Tsuruoka City,

The Blog

【COVID-19】How Tsuruoka is answering the crisis

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

Local shops, grandmas and housewives spend their days sewing handmade masks to sell (©大滝正博)

The national emergency state has been declared for all 47 prefectures of Japan on April 17th.

Even if the Japanese government doesn't have the legislative power to enforce a lockdown on its population, the local Japanese administrations are currently struggling to put in place measures to prevent the spread of infection. In other words, it is up to each prefecture and/or municipality to decide what measure is best against the spread of the new coronavirus in their own region.

Even though Tsuruoka's measures were quite light (not to say nonexistent) at first, the city's approach of the coronavirus situation got more serious since the first infection cases inside the city on April 5th. According the most recent information, there is a total of 7 persons infected with COVID-19 in Tsuruoka.

Tsuruoka's measures are still evolving through time, but here is a recap of all the actions taken by Tsuruoka's administration, up to this day.

Closure of closed-space tourist attractions

Kamo Aquarium

The world number one jellyfish aquarium has announced its temporary closure on April 6th until May 6th (date of reopening subject to change). In order to still let people enjoy the aquarium's creatures beauty, Kamo has launched a live video service (10:30-15:50) on Youtube of its giant blue jelly tanks, and uploads several videos of the recently born baby seals on its Facebook page every day.

Kamo Aquarium's Facebook page: click here

Museums, art galleries closed

Taihokan Museum (closed)

Needless to say, Tsuruoka's museums such as Chidô Museum, Chidôkan clan school, and art galleries like Art Forum have been closed until further notice.

Measures in shrines and temples

Shonai Shrine's miko servants wearing cloth masks

While most temples and shrines are still opened for visits, shrines like Shonai-jinja decided to stop the sale of lucky charms, prayer tablets or any other goods since April 20th.

Still, most of the religious establishments refuse to close their doors so people are not prevented from practicing their faith. In order to limit the number of visitors coming directly to the shrine, Shonai-jinja started a goshuin (religious stamps collected in a booklet) delivery service. The goshuin will be delivered by postal services for the recipient to paste in his booklet.

Cancellation, modification of events

List of the main events/festivals that got cancelled :

  • (April 18-19th) Ohanami chakai (cherry-blossoms sightseeing event)

  • (April 18-19th) Wagashi cakes workshop

  • Cancellation of food stands and game booths during Tsuruoka Park's sakura festival

  • Cancellation of the sakura light-up event

  • (April 19th) 35th Atsumi Sakura Marathon

  • (May 2nd-3rd) Fujishima no Hana Matsuri (Wisteria flowers festival)

  • (May 17th) Children day festival

  • (May 25th) Tenjin Matsuri

  • (May 31st) Takitaro Festival

  • (June 5th) Oyama Dog Festival

  • (August 15th) Shonai Taisai

Structural adjustment, administrative measures

  • Financial support system for business who suffered a profit loss (jp source)

  • Granting paid special leaves for city employees who have symptoms for self-isolation until symptoms disappear

  • Submission to a PCR test the city employees who have self-isolated for more than 4 days and still have symptoms

  • Closure of all buildings with high transmission probability (public gyms, onsens, public reception halls...)

  • Closure of schools until May 7th

Local movements


  • Restaurants developing take-out menus and/or organizing special deliveries

Flyer of restaurants creating their own delivery services

  • Clothing stores selling handmade masks

  • Tsuruoka Silk selling masks made with Samurai Silk (jp source) for 1980 yens each. (jp source)

  • Groceries shops proposing home-delivery services

Handwritten flyer of a vegetable store delivering goods


Advertisement campaign for meal deliveries
  • Movements to increase the buying of take-out meals to support local restaurants (city office employees ordering lunch boxes...) (jp source)


DEGAM Tsuruoka Tourism Bureau (General Incorporated Association)

Adresse: 3-1 Suehiromachi, MARICA East Building, 2nd floor, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0015, JAPAN

TEL: (+81) 0235-26-1218

E-mail: tsuruoka@degam.jp

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