Entry to Oze park from Fukushima temporarily banned on coronavirus fears

The Fukushima Prefecture village of Hinoemata has extended a voluntary ban on the use of local facilities and services until June 30 to fend off the coronavirus epidemic, effectively shutting down local access to Oze National Park, which straddles four prefectures. According to the Oze-Hinoemata Tourism Association, the Miike parking lot, a gateway to sightseeing spots in the park such as the Ozenuma pond and Ozegahara marshland, will remain closed and the shuttle bus service between Miike and the Numayama pass will likely be suspended, preventing entry to the Oze area from the Fukushima side during the period. Initially, the village-imposed ban was supposed to be in place until May 22. “In our small village consisting of only one hamlet, even the occurrence of a single case could trigger mass infections and ruin the community,” said a village official. “As villagers’ health and lives are above anything else, we have decided to extend the ban.” Main village facilities for which the voluntary ban is in place: Michi-no-eki (roadside station) Oze-Hinoemata, Oze-Hinoemata Yamatabi (mountain trip) tourist information center (parking space/restrooms open to public use), lodging facilities (inns, “minshuku” guest houses, camping sites), eateries (“Restaurant Mizubasho” inside the roadside station, take-out service only), public facilities (spa facilities, Mini Oze Park, Kabuki Densho-kan (tradition hall), Hinoemata Village History Folk Museum, Miike parking lot) (Translated by Kyodo News)