5 Tips For A Successful COVID-19 Staycation in Japan
At the end of July, we had a Tokyo Bay staycation at Hiyori Hotel Maihama. Now, a staycation won’t solve any worries about the coronavirus pandemic. But, a staycation can certainly serve as a refreshing budget holiday when you’re in need of respite from korona tsukare. (コロナ疲れ | the mental fatigue you feel due to an excess of coronavirus-related news and social restrictions.) Here’s how we made the most of our stay at Hiyori Hotel Maihama with 5 tips for a successful COVID-19 Staycation in Japan.
Disclaimer: This post contains affliate links. Accomodation provided by Hiyori Hotel Maihama.
The Coronavirus Situation in Japan
There have been plenty of changes since the COVID pandemic hit Japan. I chronicled the first month of COVID in Tokyo in this post. Since then, I have found it difficult to update with follow-up posts, mainly because there is little coordination or cohesion between prefectural governments and Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet.
On June 19, weeks after Japan’s State of Emergency was lifted, we were free to move freely between prefectures. I finally rescheduled postponed work opportunities and planned some domestic travel.
And then, at the beginning of July, Tokyo saw an increase in COVID infections. The daily number of those infected peaked right under 500 and now hover around 200 people daily.
Needless to say, words like “quarantine” and “social distancing” remain part of our vocabulary as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread. However, I am trying to make the most of the time off from work by mommy-daughter bonding and homeschooling my girl. (I’m also working on a HUGE beauty project that will be announced in a few weeks!)
I still have yet to venture into Tokyo proper, though I do make frequent trips to Ibaraki to attend to family matters. This staycation came at the right time because we all needed the break.
5 Tips For A Successful COVID-19 Staycation in Japan
When I rescheduled our Hotel Hiyori Maihama staycation for late July, I didn’t expect the numbers of persons in Tokyo infected with COVID-19 to rise sharply to record-breaking numbers. It was important for us to minimize the risk of transmission in the weeks leading up to our stay. We also stayed on guard while on the premises in order to avoid the “3 Cs.” (3密 | san mitsu closed spaces, crowded places, close contact)
1. Plan Your Staycation
Celebrating a birthday? Are you looking to reconnect with nature with a dip in an outdoor bath? Want to savor a freshly brewed cup of drip coffee as you watch the sunrise over your campgrounds? How about a kid-friendly nighttime pool party in the city?
Whatever your purpose, there’s no doubt that the ultimate goal of your staycation is to take a break, so, try not to add to your stress by creating a complicated itinerary.
In my case, I just wanted a break from housework and homeschooling with something simple! We stayed in a twin room that had a mini-gekann, sliding partitions, and tatami-like flooring (migusa). The separate toilet really solidified the “at home” experience!
During the day, we made use of the hotel lounge (and self-service drink machines!) for storytime.
At night, we took advantage of the POLA skincare products and “swag drawers” in the lobby to pamper ourselves while singing along to Dragons: Rescue Riders: Secrets of the Songwing at night.
2. Stay Local
We still abide by a 5km travel radius when planning outings, except for family emergencies. Luckily for us, being near Tokyo Bay with Tokyo Disney Resort in our backyard, we have plenty of options like official Disney hotels and partner hotels like the Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay.
Slightly outside this radius is Hotel Hiyori Maihama, a mid-range boutique hotel that has locations in several major Japanese cities.
Catering to the Tokyo Disney Resort crowd, Hiyori Hotel Maimama is primarily for families looking for an intimate, relaxing at-home accommodation away from the bustle around Maihama Station.
The hotel is also popular with international visitors. In fact, you can browse its website in English and simplified and traditional Chinese, and there is multilingual support and signage onsite.
3. Check Your Dining Options
At one point during your staycation, you will need to eat!
Whether you will dine on premises, eat out, or opt for a bento meal, be sure to plan what and where you and your family will eat in order to avoid the 3Cs as much as possible.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Hiyori Hotel Maimama got rid of its breakfast buffet. In its place, they offered a bento meal with very generous portions that even included dessert!
Curiously, the hotel also had an instant ramen table for guests to help themselves freely after 9 PM.
Being in Maihama, we opted to pick up boxed bento meals at Supermarket Seijo and doughnuts from Krispy Kreme, both located inside Ikspiari. (I’ve been to Ikspiari plenty of times, and so I knew I could make my purchases and be out in less than 15 minutes.)
4. Reduce Your COVID-19 Transmission Risk
Hotels across Japan are doing their best to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All staff at Hotel Hiyori Maihama wore masks and there were bottles of antibacterial hand gel on practically every table in the lobby. I also saw housekeeping wiping down surfaces several times throughout my stay. Lastly, each room had air purifiers.
Hotel Hiyori Maihama asks guests to limit elevator use to one group at a time and to use the stairs when possible. The hotel also marked off tables in the dining area to enforce social distancing between guests.
While this was very reassuring, I made sure to bring my own supply of antibacterial wipes and gel, masks, disinfectant sprays, and so on.
5. Do Your Research
In July, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government created “COVID-19 safety stickers” to denote places that are preventing the spread of COVID-19 (source). Other prefectures followed suit, and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor also came up with their own version.
The problem is there is no regulatory body checking to make sure if proper measures are actually being enforced on the premises. (As seen with the “sticker fiasco” earlier this week in Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward — a night club bearing the sticker ended up being a cluster site. Source.)
When going out during this pandemic, we can’t rely solely on placards and stickers. Be sure to do your research when choosing your Japan staycation accommodation.
Earlier this month, Tripadvisor awarded Hiyori Hotel Maihama a 2020 Travelers’ Choice Award and it is ranked as the top hotel in the Maihama/Urayasu/Funabashi/Makuhari area on Rakuten Travel.
Our staycation was originally scheduled for March but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Staff at Hiyori Hotel Maihama remained in contact with me for several months with updates about when things would be operational. These gestures made me feel welcome, and I appreciated the staff’s warm hospitality and omotenashi.
Hiyori Hotel Maihama
2-25-8 Higashino, Urayasu-shi, Chiba Prefecture, 279-0042