Machu Picchu reopens for one single Japanese tourist

Machu Picchu reopens for one single Japanese tourist

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Jesse Katayama received a special permit from Peru’s ministry of culture

Machu Picchu is without a doubt one of the most desirable destinations for tourists. Jesse Katayama’s dream of visiting had been delayed by seven months due to the coronavirus pandemic and now it finally reopened just for him.

The 26-year-old Japanese tourist bought a ticket to the Incan city back in March, only days before the country declared a state of emergency and closed its borders. He planned his visit for 16 March and it wasn’t until Sunday, 11 October that he finally set foot on the pre-Columbian site located 8,000 feet (over 2,400 meters) high in the Andes Mountains.

He had a chance to visit the site just days before his departure back home


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After months of waiting, his story reached a local tourism authority and thanks to the help of its employees, Katayama was able to obtain a special permit from Peru’s ministry of culture. 

“He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter,” said Alejandro Neyra, Peru’s culture minister. “The Japanese citizen has entered together with our head of the park so that he can do this before returning to his country.”

Katayama was accompanied to the site only by two photographers and the director of Machu Picchu. Afterward, he wrote on his Instagram: “After the lockdown, the first man to visit Machu Picchu is meeeeeee,” and added a photo of himself and a park representative.

Having only originally planned to spend a few days in the area, Katayama rented a small apartment and allegedly filled his days doing yoga, teaching boxing to local children, and studying up on fitness and nutrition. His return ticket to Japan is for 16 October.

The Unesco-heritage site is set to be reopened in November, although a specific date hasn’t been announced yet. The authorities will allow in just under 700 people a day or about 30 percent of the usual capacity while ensuring that visitors keep socially distant.

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