Peru Opens Machu Picchu for Japanese Man Stranded by Coronavirus

Jesse Katayama, 26, was planning to visit Machu Picchu during his trip to Peru in March, before the World Heritage Site was closed because of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Instagram/Jesse Katayama

Authorities in Peru last week opened Machu Picchu on the request of a single Japanese tourist who had waited almost seven months to visit the famous Inca ruins.

Jesse Katayama, 26, was planning to visit Machu Picchu during his trip to Peru in March, before the World Heritage Site was closed because of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.

When the pandemic struck, Katayama was left stranded in the town of Aguas Calientes, near Machu Picchu, because of government-imposed travel restrictions.

After waiting seven months to fulfill his wish of visiting the site, Katayama sent a letter to Culture Minister Alejandro Neyra asking whether he could grant him special access to the site given his unfortunate circumstances.

In a video recorded during his visit, Katayama thanked the Peruvian government for a “truly amazing” tour of the ancient ruins. “After the lockdown, the first man to visit Machu Picchu is meeeeeee,” he wrote in an Instagram post that included photos of his tour.

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来週!ついに! マチュピチュ村を出る!!! 7ヶ月おったで〜 出発の日多分泣くわ笑 監禁中に ・ヨガインストラクター ・スポーツフードスペシャリスト ・筋トレインストラクター ・トレーニングサポーター の資格は取った! ・ダイエット検定1・2級 ・スポーツ医学検定1・2・3級 ・フィットネスクラブマネジメント3級 ・簿記3級 ・キッズスポーツインストラクター ・NSCA-CPT パーソナルトレーナー は11月に試験!内容は全部完璧! 本もいっぱい読んだ! マチュピチュ村でこんな勉強したやつ絶対におらん こんだけマチュピチュ村おって マチュピチュ行ってないやつも絶対におらん #健康ヲタク

A post shared by Jesse Katayama (@jessekatayama) on

Peruvian culture minister, Alejandro Neyra, said in a news conference on Monday that the visit was granted in recognition of his patience.

“He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter,” he told a virtual news conference. “The Japanese citizen has entered together with our head of the park so that he can do this before returning to his country.”

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マチュピチュキタァァァァァァァァァァァァァァァァァァ‼️‼️‼️ この前の新聞見てくれて 「頑張って」「応援してる」 「なんでも頼って」 「マチュピチュの俺の家タダで使ってええよ」 「マチュピチュ開いたらタダでガイドしたる」 「マチュピチュ村の村長に行ける様に言っとくわ」 ペルーの人達、ペルーに住んでる日本の人達から沢山メッセージもらいました😂 もう行けへんやろなと思ってたけど、皆さんが村長、政府に頼んでくれて 超特別に行かせてもらった👏🏽笑 ペルーの人達みんな優しすぎるぅ〜くぅ〜 本当にありがとうございます!! 村長と一緒にマチュピチュいった人今までおらんやろ笑 閉鎖後、1番最初にマチュピチュ行った地球人は俺だぁぁぁぁぁ🔥🔥🔥 #世界一周 #バックパッカー #27ヵ国目 #ペルー #マチュピチュ #貸し切り #村長のガイド付き #村長ごっつ男前 #トムクルーズ似なんよ #ミッションインポッシブルなんよ #peru #machupicchu #lastsamurai

A post shared by Jesse Katayama (@jessekatayama) on

In an interview with Peruvian broadsheet La República titled “The Last Tourist in Machu Picchu,” Katayama revealed that he stayed in Peru “with the sole purpose of getting to know this wonder and didn’t want to leave without doing so.”

As a 15th-century Inca citadel located in southern Peru, Machu Picchu receives well over a million visitors each year. The site has been shut since the beginning of the pandemic and is expected to reopen next month at a reduced capacity. One benefit of its closure is that it has given the area time to recover from the environmental impact of taking in so many visitors on a yearly basis.
Despite imposing strict lockdown measures, Peru is one of the countries most severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, recording the eight-highest number of cases worldwide despite its population of just 32 million people. Even more significant is its per capita death rate, the highest in the world, average at over 1,000 deaths per million people.

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