Arrival in Japan - Quarantine - Student Interview
The Government of Japan announced the easing of restrictions on October 1st, 2020 for new residents including International Students. Since then, NUCB Undergraduate School has welcomed students from 12 different countries to our Nisshin/Nagakute Campus.
Three students (Jenny from South Korea, Thanya from India, and Romain from France) who came to Japan share their experiences about the preparation, arrival in Japan, and Quarantine.
* Update, the current residence track is suspended during the state of emergency by the Government of Japan. Updates to follow.
Where did you fly from/to (which airports)? Was it easy to find a flight?
Jenny (J): I took the plane from Incheon in Seoul to Osaka in Japan. Actually, in my case, there was only one flight a week to Japan by either Korean Air or Asiana Airlines.
Thanya (T): I flew from Chennai International Airport to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. From there I took the flight to Narita International Airport. It was quite easy finding a flight to Tokyo however the dates offered by Indian airlines were limited.
Romain (R): I flew from CGD airport in France to Haneda airport in Japan. Despite the national lockdown in France, there were daily flights to Japan, with several airlines, so there was no problem finding a flight.
How was the trip and arrival in Japan? How different was it from usual?
J: The process of going through immigration was a little more complicated than usual.
T: The trip to Japan was extremely comfortable. The airport officials at Narita were very friendly and helped me throughout the process, from taking the COVID test to completing the immigration. The only difference from the usual travel is that there were several precautions that needed to be taken because of the ongoing pandemic.
R: The flight was almost empty and therefore very relaxing and enjoyable. The arrival in Japan went well and the airport was quiet. This is my first trip to Japan, but I guess it's more hectic in normal times.
How long did it take to complete the procedures at the airport (immigration, PCR, etc.)?
J: Currently, several countries, including South Korea, do not have to conduct PCR tests when entering Japan. So my entry process took less than those who have to take a PCR test, but it still took three times longer than usual.
T: It took me a total of one hour to complete all the procedures at the airport. The COVID test method chosen by the airport was the ‘saliva test’ hence it did not take much time for the results to arrive.
R: It took around 1h/1h30 to complete the procedures, still in a very peaceful atmosphere.
Where did you complete the quarantine (location, type of accommodation)? How did you find it?
J: I quarantined at a hotel in Namba, Osaka. Before I made a reservation, I asked the hotel if I could quarantine in there by email. Some hotels had refused to quarantine, so be sure to ask the hotel in advance before making a reservation. I searched for all the hotels through "AGODA". Each hotel has different price points and different locations and services, so it was easy to compare through the site and because members could get a discount, I was able to quarantine at a relatively low price.
T: I chose to stay at The Richmond Hotel in Narita which was around ten minutes by car from the airport. I compared various hotels online and found Richmond to be the most convenient place to stay in terms of food availability, location, and comfort.
R: I did my quarantine at m-1 Hotel Tokyo, 3km from Haneda Airport. I found it on booking.com. It was quite easy since hotels are currently empty, and booking allows us to search for hotels that accept quarantine travelers.
Was it difficult to complete the requirements set by the government (PCR, documents, visa, quarantine, health report, etc.)?
J: I don't think you need to worry if you read the emails and materials carefully about the necessary documents provided by NUCB. However, since the documents required to be filled out on the plane are a little more complicated than usual, I would advise to search Google for 'Japanese Corona Arrivals' and then fill out the documents at home.
T: It was not difficult to complete the Japanese government’s requirements as they were similar to the standard protocol found around the world. There was nothing to worry about in particular.
R: It was a little difficult, especially the PCR test which was very hard to get in time.
What kind of information did you wish you had before leaving your home country?
J: In fact, since everyone's situation is different, other media (Facebook, YouTube) was not very helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via the university!
T: I was given all the information I needed from the University including the requirements, hotel options, and contact details. It was extremely helpful in my preparation for quarantine in Japan.
R: The guides prepared by the university were helpful and the staff was attentive to my questions. I also searched for some questions on the internet & Facebook groups.
Since you cannot use public transportation, how did you get from the airport to your accommodation?
J: Luckily I have a family member living in Osaka. So, they picked me up at Kansai International Airport, and they took me to the hotel. You can also reserve a corona-dedicated taxi called ‘Haiya’ on the Internet in advance, and although the price is a little expensive, you can conveniently transfer from the airport to the hotel.
T: Fortunately for me, my relative in India was also traveling to Japan at the same time, so they dropped me off at the hotel in their rented vehicle.
R: I used a shuttle bus from Haneda airport to a station near the hotel. I didn’t book anything, staff from the airport were guiding people to the bus stop, they don’t speak English but by printing the address of the hotel with the map it was easy to make them understand where I wanted to go.
How did you get food during your quarantine period?
J: I bought lunch boxes or cup noodles at convenience stores and even bought Takoyaki (Octopus Balls!) in front of the hotel but the one I used most often was 'Uber Eats'. It was very convenient because I could have what I wanted to eat by delivering it to the hotel. However, although the delivery cost was a little expensive, it seems to be the best way for us who are on the quarantining.
T: Richmond hotel had a quarantine food plan where they gave me a menu to choose my breakfast, lunch, and dinner from. After circling the options that I wanted, I had to leave the slip of paper outside my door a day prior. The meals were then left outside the door during the appropriate meal times. When I did not want to have hotel food, I went to the Lawson store right below the hotel to buy a meal.
R: I would go grocery shopping (mostly prepared meals or take-out at restaurants) or I would have it delivered to my hotel (uber eats).
How did you spend your time during the quarantine period?
J: I was busy doing assignments while quarantining, but on weekends or days when there was no class, I spent time coloring books or watching movies on Netflix.
T: I spent most of my quarantine time attending classes and completing my assignments.
R: Apart from the courses and homework, I spent time binge-watching series, movies, documentaries, or playing games. I also have responded to plenty of emails.
※The students arrived during the semester and were taking online courses.
How much did it cost (approximately)?
J: It cost about 160,000 JPY (~1,500 USD) for 15 nights and 16 days with the hotel and food expenses combined.
T: The entire quarantine cost around 170,000 JPY (~1,600 USD) including the food, stay, and luggage delivery service.
R: The hotel cost around 500 Euro for 15 days & food cost around 200 Euro (~850 USD). Tokyo-> Nagoya by bus cost me 25 Euro.