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Peru’s Manchu Pinchu Reopens for One Stranded Tourist Who Waited Seven Months to See It

Ann Moises

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  • Jesse Katayama, a boxing instructor from Okinawa, Japan, has been stranded in Peru for several months.
  • He bought a ticket to visit Manchu Pinchu on March 16. However, the country was placed on lockdown because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • After seven months, with help from a local tour company and Peru’s National Ministry of Culture, he was granted access to the ruins.
  • Manchu Pinchu is not officially open to the public yet.

Jesse Katayama travelled to Peru and arrived in Aguas Calientes on March 14. He bought an entry ticket and had a permit to enter the famous Manchu Pinchu in two days. However, like most countries prioritizing the health and safety of their people, the Peruvian government closed the site on March 16 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

That left the 26-year-old man from Okinawa, Japan stranded for seven months in the town, where he only intended to stay for a few days. He started renting a small apartment there.

Despite the set-back, Katayama made the most out of his prolonged, unexpected stay. He met new friends and has been teaching boxing to local kids. Moreover, he explored local attractions within the area. Katayama went to see the Putucusi Mountain and the Calientes Waterfalls since border restrictions prevented him from visiting other Southern American countries.

Katayama also used the lockdown period to practice his moves. The Japanese national intends to open his own boxing gym when he returns home.

In an interview with CNN he said, “I go to run every morning and I could see Machu Picchu afar in distance. I thought I would never make it to Machu Picchu as I was expecting it won’t open within this year. but I was OK with it because I had a great time here.”

With the help of local tour company Andean Roots Peru and the National Ministry of Culture, he was finally able visit Manchu Pinchu.
Photo : Jesse Katayama via Instagram

According to the Metro, Culture Minister Alejandro Neyra said Katayama submitted a special request to enter the ruins. Neyra said he was allowed “so that he could do this before returning to his country.”

Katayama finally visited the ancient Incan citadel after waiting for seven months.
Photo : Marisol Delgado
Two photographers and the site’s chief Jose Bastante accompanied him, with the former helping to document the special moment.
Photo: Marisol Delgado

“I thought I never make it (to Machu Picchu) but everyone asked the government and thef town and they game me super special permission,” Katayama posted on Instagram. “Peruvians are soooo kind. Thank you soooo much!”

Katamaya is bound for Japan on October 16. He knows that leaving the people who have grown close to him for months will make him emotional.

“I will definitely cry,” he told CNN. “These seven months have been very special to me. I have discovered a new part of me.”

Manchu Pinchu is still closed to the public. Peru’s Minister of Culture Alejandro Neyra plans to reopen the site soon at 30% capacity but gave no specific date yet.

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