Traveling to/from Japan During COVID-19
LAST UPDATED: SEPT 23rd 2020
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on travel to and from Japan and is likely to have an ongoing affect on life here for some time yet. The following page is intended to provide accurate and relevant information for people planning to visit Japan from aboard, along with those already here and planning to travel between prefectures for tourism purposes.
The information provided on this page is intended for travelers and foreign nationals entering Japan for tourism purposes. This page includes the following information:
1 / Latest News & Updates
2 / Entering Japan
3 / Will I get a visa/be allowed to enter?
4 / Will I be quarantined?
5 / When will I be able to travel to Japan?
6 / #TRAVELTOMORROW: what to consider when planning your visit to Japan
The situation remains fluid and the information provided is accurate as of time of publication. We will endeavour to update the information to reflect any change as quickly as possible.
Latest News & Updates
The following recent development may be of interest:
Sept 23 2020: the government has announced intention to loosen entry requirements for longer stay visitors – stay of 3 months or more i.e. international students – from October onward. While this does not apply to visitors intending to travel to Japan for tourism purposes, it is a positive sign and another step in the right direction.
Sept 11 2020: the government has announced that Singapore will be added to countries covered by the ‘travel corridor’, allowing entry to Japan for short-term business purposes.
Sept 8 2020: government announces a ‘travel corridor’ will be opened for short-business visitors from Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
For complete information regarding COVID-19 in Japan including a timeline of events, please see our ‘COVID-19 Update’ page.
In 2019, 31.9 million foreign visitors entered Japan – the seventh successive year that set a new record. Building on this strong trend, the government targeted 40 million arrivals in 2020. That however was prior to the emergence and dramatic impact of COVID-19.
As COVID-19 has spread around the world, Japan has announced bans for specific foreign nationals/passport on entering Japan. As a result, arrivals have dropped sharply with only 2,900 foreign passport holders arriving in Japan in April 2020 – a drop of 99.9% from the previous year.
Japan has four international airports: Narita (Tokyo), Haneda (Tokyo), Kansai (Osaka) and Chubu (Nagoya). Regardless of which airport you intend to fly into, the same requirements apply. Given the impact of COVID-19 on entry to Japan, the first question every traveler needs to ask is, will I be allowed to enter?
Will I get a visa/allowed to enter?
At this time, a ban applies to 159 countries including non-residents who have entered or transited the affected countries in recent weeks. The situation continues to change and hopefully, many people will again be able to travel to Japan in the coming months.
We recommend referring directly to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for the up-to-date list of countries/passports affected by the current travel ban. If you are affected by the ban, you will not be allowed to enter Japan.
Will I be quarantined?
Anyone eligible to still enter Japan at this time – both foreign nationals and Japanese citizens – who has recently entered one of the countries subject to a travel ban, will be required to undergo a COVID-19 testing and a 14-day period of quarantine upon arrival in Japan. It is important to note that even if you test negative for COVID-19 you will still be required to undergo quarantine.
Quarantine may occur in-place i.e. at the airport you arrive at or at a hotel provided for you. You will not be permitted to use public transport or visit public areas in that time, and it is likely that even once your period of quarantine is finished, limitations on your movement will still apply including a ban on using public transport.
For information about the current situation in Japan, please refer to our ‘COVID-19 Update’ page.
When will I be able to travel to Japan?
Like all countries, Japan wants to open its borders as soon as possible. Nationals of certain countries are now allowed to enter Japan for short-term business purposes under the ‘travel corridor’ agreed with nations including Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Foreign residents can now also return and the government has announced an intention to open the border to longer stay visitors – 3 months or more i.e. international students from October onward.
While entry for tourism purposes remains banned, these are steps in the right direction and we hope restrictions on certain countries may soon be lifted.
As the borders open for foreign arrivals, it is likely that movement within in Japan will still be restricted. We will update this page with announcements as that takes place.
#TRAVELTOMORROW: what to consider when planning your visit to Japan
With conversation now turning to reopening the borders over the coming months, many people are considering their options for international travel. The booming numbers of international arrivals prior to the onset of COVID-19, attest to the popularity of Japan as a destination. We hope to again be welcoming international visitors to this beautiful country soon.
When planning your visit to Japan, we encourage you to consider the following:
1 / Entering Japan: as discussed above, many countries are subject to an entry ban at this time. Prior to booking your visit to Japan, ensure that you will be permitted entry by checking the status on your passport on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (included above).
2 / Quarantine: use the same link to check whether you will be required to undergo quarantine upon arrival. In addition, also check the re-entry requirements to your own country to confirm whether you will be required to undergo quarantine upon your return from Japan.
3 / Movement once in Japan: it is possible that even once you enter Japan, restrictions on your movement may still apply and/or some localities may be closed. Do your research and consider where you want to visit prior to arriving. As much as possible, keep your plans flexible, allowing you to change your itinerary if required. Stay informed by using foreign language services in Japan to check the daily information.
Our ‘Traveling inside Japan during COVID-19’ page provides information and tips on planning your travel in Japan during COVID-19.
4 / Health services in Japan: Japanese enjoy one of the world’s best public health systems and medical facilities. As an international visitor, it is worth considering what you have access to and what will happen, should you need treatment while here.
Our ‘Heath Care & Assistance in Japan’ page provides information regarding what to expect and what you have access to while here.
5 / Insurance: regardless of when you come to Japan, travel insurance is a must. While it is a very safe country in terms of personal safety and your possessions, no country is perfect and unfortunate things can happen. Should you require medical attention or hospitalisation during your visit, your insurance will be crucial to avoiding a potentially huge cost.
Prior to traveling ensure that your travel insurance has reasonable cover for medical treatment and specifically check what is covered in relation to COVID-19.
6 / Cancellations and refunds: when booking your travel – including your air travel, accommodation, tours, etc. – check their policy regarding cancellation and refunds. Once you are free to travel to Japan, things may yet change again. When booking your future travel, check what happens should a recurrence of COVID-19 prevent you from traveling prior to booking.