Japan Edging Closer To Fully Opening for Tourism 

It’s been more than two years since Japan closed its borders to tourists in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, it has remained relatively insulated apart from a few concessions for business professionals and foreign residents in recent months. 
Golden hour in Kyoto. Photo : Sorasak | Unsplash

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Globally, Japan had some of the most stringent regulations around tourism, even banning visitors from attending the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic games in July 2021. Optimistic travellers, however, hope this will soon change and it seems that things are heading in a positive direction with a government spokesperson noting that things could change in the “not so distant future.” 

The bright lights of Tokyo, pre-Covid when travel was booming. Photo : Jezael Melgoza | Unsplash

Travel restrictions have slowly loosened as of 2022, with an expected announcement to arrive in days. However, the country opening up isn’t a free-for-all, and strict regulations will still apply. 

As it stands, tourists will only be able to enter the country when booking through a travel agency. While this might limit accommodation options and destinations, it serves as a point of contact, allowing for stricter regulation. 

Right now, hopefuls who wish to visit the home of Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, and ramen, are waiting for official word that things will open up completely. This news will offer tourists more agency to plan their holidays sans a travel agent. 

Snow capped Mount Fuji. Photo : Tomáš Malík | Unsplash

Current Entry Rules

The following rules apply for entry into Japan. 

• Japan has suspended its visa waiver to certain nations, meaning that travellers must obtain a visa. 

• All travellers must have three Covid-19 vaccinations (and proof) or a negative PCR test result before departure. 

• Travellers must adhere to strict Covid protocols, including wearing face masks inside and social distancing. 

• All travel plans must be booked through a registered travel agent (Including flights and accommodation.) 

• The following individuals are free to enter the country: Japanese citizens, international students who are studying in Japan, and some short-term business visitors. 

However, there is still a daily cap for visitor entry which has recently been raised from 20 000 to 50 000. 

Why It’s a Good Time to Visit (If we get some good news!) 

With hopes that Japan will fully open in the coming weeks to the international community, tourists can once again enjoy gorgeous sites like the Meguro River in Matsuno. Photo: Sora Sagano | Unsplash

Economically, it’s probably the best time to visit Japan if all goes to plan. The yen recently reached a low not seen in 24 years against the dollar. As such, tourists might be able to enjoy some cost savings in cities like Tokyo, which were once renowned for being expensive. 

Many believe that it is high time for Japan to re-emerge on the travel scene, with many policymakers and diplomats worried that their delayed entry onto the global stage could hinder credibility and tourism. Some stakeholders argue that a lack of action or a “robust effort” to market the country as welcoming and hospitable could lead to a lack of interest from the international community. 

Nonetheless, Japan offers travellers a plethora of awe-inspiring sites and experiences. If it does open up in the following days or months, it is undoubtedly a dynamic destination filled to the brim with possibility. 

If you want to daydream a little and plan your Japan extravaganza, these are the best times to visit. Keep your eyes peeled for new announcements which might arise at any moment.


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