COVID-19: To Hike or Not To Hike

Japan’s Second COVID State of Emergency: A Piece of Advice

TL;DR State of emergency declared in Tokyo and neighbouring prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa (the state of emergency was expanded to 11 prefectures on January 13). The restrictions will enter into force Friday Jan. 8 and remain in place until at least Feb. 7. If at all possible, stay local and avoid hiking and camping for the time being.

Some seven and a half months after the first emergency declaration concluded, we find ourselves under a new one even if albeit ‘watered-down’ this time. It’s Groundhog Day – déjà vu all over again. Except the prognosis this time looks far worse. With coronavirus cases in Tokyo soaring to well over 2,000 today and with no real end in sight to the pandemic we need to get our priorities right (even if we continue to get mixed messages from the powers that be).

During the previous emergency declaration, I wrote this article which included some information and advice about hiking safely and responsibly in Japan during coronavirus. This time however we’re facing a different kettle of fish. As such the message to my readers is simple if you live in Tokyo or surrounding prefectures of Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa it’s time to hunker down and not to hike. The mountains will still be there – that is something we can be quite sure of. I also urge my hiking brethren in the other 43 prefectures to do likewise and not to risk your health and safety by hiking at this time as quite frankly the rest of the country isn’t coping much better.

Instead enjoy a local park, take a walk to an unexplored part of your neighbourhood, read about an inspired journey to the 100 summits in Japan or roots of the Nihon Hyakumeizan and plan that next great adventure with Trekking in the Japan Alps and Best Day Hikes Japan.

Stay safe folks 🙂

    • It’s not that hiking per say is dangerous in fact it’s probably very unlikely you’d catch the coronavirus out on the trail. It’s more that as we are in a State of Emergency and because any accidents in the mountains are serious for you and put a strain on first responders and the already overloaded healthcare system. It’s a call for people to think about the current state of affairs and refrain for hiking for the time being.