In 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Diamond Princess cruise ship experienced a large Covid outbreak aboard that resulted in a almost 2 week quarantine off shore of Japan and the deaths of several passengers. This unfortunate event led to the shut down of all cruising out of Japan until now.
This December, Japan will be welcoming back international cruising. This will be the first time in over 2 years that Japan will have international cruise ships in port and leaving Japan. The first ship is set to leave out of Yokohama this December. While this hasn’t been the countries first step in opening its boarders, with foreign tourists being welcomed back in October, it’s a big step towards ramping up the tourism within Japan. Prior to the pandemic, it was reported that 2.15 million tourist from cruise ships alone visited Japan in 2019. The numbers have been nonexistent with Covid shut downs, but with the ports becoming fully operational going into 2023, the hope is that that number will come back. However, this reopening is not without caution. Cruise staff is required to be fully vaccinated and passengers having at least vaccination status with one booster shot in order to board the ships. Disinfecting and social distancing will also be in place to better help reopen as safely as possible to prevent any further outbreaks or a repeat of 2020’s fiasco.