The most common question I've been asked recently is "When can I visit Japan again?" Seeing as my blog has a strong focus on travelling in Japan, I decided to update you all on the latest from the Japanese government in relation to entry to Japan.
As we all know, since the beginning of the pandemic until June 2022 Japan was completely closed to tourism. There was even a brief moment in 2020 when Japan wouldn't let foreign residents (non-Japanese people living in Japan) back into the country, meaning thousands of people were locked out, some even losing their jobs and apartments in the process. To say that the rules surrounding entering Japan were strict would be an understatement.
In June 2022, Japan finally started to slowly reopen its borders to tourists, provided they were part of a supervised tour group, and tested negative for COVID-19 72 hours before boarding their flight to Japan. Even while touring Japan, the tour conductors were required to ensure travelers were checking their temperatures every morning, and wearing masks where appropriate (in Japan, that means masking up almost everywhere).
So, what's the latest news? Can I visit Japan or not?
I have some good news! According to Japan Times and Asahi Shimbun, Japan is loosening restrictions on international travelers once again.
Here's the latest:
Japan will waive pre-flight PCR tests for all travelers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 three times or more, starting September 7, 2022. You must have official proof of receiving these vaccinations.
Travelers who have NOT been vaccinated three times or more, or do not have official proof of vaccination will still be required to receive a negative PCR test up to 72 hours before departing for Japan.
From September 7, 2022 the daily limit on people entering Japan will be raised to 50,000 from 20,000 per day. Before the pandemic, Japan was often welcoming around 100,000 foreign visitors per day!
Japan will allow entry to "unsupervised tourist groups"(meaning independent/individual travellers are allowed with no restrictions on movement) from September 7, 2022. But flights and hotels must be booked through an approved travel agent.
Visas are not available upon landing. Visa applications must be approved before departing, and will generally take around five days for processing. The cost of a single entry visa will be 3000 yen.
Other important information
I highly recommend having a thorough read about the detailed border measures on Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) page here. This website is regularly updated with entry and quarantine rules, so be sure to check it out. Rules about entering Japan differ between countries, so read this page carefully!
As you can see, while Japan has made some progress towards reopening the borders to international tourists, there is still a long way to go before the process is streamlined.
I strongly advise you to do you own research before booking a ticket. Check with your embassy, or the Japanese embassy in your country about official updated rules, as these regularly change. Keep an eye on the news, and regularly check the MOFA page for updates on rules in relation to entering Japan.
Do you have any experience with entering Japan during COVID-19, or are you planning on visiting Japan any time soon? What do you think about Japan's new entry rules? Let me know in the comments at the bottom of the page. In the meantime, find some inspiration for your next trip to Japan by taking a look at Trip Advisor's page all about Japan.
I post almost daily on my Instagram account, so if you're interested in seeing some snippets of my daily life as an expat in Japan, come visit my Instagram. There's tons of stuff that doesn't make it to the blog!
Updated September 8, 2022.
Updated information about Japan entry requirements as announced by Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on September 23rd, 2022 can be found here.
Personal recommendations for booking accommodation, day trip tours and related travel needs. Accommodation: Agoda.com, Booking.com, HostelWorld.com Short tours, activities and day trips: GetYourGuide.com, Viator.com Reviews (restaurants, accommodation, local attractions etc.): TripAdvisor.com Travel Insurance: VisitorsCoverage.com