, as some might not be banned but need a self-imposed 14-day quarantine upon entry.

Check with your airlines, as well, about any new Coronavirus-related restrictions.


Real Estate is Moving Slowly

As many people have been canceling or postponing their flights, the demand for apartment/house rentals has been slower than usual. The good news is that we are still operating and can show you listings as they become available!

If you do postpone your travel, know that everyone may re-book once COVID-19 has passed, making it very busy again. We are trying our best to help everyone and get you the latest information as it comes. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any concerns.


Japan is on Hold At the Moment

As mentioned earlier, schools have closed, and the government is calling on events/gathering of large groups, to be canceled. Even though you are dying to do some famous sightseeing, most exhibits and attractions are also temporarily closed.

https://www.japan.travel/en/coronavirus/ to see closed attractions.


Things To Bring With You

If your residing country still has masks and hand sanitizers, it would be a good idea to bring those with you as it’s still very difficult to get them in Japan.

Toilet paper is slowly coming back, and groceries are available at the moment, though.


It would be best if you got insurance before you travel. If anything were to happen and you become ill after arriving, any healthcare costs may be high.



Already in Japan- What Are Some Things I Should Be Doing?


Wondering what you need to be doing, preparing, or websites you should be catching up on? We’ve got your back! Although information is always changing, here are a few things to help you prepare for this uncertain season.


Avoid Large Groups

Japan has announced many closures of public spaces, tourist attractions, gatherings that were supposed to resume come the middle of March. It is now the middle of March, and most places remain closed until further notice.

https://www.japan.travel/en/coronavirus/ to see closed attractions.


  • Avoid Rush Hour Trains
  • Social distancing is advised
  • Especially avoid events confined in a small space, as some cases have resulted from cluster gatherings, Live Music events, etc…


A great analogy that has been all over social media is the row of matches burning. The one match that ‘stepped’ away, saved all the other matches from igniting in that row.



Although you might feel healthy or are young with no major health concerns, you could be the one who passes it to someone who is not as strong as you. Self-distancing is incredibly crucial at this time to stop the spread of the virus.


Keep Hygiene A Priority


  • Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Any way to stop spreading disease is by keeping those hands clean



  • If you need to sneeze, sneeze into a tissue and throw it away immediately. NO, DO NOT COVER YOUR MOUTH WITH YOUR HAND WHEN YOU SNEEZE, as your mother might have told you. Sneeze into your arm if you do not have a tissue on hand.


  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth


Things To Stay Prepared

Besides trying to find when the latest drug store has a stock of masks arriving, here are a few tips on what you can do now—


  • Grocery shop for the whole week instead of each day. This will help decrease the need to go out into public areas as much as possible. If a week is impossible, aiming for 3-4 days still helps



  • Stay Calm, Carry On. There is no need to panic. Being cautious, avoiding large groups, and keeping up to date is the best way to beat this virus.


  • Take this time to invest in self care. Read a new book, learn some online yoga. Invest into yourself, you deserve it!


What To Do If I’m Feeling Ill?

Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be anywhere from mild to severe.

Symptoms are as follows:

Fever, Cough, Shortness of Breath.


If you feel like you may have those symptoms, contact a Health Advisor. At the moment, COVID-19 tests are scarce and only available for those with more severe conditions.

Japan has planned to provide more testings available at private clinics and hope that these can become available soon.


The Japan National Tourism Organization has a 24/7 hotline available for foreigners in English, Korean and, Chinese:



Contact them in any case of emergency, including COVID-19.


We hope that these tips and steps have helped you understand more about the current situation in Japan and what you can do to help us all beat this virus.

Our doors are open just as usual, so please contact us if you have any questions.

Whether you decide to come to Tokyo now or postpone, we are ready to help you find your perfect living escape in Tokyo.


May you all stay healthy!  🙂