The Diamond Princess liner returned to Yokohama near Tokyo on Friday for the first time since a mass COVID outbreak three years ago led Japan to quarantine those onboard and suspend the arrival of foreign cruise ships until this month.

After the ship, with a capacity of around 2,700 passengers, arrived at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal at 7:15 a.m., passengers descended for sightseeing.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship docks at Yokohama Port in Kanagawa Prefecture on March 10, 2023. (Kyodo)

The outbreak of infections on the Diamond Princess in February 2020 led to thousands being quarantined and left 13 of the over 700 infected crew and passengers dead. Japan suspended accepting foreign cruise ships the following month.

The country announced in November last year that it would allow foreign cruise ships to return as part of efforts to boost inbound tourism.

The Diamond Princess left the United States in February and docked at the Port of Kobe on Wednesday before its arrival in Yokohama.

Nobuyoshi Shiratori, a local resident who was taking pictures of the Diamond Princess, said, "It is a large and beautiful ship beyond my expectations. While I hope that (its arrival) will not lead to spreading the coronavirus, I am glad that liveliness has returned to the port."

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