COVID-19 Safety Measures Before and During Tour

Our top priority is you. We want you to have the best experience possible in Japan, and your health, safety, and wellbeing are paramount. We also work to ensure the safety and well being of the accommodations we work with, the communities where we travel, and our team.

We follow the travel advice provided by the Foreign Commonwealth Office in the UK for all matters relating to safe travel. Additionally, our suppliers follow guidelines established by the national and prefectural governments in Japan to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

With the safety of you, our suppliers, our team, and the communities we travel within top of mind, we are implementing new tour protocols. Through these measures, we seek to reduce the risk of your exposure to Covid-19 during your travels as much as possible.

These protocols are informed by the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Covid-19 Health and Safety Guidelines. These guidelines were developed by the UNWTO, with medical advice from the Cleveland Clinic. These protocols are also informed by national and prefectural guidelines for health and safety.

We hope the below information will be useful for you in knowing what to expect before your tour. Please note that these guidelines are subject to change based on new advice and information and we invite you to visit this page frequently before your tour to keep informed.

Quick links:

Overview

We’re adopting the following measures on our tours so that you can plan your next adventure knowing your health and safety is in good hands. You can find more details on each aspect of these measures below:

We’re implementing health assessments on our small group guided tours both pre-tour and during the tour for both guides and guests. On our self guided tours, we’ll provide you with guidance on self-evaluating your health. Please see below for further details.

We’re working with our accommodation, restaurant partners, and transportation partners to ensure they are meeting or exceeding the hygiene standards required by their regional governments, national government recommendations, as well as good health practice as per the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Covid 19 Health and Safety Guidelines.

We will provide you with more detailed information relevant to your particular tour in advance of your travel. We will provide this to you with the electronic copies of your documents at approximately 3 weeks prior to travel. We ask you to please read this important information carefully. This document will advise you of the PPE we recommend you to bring, our on-tour policies and protocols, and any other alternate arrangements made for health and safety reasons.

We will practice social distancing. Our small group guided tours are already smaller than many operators, with no more than 13 people. Nevertheless, we will engage in social distancing of at least 1 metre (approximately 1 yard) whenever possible on the tour. Where social distancing is not possible, for example on public transportation, indoors, or on narrow portions of the trail, we will ask guests to wear masks for their protection, and the protection of those around them.

For further specifics, please read our more detailed guidelines below.

Before your tour

Please secure travel insurance that covers you for medical treatment while in Japan. Oku Japan can not pay for medical treatment on your behalf and traveling with medical and evacuation coverage is a requirement of our tours, as stated in our booking terms and conditions.

We ask you to bring an adequate supply of masks and hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes with you to Japan to last for the duration of your tour, or to purchase these on arrival. These items are available in shops in Japan. We will have backup supplies on small group guided tours. If using a fabric mask, make sure to change it regularly as it may lose its protective function when becoming moist from breathing. This means you will need to have a spare mask available.

If you are feeling unwell and are due to travel with us, or think you may have been exposed to someone with Covid-19, and have not been able to self isolate for 14 days, please contact us immediately to make alternate arrangements, and please do not travel.

All guests will be subject to Japanese entry and screening requirements in place at the time of their travel. This may or may not include new entry visa requirements, pre-departure and arrival testing, a period of self-quarantine, and the use of contact tracing applications. It is your responsibility to meet these requirements to join your tour. These measures may include steps that must be taken in advance of travel so please be alert to these changes.

Before beginning your small group guided tour, your guide will be subject to health protocols for your protection, including temperature checks to determine that they are in good health before the tour. Guides showing symptoms of Covid-19 will not lead trips.
Your guide will be up to date and ready to implement our current Covid-19 protocols before your tour.
We may make changes based on emergent conditions to maintain the safety and well being of the group.


Joining your tour

Our guide will conduct temperature checks and questionnaire screening at the start of the tour. Your guide will also ask you questions about your general health.
For your safety and peace of mind, our guides will be wearing face masks when accompanying you on your tour.
If you are traveling on one of our self-guided tours, we ask that you please monitor your health and temperature before your tour. If you are unwell with symptoms associated with COVID19 or have a temperature greater than 37.5 degrees Celsius / 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit, we ask you to please contact us.

Illness

Our team in Kyoto has a developed rapid response protocol in the case a guided or self-guided guest presents with illness.

If you or another participant exhibits Covid-19 symptoms, our team will activate our response plan which includes, but is not limited to, isolation from the group and contact with local medical authorities.

On a small group tour

Our group sizes are small - with no more than 13 guests on our group tours.
Where possible, we will encourage social distancing of a minimum of 1 metre/1 yard between members of the group that are not of the same household or traveling group.

Getting around

Where it is possible on public transportation we will encourage social distancing by traveling outside of peak hours and spacing guests when there is an opportunity to do so.
When traveling in vehicles, the use of face masks by all small group tour participants and guides is mandatory.
We may switch from public transportation to private transportation if prudent to do so.
When using private transportation, we will clean high touch areas frequently under local regulations and guidelines.
Where possible, on transportation we will open windows for improved ventilation and avoid the use of air conditioning.
Small-group tour participants who have presented with virus symptoms will not be allowed to travel in a tour vehicle with other non-symptomatic participants.
Many train and bus companies are following hygiene protocols that include more frequent cleaning and or treatment of high touch areas on their vehicles. Windows on bus and train services are fixed in the open position due to improved anti covid ventilation measures. Nonetheless, we encourage all self-guided travelers to wear face masks when using public transport, avoid touching your face while using public transport, and to wash or sanitize your hands after using public transportation.
On self-guided tours where we have provided your long-distance rail tickets, we have reserved seats for you. If you are traveling using a JR Pass, we encourage you to make seat reservations in advance.
If you will be traveling on one of our cycling tours, our team will wear face masks and gloves while explaining the functionality of the bike and gear and seats and handles will have been cleaned with antiviral agents.

Dining

Restaurants and eating establishments in Japan are governed by local guidelines for operation which include stringent washing and sanitizing protocols before, during, and after food preparation.
Drinks and snacks will be individual and not shared.

Accommodations

Rooms will be thoroughly cleaned between guests. Some hotels may have altered their cleaning protocols to ensure safety.

On the trails and in the towns

When hiking or cycling, we will maintain social distancing procedures and wear masks in appropriate situations.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Book your 2022 tour with confidence, and read about our on-tour safety measures.

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