2 years, 4 months, 22 days. It was a long wait.
I was in Japan in January 2020 when we started to hear about covid. I was only able to return in June 2022 and I enjoyed this trip, every minute of it!
I have received a lot of messages and questions when I posted some pics of my trip on Instagram, for example how did I manage to enter Japan, how was I welcomed, where to shop for Fude and many other interesting questions, I will try to answer most of those questions but don’t hesitate to let me know if you need more information on a particular topic. I know that some of you are eagerly awaiting the possibility to enter Japan, I hope that this can happen very soon.
The 2022 Fudematsuri has been cancelled by the way, the manufacturers in Kumano are very sad about this cancellation as they were really not expecting it and were already prepared for this year’s celebrations, anyway, they hope to see us all there next year! In the mean time, you can always watch my video prepared in 2020 for that year’s virtual event.
We assume that as long as we have health, time and budget we can travel anywhere we want, well, how that has changed now!
Before 2020 I was travelling to Japan 4 times a year and it started to feel like a second home. My very first trip in back in 2013 was a big shock though. I was not used to such huge structures, to so many people. To give you an idea, Tokyo Shinjuku train station has over 200 exits… And they can be very far apart from each other. Your destination station may be just a 5 minute train ride away, but think about what exit you’ll need, and then walk in an premeditated fast pace so you don’t cause chaos during pick hours… It can be overwhelming.
I travel mostly to visit my friends and work with the artisans so I don’t do much else when I am there. I cannot give you hotel recommandations or a list of the top 10 places to visit in Japan, I can just share what I have loved so far and my tips for a more comfortable journey.
I will not go into the details but if you have questions, please do not hesitate!
How was I able to enter in Japan in June 2022?
I am Spanish and before 2020 I didn’t need a visa. When they reopened the borders, it was only open for business visitors but you had to be previously invited by the Japanese governement and then, with that invitation you need to ask for a work Visa. Japan reopened with different conditions depending on where you came from, on your vaccines, etc. and the conditions were evolving with the covid situation around the world.
The whole process took some steps: I booked everything, then I received my invitation, then I could ask for the Visa, and lastly, a PCR was required before departure.
The process of preparing the trip and documents wasn’t difficult for me but that’s because the conditions had changed in June. Before June it was more difficult, it required a quarantaine, a sort of tracking while in Japan and the company that invited you needed to know your plans in Japan.
The Japanese consulate helped me with the steps to follow in Switzerland and one of the brush manufactures I work with helped me with the steps in Japan.
The visa and travel documents have to be precise and it’s much better to make reservations that you can move around in case something doesn’t work out or takes longer than expected.
The entry in Japan was smooth, I had the MySOS app where you upload the docs and fill in the info they need, then the app screen was showing a green background so once at Tokyo airport, you move through check points, showing that screen plus the documents that you have. It’s ok not to have a green screen, it just means you either require a PCR test upon arrival or a quarantine or maybe you just need to fill more documents.
At each check point they give you a paper with a different color, based on that paper they can validate that you completed the previous check point and they will anticipate from afar and guide you to the right queue. It didn’t take long, maybe half an hour for the entire process from the exit of the plane to the luggage pick-up.
It was quite new to them too but they were already organised. Masks, temperature check and distancing at all times obviously but no PCR required upon arrival for me.
The check-points are for example to confirm you have a valid Visa, etc.
Not many foreigners though… and it was so empty, I felt like I was the only non-Japanese entering Japan. Occasionally a few non-Japanese that seemed to be familiar with Japan, not first time travellers or expats maybe.
How was I welcomed?
The crew members, both at the check-in and in the plane were so surprised to see a foreigner on the plane to Japan that they all asked me how I managed to get there… They heard it was super difficult and they wanted to know how it had been for me, I had interesting conversations with them, but it felt strange that they were so curious and their questions fueled my aprehension of my arrival, I was wondering if the Japanese would feel comfortable with me visiting, shopping, eating at the restaurant, etc… There are foreigners living in Japan but even if I am comfortable there and if feels like a second home, you can clearly see that I don’t live there.
My friends, as well as the artisans and all the people I am working with were very happy to see me! It had been a while so I missed them so much!
We went to restaurants or spent a lot of time walking and working in the ateliers, everybody was wearing a mask. I was welcomed really warmly! No issues at all there!
I felt very warmly welcomed everywhere, except for maybe one occasion. When I was visiting a little artisan shop in Nagoya to look for paintings, nobody said hello or asked me if I needed anything, they kept on watching football or doing whatever… I tried to talk to them but nothing, they totally ignored me. I just walked out.
Except for that only shop where I felt like I was tresspassing, it was absolutely amazing everywhere! Truly wonderful. Don’t rush into conclusions if they don’t smile at you right away, I think that they are a bit nervous they won’t be able to serve you properly or understand you, maybe it’s what happened in that artisan shop?! Just don’t take things personal because I have visited the thousands of shops, restaurants and places and only one place was a bit strange and I don’t even know why!
Where have I been ?
I landed in Tokyo Narita, went straight to Kyoto, then to Hiroshima, Kumano, then up to Osaka and Nagoya, then Tokyo. I did a bit of sightseeing, also a big of shopping in between destinations.
I had a lot of meetings and spent a lot of time with the artisans but that’s what I love! We need to take advantage of every minute!
It was very important for me to go to Japan specially at this moment, you’ll see that starting this December, the brushes we will launch will be more artisan/collector oriented or there will be pieces that require the collaboration of two different manufactures or even some brushes that may be challenging without meeting with the artisans in person, the plans for 2023 are very special providing all goes smoothly.
About the inspiration behind my designs
There is a nothing more inspiring than the live reaction of the artisans when we talk about our passion for craftsmanship and for their fude! You asked me where I get my inspiration from, I am not sure if you are refering to the design of the products or the functionality of the brushes.
I get my inspiration looking around, observing people, places, objects, shapes, etc but my main inspiration comes from listening to the artisans talk about their passion, learning from their stories and watching them at work. Something, at some point during our discussions, has triggered an emotion and I work a lot based on emotions.
Artisans love creating pieces that are more challenging and that reflect their craftsmanship, they really enjoy to work with more precious materials (wood/ferrules/bristles) and appreciate when they can aim for a higher quality product instead of a more profitable one.
They all have their secret techniques and tools and it’s amazing to be so close to them and be a little part of it, I love to see the generations working together, learning from each other, see how proud they are of their techniques but also how open they are to improve and get even better.
With regards to the inspiration for my own brush designs, when I launch a new design I have a very precise idea of what I want to be able to do with that brush and I won’t stop until we reach that stage.
I want to innovate but keep things fun and very functional. There is a lot of thought and a lot of work with every single brush, I could talk and write about each one of them for hours but unfortunately the exact process done with the artisan to bring a design from start to finish is not something I am allowed to share publicly because it’s different depending on who I am working with.
Fude shopping in Japan
I know that you are interested to shop for Fude in Japan and find handmade brushes that are not easily available outside of Japan. I can share the addresses that I have and some tips too.
FUDE = the Japanese name for a make-up or calligraphy brush
There are several places to shop for them in Japan. Best way to know exactly where your favorite brands are, is to contact the brands and ask them if they have a boutique or a pop up shop going on somewhere, because they often do. Check on their website, they will have a contact email, get in touch and ask for the locations and pop-up shops in the cities you will be visiting. Or maybe if they don’t, and still want to get something, you may have a hotel address they can ship the items to so you can pick them up during your stay.
- Kashoen used to have a boutique in Ginza, it closed but I am not sure if they have reopened and where, I will ask and update here when I get the information. They had a pop up shop when I contacted them a long time ago but this may have changed.
- Hiroshima Fude are showcased in Tokyo Ginza at TAU-Hiroshima and they have many Kumano brands there (Chikuhodo, Koyudo, Tanseido, Shaquda, Kumano Fude Select Shop, etc).
- There is a Hakuhodo boutique in Tokyo Omotesando and if you love brushes, you will be so happy to see all of their products nicely aligned!
- If you go to Isetan shopping mall and all the major Tokyo, Hiroshima, or other city malls, you may see Hakuhodo, Takeda, Tauhaus, etc but be careful because they might be split in different floors. Best thing is to go to the information counter and ask where to find Fude and you can show a picture of Hakuhodo brushes, Takeda, etc. Be ready as they may not speak English.
Don’t hesitate to walk around the entire floor, some brands have beautiful make-up brushes in very small beauty counters. I found a few gems like that.
Otherwise there is Addiction, Three, RMK, many brands have brushes made in Japan.
- Also in the JR train stations in the souvenir shops, that’s a place to go for special editions for example.
- Of course drugstores, or malls with drugstores inside, is another place to find Fude. Just be aware that many brands won’t use the softest and highest quality bristles, it depends on the brand and their series.
It will be so exciting to see the Fude advertisement panels…
- You need to go to the ASSE shopping center, it’s located in the Hiroshima station, you’ll have a Kumano Fude Select Shop there, same as the one in the museum of Fude in Hiroshima and the one in TAU-Hiroshima in Ginza, Tokyo.
- JR station souvenir shops.
- You can also find some brands in the big malls, go to the souvenir sections and to the beauty counters because you may see pop up shops or small souvenir counters. In some cases or most cases you won’t be able to feel or touch the bristles though, they will be wrapped in plastic sleeves that you cannot open.
- There is a Kashoen shop in Hiroshima, I had a fun experience shopping there with Troy Surratt and Nathaniel. Fun is an understatement, we were like children in a toy shop.
You can purchase Kashoen make-up brushes but also their art brushes. I bought make-up and painting brushes.
- There is also the Kumano Fude Center, there is a lot of choice there so it’s really worth visiting if you are looking for Fude. I bought many items there, Fude, cards, calligraphy items, scrolls, and more.
- You can get Kumano brushes directly at the manufacturers but it’s not always possible as they don’t always have a display area and a store. Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo, Koyudo have one, the others I am not sure. But you can contact them by email, even ask them to prepare something for your visit if you are looking for a specific brush.
- Inside Fudenosato Kobo museum, you will have the same Kumano Fude Select Shop.
- At the Fude Festival on the 23rd of September when it’s scheduled! If you are at the Festival you’ll have a lot to see and shop! Take cash, I wasn’t able to buy anything on credit card there.
Even at Chikuhodo, they accept credit cards but mine for some reason doesn’t work at their boutique. It works everywhere else in Japan though.
On the Festival day you’ll usually have a discount even on the permanent collections so it’s worth starting with the Festival for brands like Chikuhodo, Tanseido, Mizuho, Koyudo, etc etc then complete your wishlist purchases with the shops in Hiroshima or Tokyo.
At the Festival you can find regular brushes but also some brushes that were prototypes at some point, or sold without logos on the handles, or with little defects so they did not pass the final controls. I found dupes of the Suqqu S and very interesting little brushes.
If you are a make-up artist, this is quite interesting because you’ll be able to get good brushes for a fraction of the cost so you can get duplicates easily. Well, if there are any.
In this post you can see what purchases I made at the Festival in 2019.
At the Festival with master Tesshyu Takemori, chairman of Chikuhodo.
I have huge admiration for this man, and by the way, he is still working today!
I was with Chikuhodo in June, I wanted to bring some gifts for Yutaro Takemori’s little kids and everytime I go there I get the chance to spend time with Mr Tesshyu Takemori and his family, it’s great to see all the family working together.
The Fudenosato Kobo museum was reopened after the renovations, it was really very busy because they were showcasing an artist, lots of kids and adults were there. Only locals or Japanese visitors, no foreigners.
Just know that nothing is writen in Japanese, if you want to learn about the brushes and read the boards, you’ll need either an app translating or a guide.
I ate a pizza at the Fudenosato Kobo restaurant, the pizza was really very good and I will certainly do that again.
Somebody asked me why would I eat a pizza in Japan, which is a very good question!
I eat a lot of Japanese food in Japan, ramen, traditional dishes and sushi too but sometimes there are exceptions, it is going to be easier and faster to go for pizza.
- There are some brands in the big shopping malls and you may have the great surprise of being there at the same time as a pop-up Fude shop but think about your favorite brands and ask them if they are having some events around Japan.
- Don’t forget to go to the Yojiya boutique!
- Also, another stop is the Sakurado shop! But always check the opening days and times so that you can plan your visit and have time to browse. Specially with covid, some shop have reduced the opening hours.
Sometimes there are shops at the stations or airports, I think Yojiya may be in Osaka at the station or at the airports but maybe not a big selection so if you are in Kyoto, go for the Kyoto one.
Even if you don’t shop all of your wishlist items, it’s a good opportunity to see and feel the brushes, to build a shopping list for later. Determine what is worth splurging on while you are there. For example, at the Yojiya boutique they let me see the grain of the wood on the handles and pick the brushes that I prefer to buy. Sometimes you won’t be able to touch the brushes, but others you can and it will give you an idea of the softness and density of what you are buying.
Shopping for other traditional items
This was a question I received several times but I really don’t have an extensive knowledge of where to shop for traditional items, there are some places I always love to visit for shopping, these are:
- The market streets in Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nagoya or Tokyo
- Tokyu Plaza in Shibuya (I think there are other locations)- There are some Japanese brands there, beautiful porcelain and other items made in Japan
- TAU Hiroshima shop in Ginza
- Kobikicho square in Ginza (Ginza Kabukiza theater)
- Isetan shopping mall on the top floors.
- JR stations for souvenirs
- Museums shops
If you have a local guide, then you can ask them where you could find the traditional items that you are looking for.
If you go to the kimono shops, that’s a good place to have a look at their patterns, their accessories. Remember to check if you need to take your shoes off before entering, usually you need to.
You will find them in the market areas in Kyoto or Nagoya also in Isetan top floors.
A very nice souvenir to bring with you could be a MAEKAKE apron… it’s a great fun gift and very traditional!
Someone also asked me where to buy items for using on the background of Instagram photos, etc. A place you need to visit is Tokyu Hands. It is a paradise for the diy lover! Make sure you have enough time when you enter because you may not leave that quickly…
Shopping for clothes
I wanted to talk a little about clothes and style in Japan. People like to be covered up and wear loose fitting clothes, no sexy clothes, no decolleté.
Also keep in mind that you will probably need to take off your shoes quite regularly, it’s good to be prepared and if you can carry a little pair of socks with you (in case you aren’t wearing any), then it can come in helpful.
I had to get some clothes while I was there, sure it’s a good excuse to go to the mall and have a look around! My favorite brands there are Plantation and 23 Vingt-trois Arrondissements, the items I have from them are made in Japan. These brands are located in the more Japanese section of their clothing section inside the big shopping malls, for example Isetan. I also love Moga but I see on my piece that it’s made in China, maybe it’s designed in Japan and made in China… I also love Sou-sou and they have several boutiques in Japan.
I mention those brands just in case you love shopping for clothes and you want something more Japanese.
I cannot shop everywhere for clothes because of my size, but I like to get some clothes there because they are more unique or special in comparison to whatever I can find here, I am happy when I find something that fits.
I had the most amazing experience at the Moga counter, they were so kind to me, I loved the woman working there, she was over 60, very serious at the beginning but then when we started “talking”, we had the best time, she was so incredibly thoughtful. She seemed so happy to have someone shopping at her counter, I bought a cardigan and at the end we even exchanged business cards and she told me to please come back 😀
For the shoes, forget it, I wear size 41 so I have to shop at the men’s department 😀
Speaking of shoes, I wanted a Cole Haan pair of sneakers for more than a year but could never find them in my size. Just like that, in front of my hotel (the Tower Nagoya) I had a Cole Haan boutique! Of course I purchased those sneakers… at the men’s department!
I need to mention this Cole Haan shop because I have never met someone with such a happy soul and contagious laugh in my entire life. They were both amazing but the girl was out of this world.
As soon as the door opens, she welcomes you with such a joyful attitude, she laughs like there is only good and kindness in this world! What a wonderful encounter! I loved her!!
I had a wonderful time shopping in Japan, at the market, at the malls or even in luxury boutiques like Hermes! I needed a little scarf and was looking for something very specific, I stopped at Hermes Kyoto. They had exactly what I was looking for and on top of that I had the most amazing welcome. It was my first time at Hermes in Japan and I have never been welcomed like I was in Kyoto. I only bought the small scarf, I didn’t ask for anything else and I was going to leave but the two ladies sat with me and we chatted for over an hour. They were just happy to talk about Europe, about the current situation, about Japan, even about brushes! I was not expecting that! If you are wondering how you will be welcomed as a tourist, all I can say is that I am better welcomed in Japan than I am anywhere else in the world.
Sightseeing in Japan
During this trip, I only went to visit the Nagoya castle and Mt Fuji. It was very hot but the view of the Mt Fuji was extraordinary. It’s very rare to be able to see it so clearly. I have been told that the Mt Fuji is only visible 30% of the time in a year and that day was absolutely perfect!
I have received many questions asking me where to go and what to do in Japan. I actually don’t do a lot of sightseeing, I usually have 3 appointments per day, including lunch and dinner so there are many places I still haven’t had the chance to see.
If you love traditions, history, hands-on activities, hire a local guide, tell them what you love to do and ask them to take you to places of interest.
For example, you want to do a maki-e experience? you can! I did one some years ago, it was so affordable and lasted hours in an atelier making maki-e decorations together with an artisan, only him and me. It’s difficult to get to those places if you are on your own but if you get the help of a local guide, he or she can book those for you and then take you there, translate and you’ll have a wonderful time!
I also asked my guide to take me to museums (just give your interests to the guide and they will prepare your itinerary). It’s really worth it because those activities are difficult to find if you are on your own and you don’t speak Japanese.
I also visited a kimono manufacture and other interesting traditional manufactures.
Some years ago I did the Samurai experience, this was so awesome! A real samurai sword lesson and bamboo cutting followed by a meditation lesson, this experience is also worth every penny!
If you go to Hiroshima there are a lot of things to see and to do but I will recommend you to include Miyajima island, I went there several times and it’s breathtaking!
Of course if you are in Hiroshima, I imagine that you will go to Kumano and the Fudenosato Kobo museum. By the way, to go to Kumano from Hiroshima, take the train to Jano, then a taxi to Kumano, the entire trip is about 25 minutes. If you want a post dedicated to Kumano please let me know!
This time I was finally able to visit the area around Mt Fuji.
I booked a private tour, they picked me up at my hotel at 8am and I spent the whole day with someone driving me around in the Mt Fuji area. It costs approx 500 usd, I know it’s a lot but it’s worth it! You can share the fees if you travel with someone else but I was on my own. If the tour is private, you don’t need to rush, you can tell the guide to skip some places and spend more time at the lake or at the view point… they are trained and informed so if you tell them your preferences, they can adjust the trip and tell you about the history as you go along.
And since covid is around, you have the privacy of a car just for you (and your driver). This private tour of Mt Fuji was a very special gift to me and I enjoyed it to tears.
Think also about calligraphy experiences, food market experiences, there is so so much to do!
Tips for moving around
When I travel to Japan, I go for work and I have very little time in between my appointments, I have to be able to move fast, it takes some anticipation and preparation!
I travel with the Shinkansen between big cities, within the same city I will use either a taxi, the underground or the bus, but I also walk a lot!
You may be able to request the JR train pass, it’s interesting if you are planning to move from city to city, this is something to prepare before arriving in Japan.
The hotels I stay in are usually next to the station and I always stay in the same ones, I know what services they have, for example organise my luggage transfer between cities, or book an early trip to the airport.
Note: due to covid and the lack of visitors, the bus transfer service to the airport was not available at my usual hotel, but they could organise an early taxi (for approx 200 usd).
It’s good to know that if you wish to or need to, you can organise a luggage transfer from the airport to your destination hotel or from hotel to hotel. I find this service absolutely amazing, I have been using it for years. Just keep in mind it may take up to 24 hours for the luggage to reach the destination. If for example I am transfering from Hiroshima to Tokyo, I send it on a Tuesday morning or early afternoon and it arrives on the Wednesday, it doesn’t need to be the same hotel chain although I don’t know if all hotels can do it for you. This service is amazing because it means that during my trip from Hiroshima to Tokyo, I can stop at Kyoto or Osaka or Nagoya, even spend the night there if I want to visit and then the day after continue to Tokyo and my big luggage will be waiting for me at my hotel. I just need to make sure I have a small bag with me with changing clothes and my make-up bag.
Luggage transfer is not a free service obviously, but the added flexibility and the comfort are really worth it!
I don’t have specific recommendations for hotels, I always use the same ones so if you need more info on this topic you can ask me in the comments below.
I tried a new hotel in Nagoya since it was my first time in Nagoya.
The Tower Nagoya, I understood that it has only 11 rooms, it is a TV tower but since 2020 it’s also a hotel. As a guest you have private access to the view point during closing hours, you just call the reception and they take you to the top of the tower. Actually they put you alone in the elevator and say “bye bye”. Just so you know, it moves with the wind.
I think it’s ideal for a romantic stay and there are many restaurants around it.
I had the traditional Japanese breakfast there. It’s a long menu with several courses. It takes as much time as a dinner! Definitely try it but make sure you allow yourself enough time to enjoy the whole process!
I also had the traditional Japanese breakfast in a different hotel in Kyoto. It was as long as a 10 course dinner and I had to leave after 80 minutes because I was going to miss my train, but I don’t think all Japanese breakfasts are that long. Just be aware that it is very special and can take a very long time.
Other fun tips or little things to know
You can research more about each topic on Youtube for example but here are my tips and little random recommendations!
- Japanese love punctuality, always be on time or better, early. 10 minutes early or more is what I found to be the best for my meetings.
- Taxis may not always be available, or maybe there is a long wait… specially when raining. Maybe there are several queues, a tourist queue and the normal queue, this is for English speaking drivers. It might be extremely helpful to print or show your destination address written in Japanese. I always have a cheatsheet with the Japanese addresses or a business card of the destination.
- Some company buildings don’t have the floor details or company names written in English, maybe get an app that can visually translate like google. Also, if the people you are meeting tell you: “take the red elevator, get out at the second floor, turn right, walk two steps, turn right, take the purple stairs, walk 55.4 meters, look for a green sign, etc etc”, and it goes on for a while, actually this is not a joke, if you don’t follow the exact instructions, you will not find the place!
- Train stations may be HUGE, by the time you find your exit and meeting point, maybe it has been half an hour… I am horrible with orientation but even if you are good, keep in mind that stations are huge.
- GPS can help you so much, however, keep in mind there are several pedestrian levels in big cities, even roads on several levels too, so it can be very very confusing for the GPS… I use Japan-Wireless to rent my wifi access and they also provide an extra power bank. It’s flawless. I pick up the Wifi devices upon arrival at the airport so that I have a data connection permanently during my trip.
- If you take a picture, you need the sound of the camera to be on!
- Hand your money holding it with two hands, side up.
- Business cards are very important, you can exchange them holding them with two hands and receiving them with two hands and you are supposed to read it (if you can) and place it on the table by rank position…. not in your pocket.
- Don’t blow your nose in public, or do it discretely and not loudly
- At the restaurant, put your face mask inside the paper enveloppe that they hand to you
- At the shops, if you are trying some clothes, take your shoes off before entering the changing room
- Don’t swatch beauty products before asking, usually we cannot swatch with our fingers but we need to use sponges or sponge applicators
- It’s useful to know what not to do at the restaurant, for example with chopstiks, maybe watching a video can be interesting
- Phones are always silent there and it’s recommended to not talk loudly whether you are at the restaurant or on your phone
- Everytime you buy something at a shop they will ask you “would you like to pay once?” This is because Japanese can pay in several times and the sales assistants always need to ask this question.
Just answer “just once”
- Learn 7 basic words (excuse-me, good morning, thank you, yes, no, this, please), you can learn more of course but these are the minimum
Japan is very safe, really, however, don’t follow strangers. There are scams by foreigners so stay alert. They tried to scam me during this trip when I was in Kabukicho, I ignored the guy but he insisted and followed me shouting me to stop. I went to Japan many many times and it only happened to me once.
You can sleep in the train, with your wallet on your table and you should be able to wake up and it’s still find it there, I wouldn’t do it just in case but I did sleep in the train and I even rested my head on a stranger! When I woke up he gave me a sweet and he smiled… quite funny and embarrassing.
It was sad to see how empty everything was, how many shops and places were closed. For example when I was at Mt Fuji, the guide told me that before covid, the place was totally crowded, to get lunch you had to wait so so long in the queue and in June we had no queues at all. The guide also told me it was difficult to survive during these two years, locals have a car to go visit Mt Fuji or go places, they don’t need to be driven there, they won’t need a guide. That’s also why I wanted to do the trip and try to help. I could book the trip with no wait but prepare your trip with time just in case it gets more crowded.
Covid measures in Japan
The masks were required everywhere at the time of my visit in June, inside and outside although I think that if you could keep a distance of 2 meters you could take it off outside but I am not even sure. Only a few people were not wearing it outside.
There are temperature checks when entering the shops or restaurants and also at the museums or places of interest. Those checks are done with machines not with someone holding a device and pointing at you.
If you are wondering about the ventilation inside the hotel rooms, for the ones I visited it was always between 550 and 900 co2. The shops and restaurants were always very well ventilated.
I don’t know if Japan will reopen as usual soon or if the restrictions will be lifted enough for an easier entry. The regulations are mentioned here on their website but it’s a bit heavy to understand. In case you need some clarifications, it’s a good idea to ask your local Japanese consulate as they should be able to send you the exact information of the requirements.
I hope this post was helpful, Japan is not so expensive, specially at the moment because of the weak yen so it was an opportunity for me to try a more expensive hotel, a bit more shopping than usual. What I loved the most was seeing my friends, spending time with the artisans and working on the future projects.
Visiting Mount Fuji in person was breathtaking, this was such an emotional day, I will go again but next time I will try to get closer.