(CNN) – Like many travelers around the world, Jesse Katyama thwarted his dream journey with the spread of Govt-19.
He already had his ticket and permission to enter the UNESCO World Heritage Site on March 16, but the Peruvian government chose to close the place. Kattayamavas was trapped.
Since then, boxing coach Katyama, 26, has become a local at Aguas Caliandes, who has been renting a small room for the past seven months.
Although border closures prevented him from traveling to other South American countries, he has made his experience better by exploring local places such as Mount Pudukuzi and Calientus Falls. He even taught boxing classes to some local kids and made friends in his accidental new hometown.
Katyama tells CNN that his goal is to open his own boxing gym on his return to Osaka, so he used his locking time to train his moves.
“I used to run every morning and I could see Machu Picchu in the distance,” Katyama told CNN. “I thought I would never give this to Machu Picchu because I expected it not to open within this year, but I’m fine with that because I have a great time here.”
Incan Fortress under the most common circumstances.
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In a celebratory Instagram post, Katyama wrote, “I thought I would never do this (to Machu Picchu) but everyone asked the government and the city, and they give me super special permission.” He added: “The Peruvians are so kind, thank you so much!”
He tells CNN that he will leave Peru for Japan on October 16th. As he prepares to go home, he bids farewell to the townspeople who have become his friends in recent months. Many local children have drawn pictures of Katayama and made a toy for him out of toilet paper rolls.
“I will definitely cry,” he says of saying goodbye to Aguas Calientes. “These seven months have been very special for me. I have discovered a new part in myself.”
“A Japanese citizen can do this before returning to his country with our country’s leader,” Peruvian Culture Minister Alejandro Neira told reporters.
Neira said there are plans to re-open Machu Picchu to the audience at 30% capacity, but did not specify an exact date.
Yoko Wakatsuki of CNN contributed to the reporting.
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