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Machu Picchu reopened for lone tourist who was stranded in Peru because of COVID-19

Machu Picchu reopens for single tourist
Machu Picchu reopens for single tourist 00:51

A tourist from Japan who traveled to Peru in March was finally able to see what he went there for – after seven months of waiting. Peru's culture ministry reopened Machu Picchu for the man, who got to explore the ancient attraction that's been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

When Jesse Katayama traveled to Peru he had planned to spend a few days there to see Machu Picchu, BBC News reports. However, two days before he planned on visiting the Inca citadel, it was shut down, and he was stranded due to virus travel restrictions.

He later decided to stay in Peru hoping he'd be able to visit the site, and lived in a rented apartment for months, The New York Times reports. To pass time, Katayama, who dreams of opening a boxing gym, studied for fitness and sports nutrition certification exams. He also did yoga and taught kids in Peru how to box, the Times reported.

Last week, Katayama was finally able to fulfill his dream of seeing Machu Picchu. 

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Jesse Katayama, a tourist from Japan, has been in Peru since March. He was finally able to visit Machu Picchu on Saturday, when special permission was granted to him.  Reuters

After submitting a special request, Katayama was allowed to enter with the head of the park so he could see it before finally returning home, Culture Minister Alejandro Neyra said during a virtual press conference on Monday, according to BBC News.

"He had come to Peru with the dream of being able to enter," Neyra said.

During his unprecedented visit, Katayama appeared in a video on top of Machu Picchu mountain. "This tour is truly amazing, thank you," the grateful tourist said.

Machu Picchu is expected to reopen at reduced capacity in November, according to BBC News. Peru has had over 851,000 coronavirus cases and more than 33,000 deaths due to the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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