Bus tours resume after Japan's state of emergency

Japan's tourism industry is one sector hoping for a quick return to normal after the state of emergency expired on Thursday. Some companies have already resumed bus tours.

Tourists gathered at a bus terminal in central Tokyo at around 7:30 a.m. on Friday. Fourteen people set off on a day trip to Nagano Prefecture in central Japan to pick grapes and enjoy a meal at a French restaurant.

One participant in her 80s said that she had been stuck at home while the state of emergency was in place. She said that she was thrilled to go on her first trip in a long time.

The operator resumed bus tours after a gap of about two and a half months.

The company also reopened its service counters to customers. Employees disinfected counters and prepared brochures before welcoming them.

Matsumura Takao, a manager at the firm, said that it stopped sales of tours every time a state of emergency was declared. He said he is glad to be able to resume them and the company will implement thorough measures against the coronavirus.

The operator says that it plans to provide more tours. Some will be limited to people who are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for the coronavirus.