Jesse Katayama biography: 13 things about Machu Picchu visitor from Japan during COVID-19 pandemic

Jesse Katayama is a Japanese man who loves travelling and boxing. During the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, he was stranded in Peru.

Katayama made headlines when he became the first foreign tourist to enter the Inca citadel Machu Picchu in Cusco, Peru since the South American country closed its border on March 16, 2020 due to the pandemic. Here are 13 more things about him:


  1. He is a native of Osaka, Japan.
  2. He lived in Nara, Japan.
  3. In April 2013, he enrolled at the Osaka University of Commerce in Higashiosaka City, Osaka.
  4. He worked in Australia particularly in Cairns and Perth. He discovered his passion for boxing in the Oceanian country.
  5. While in Australia in 2019, he had a dangerous Dengue fever. He had to go back to Japan to recover. After recovering, he worked in a gym in Japan.
  6. On March 14, 2020, he arrived in Cusco from La Paz, Bolivia and from Cusco, he arrived in Aguas Calientes, Peru. He had an entrance ticket to the Machu Picchu scheduled for March 16, 2020 and planned to stay there for three days only.
  7. On March 16, 2020, Peru closed its border so did the Machu Picchu. It marked his first day as a stranded tourist in Aguas Calientes during the COVID-19 pandemic. He postponed his departure several times because he did not want to leave without visiting the Inca citadel. It made him the town’s last tourist during the pandemic.
  8. He rented a small apartment there and attended yoga classes taught by the owner of the apartment. He gave boxing classes to local children and volunteered in philanthropic activities. He could not speak Spanish but fortunately, he was able to speak to locals through English, which is commonly spoken in the town since it is a tourist destination. He tried to live as a local and not as a tourist so he could save money, he told La Republica, which published an article about him on October 4, 2020. Many Peruvians who read the article encouraged him through online messages.
  9. On October 7, 2020, an acquaintance of the owner of the apartment he was renting in Aguas Calientes posted a Facebook video about him.
  10. On October 9, 2020, he was contacted by Machu Picchu officials and he explained to them his situation. Cusco allowed him to be the first foreign tourist to enter the Inca citadel since the COVID-19 pandemic started. It was scheduled to reopen in November 2020 allowing only 30 percent of its capacity, according to Peru’s minister of culture Alejandro Neyra, who issued the special permit for him.
  11. In the morning of October 10, 2020, he visited Machu Picchu with Jose Bastante, the manager of the archaeological park.
  12. He had to return to Japan by the end of October 2020 with a plan to go back to Machu Picchu in the future, he told Keiko Harada.
  13. He was 26 years old when he lived in Peru in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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