Machu Picchu Bucket List: The Japanese tourist stranded in Peru finally gets to visit

Machu Picchu Bucket List: The Japanese tourist stranded in Peru finally gets to visit

(CNN) – Like many travelers around the world, Jesse Katayama found his dream trip frustrated by the spread of Covid-19.

But after seven unexpected months to stay in PeruKatayama finally passes through, “the visit.” Machu Picchu“Off his wishlist – and enjoy being the only tourist there.”
Katayama, a native Osaka, Japan, to Aguas Calientes – the city from which most people begin the Machu Picchu expeditions – on March 14th.

He already had his ticket and permission to enter the UNESCO World Heritage site on March 16, but that was when the Peruvian government chose to close the site. Katayamawas stranded.

Since then, the 26-year-old boxing coach Katayama has become a local of Aguas Calientes, having rented a small room for the past seven months.

Although the border closures prevented him from visiting other countries in South America, he made the most of his experience by exploring local attractions such as Mount Putucusi and Calientes Waterfalls. He even taught boxing lessons to some local kids and made friends in his occasional new hometown.

Katayama told CNN that his goal was to open his boxing hall when he returned to Osaka, so he used the lockdown period to practice his moves.

“I go running every morning and I can see Machu Picchu from afar,” Katayama told CNN. “I thought I would never reach Machu Picchu since I was expecting it not to open during the year. But I was okay with that because I had a great time here.”

However, when the money began to run out, it seemed like Takayama would have to return home Japan Without using his Machu Picchu ticket.
Enter Andean Peruvian roots, A local tour company. With help from the National Ministry of Culture, Takayama was granted special permission to enter Machu Picchu – and get to the usually busy site almost to himself. He was accompanied by two photographers who documented the experience, and Jose Pastante, head of the site.

In a celebratory post on Instagram, Katayama wrote: “I thought I had never come (to Machu Picchu) but everyone asked the government and the city and played with me a very special permission.” He added: “The Peruvians are very kind. Thank you very much!”

He told CNN that he will leave Peru for Japan on October 16. As he prepares to return home, he says goodbye to the townspeople who have become friends with him over the past months. Several local children drew Katayama pictures and made a doll out of toilet paper rolls for him.

“I will definitely cry,” he says of his farewell to Aguas Calientes. “These seven months were very special for me. I discovered a new part of me.”

“The Japanese citizen entered with the president of our park so that he could do so before returning to his country,” Peruvian Culture Minister Alejandro Nera told reporters.

Neira added that there are plans to reopen Machu Picchu to visitors at 30% capacity, but did not specify an exact date.

CNN’s Yuko Wakatsuki contributed to this report.

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