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Who Can Travel to Japan & What’s Required? October 2022

Who Can Travel to Japan & What’s Required? October 2022

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The following page provides information for foreign-nationals looking to travel to Japan including who can travel, quarantine requirements and other useful information. On this page you will find the following information:

1 / Latest News & Updates

2 / Is the Border Open & Can I Travel to Japan as a Tourist?

3 / Will I be Granted a Visa for Japan?

4 / Do I Need to be Vaccinated to Enter Japan?

5 / Will I be Quarantined In Japan?

6 / COVID-19 Protocols: Do I Need to Wear a Face Mask While in Japan?

7 / Do I Need Travel / Health Insurance to Enter Japan?

8 / Japan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Passport

9 / Japan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program

10 / Plan Your Visit to Japan

11 / Timeline of Entry Requirements

As of September 26 2022, Japan’s border is open to international tourists so long as they have had at least three COVID-19 vaccinations or undergo a PCR test prior to travel, agree to follow COVID protocols including social distancing and wearing face masks in confined spaces and book their travel package – including flights and all accommodation – through a registered travel agent in Japan.

This replaces the previous requirement that visitors enter on fully-guided packaged tours through authorised agents – see below for further details. Japanese citizens, permanent residents, long-term temporary residents – including spouses of Japanese citizens and international students enrolled with a Japanese institution – and some short-term business visitors are free to apply and travel to Japan.

It has also been announced that as of October 11 2022, Japan will remove the cap on daily arrivals and re-instate visa-free travel for eligible passport-holders see below for a list of the countries that qualify. Passport-holders who are eligible for visa-free travel are no longer required to book through a travel agent and can arrange their own travel.

This page is one of several pages we provide to keep you up-to-date with the situation in Japan and is intended to be read in combination with our ‘Plan Your Visit to Japan’ page.

1 / LATEST NEWS & UPDATES


The following recent developments may be of interest:

September 23 2022: Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has announced that as of October 11, the cap on daily arrivals to Japan will be removed. At the same time, visa-free travel will resume of independent travellers from eligible countries. Entrants will need to show evidence of at least three COVID-19 vaccinations for submit a negative COVID-19 test with 72 hours of their intended travel. Effectively, as of October 11, Japan is open again to tourism – welcome back!

September 12 2022: following changes to the entry requirements for tourism last week and raising of the daily cap from 20,000 to 50,000, reports are emerging the revised cap and those requirements may only be in-place for a short period of time. While nothing has been announced yet, a government spokesman has commented that the cap may be removed in the ‘not so distant future’, potentially as soon as autumn or winter. It is important to note that such a timeframe would appear optimistic and no official announcement has yet been made. We will update this page once more information is available.

September 5 2022: the government has made further announcements about the pending easing of restrictions on tourism into Japan. As of this Wednesday, September 7, international visitors are able to enter Japan so long as they have had at least three COVID-19 vaccinations or undergo a PCR test prior to travel, agree to follow COVID protocols including social distancing and wearing face masks in confined spaces and book their travel package – including flights and all accommodation – through a registered travel agent in Japan. In effect, the travel agent will act as the sponsor inviting the traveller to Japan however visitors are no longer required to book at fully guided tour, meaning that from their arrival in Japan, travellers will effectively be independent to do as they please so long as they follow the accommodation itinerary agreed with the travel agent. Visitors are also required to apply for and have a visa granted in advance of their travel – see below for further details.

August 31 2022: Prime Minister Kishida has announced that as reported, Japan will lift its cap on daily arrivals to 50,000 from September 7 onward. Japan also looks set to ease restrictions on tourism by allowing entry of visitors on non-guided package tours however there is no further information or substantiated announcement about this yet.

August 29 2022: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has announced that from September 7 onward, people entering Japan will no longer be required to undergo a pre-arrival COVID-19 test as long as they can provide evidence of at least three vaccinations. He also announced that the cap on daily arrivals would be lifted from 20,000 but did not confirm what the new cap will be. It is however widely speculated that the new cap will be 50,000 arrivals per day and that restrictions on tourism will soon be eased however it is important to note that Japan is not yet open to independent tourists.

August 24 2022: in what appears to be a very positive development, the government is reported to be considering opening the border to independent travellers, so long as they book their visit through a travel agency. Currently, visitors can travel to Japan for tourism purposes but can only do so when joining guided tours operated by approved agencies. Initiated in June, there has been little uptake of these tours due to the restrictions placed on travellers including being accompanied by a guide, mandatory wearing of face masks, regular temperature checks and limited movement. It is hoped that easing of such strict requirements will see the first meaningful spike in international tourism since the beginning of the pandemic. We will update this page once more information is available.

For a complete timeline of major announcements during COVID-19, see our ‘Timeline of Entry Requirements’ below or to start planning you visit, see ‘Plan Your Visit to Japan’ below.

2 / IS THE BORDER OPEN & CAN I TRAVEL TO JAPAN AS A TOURIST?


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As of September 26 2022, Japan’s border is open to Japanese citizens, permanent residents or temporary residents including spouses and children of Japanese citizens who hold long-term visas, international students enrolled at a Japanese institution and short-term business travellers. International visitors can now also enter Japan for tourism purposes so long as they book via a registered travel agent – see ‘IS JAPAN NOW OPEN FOR TOURISM?’ below for details – please note, this requirement will be removed for visa-free eligible passport-holders as of October 11 2022, see below for details. The three-system introduced in June 2022 for international visitors remains in place, categorising countries and regions into ‘blue’, ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ groupings, equating to low, mid and high risk:

BLUE / LOW RISK : travellers from ‘Blue / Low Risk’ countries who can provide evidence of at least three COVID-19 vaccinations can travel without the need to undergo a PCR test or isolate. Travellers without evidence of three vaccinations can still be travel but will be required to undergo a PCR test prior to travel. Around 100 countries are currently categorised blue / low risk including (but not limited to):

Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Laos, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America and Zambia.

YELLOW / MID RISK : travellers from ‘Yellow / Mid Risk’ countries who can provide evidence of at least three COVID-19 vaccinations can travel without the need to undergo a PCR test or isolate. Travellers without evidence of three vaccinations can still be travel but will be required to undergo a PCR test prior to travel and isolate for three days upon arrival in Japan. Countries currently categorised yellow / mid risk include (but not limited to):

Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Cuba, Cyprus, Egypt, Fiji, Georgia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kuwait, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Nigeria, Peru, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Vietnam along with many other countries in Africa, Central America, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean.

RED / HIGH RISK : travellers from ‘Red / High Risk’ countries who can provide evidence of at least three COVID-19 vaccinations can travel without the need to undergo a PCR test but must isolate for three days upon arrival in Japan. Travellers without evidence of three vaccinations can still be travel but will be required to undergo a PCR test prior to travel and isolate for three days upon arrival in Japan. Countries currently categorised red / high risk include:

Albania and Sierra Leone.

IS JAPAN NOW OPEN FOR TOURISM?

As of October 11 2022, Japan will effectively reopen its border by removing the daily cap on arrivals and reinstating visa-free travel for the following passport-holders:

Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States of America & Uruguay.

Anyone holding one of those passports can travel to Japan – as of October 11 – without the need to book their trip through a travel agent however they must still provide evidence of at least 3 COVID-19 vaccinations or provide a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their departure to Japan. All other passport-holders can still travel to Japan but must continue to book their travel package – including flights and all accommodation – through a registered travel agent in Japan. Once you do so, the travel agent will provide you with a certificate that you must then submit – along with other documents – to your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate in application for a visa. Once the visa is granted, you are free to travel to Japan and once here, are free to travel by yourself so long as your stay at the hotels that have been booked for you, follow the basic COVID-19 protocols and remain contactable should the need arise.

CAN I BOOK THROUGH SNOW MONKEY RESORTS?

Yes. We are a registered travel in Japan and can package your flights and accommodation for you — BOOK YOUR TRAVEL PACKAGE WITH US!

WHAT’S PREVENTING ME FROM BOOKING MY TRIP BY MYSELF?

If you are eligible for visa-free travel to Japan, you can now go ahead and book your own trip for travel from October 11 onward. For all other passport-holders, you must still book your travel through an agent and then apply for a visa. While you can book your flights and accommodation independently, you would not be able to receive the certificate required to apply for a visa. In the absence of that visa, you would not be able to board the flight or enter Japan.

3 / WILL I BE GRANTED A VISA FOR JAPAN?


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Whether you can be granted a visa to enter Japan depends on your country of origin and the reason for your visit i.e. the visa you are applying for. As noted above, if you are travelling for tourism purposes you will only be granted a visa if you have booked your travel package through a registered travel agent in Japan. Once you have done so, the travel agent will issue you with a certificate which must be submitted – along with other documents – to your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate. At this time, Japan is stating that processing times for tourist visas is between 5 to 7 business days but expect the timeframe to expand out should the embassies and consulates receive a large volume of applications. Please also note that visa requirements, processing times and costs can vary between countries. For further information, please refer to your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate.

4 / DO I NEED TO BE VACCINATED TO TRAVEL TO JAPAN?


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As of September 26 2022, you do not necessarily need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Japan however it may affect which visa you are eligible for, whether you need to undergo a PCR test before you travel and upon arrival, and whether you need to quarantine and for how long. For further information, see the information above regarding Japan’s three-tiered system and its constituent requirements.

5 / WILL I BE QUARANTINED IN JAPAN?


Whether you are required to quarantine depends on your country of origin, vaccination history and ability to test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival in Japan. If you are travelling from a ‘Blue / Low Risk’ or ‘Yellow / Mid Risk’ country and can provide evidence of at least three COVID-19 vaccinations, you should not have to quarantine in Japan. If you fall outside of these categories, quarantine may still not be required however you may indeed be subject to a period of isolation upon arrival. For further information, see the information above regarding Japan’s three-tiered system and its constituent requirements.

6 / COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: DO I NEED TO WEAR A FACE MASK WHILE IN JAPAN?


With the international border effectively opening to independent travellers from ‘visa-free’ eligible countries as of October 11, many are excitedly booking their travel to Japan while asking, what COVID-19 prevention measures are in-place in Japan, do I need to wear a face mask, what other restrictions will be placed on me?

During your time in Japan, you are expected to follow the community COVID-19 protocols that have been in-place for some time. The images included above and below provide a breakdown of the measures and behaviours are you are expected to comply with including wearing a face mask when in crowded places, regular use of hand sanitiser and practicing social distancing by avoiding confined, crowded and close proximity as much as is reasonably possible.

There is no rule that you must wear a face mask and the government long ago advised that it is not required when outside and in non-crowded, well-ventilated places. However, upon arrival in Japan you will quickly notice that almost all Japanese continue to wear face masks therefore you should be prepared to do the same, especially when indoors, on public transport etc. We recommend always having a face mask with you and following the lead of what local people are doing, noting that many venues will deny entry to you if you do not wear a mask.

7 / DO I NEED TRAVEL / HEALTH INSURANCE TO ENTER JAPAN?


We recommend all travellers take-out adequate travel and health insurance for the duration of their stay in Japan. Insurance should include coverage for medical expenses related to COVID-19 infection and provide adequate cover for related services. Should you be hospitalised, need to isolate or extend your stay and / or change your flights, any costs will need to be met by the traveller therefore we encourage you to select insurance that covers such expenses. It is possible that you will be asked to provide evidence of your insurance upon entry to Japan so make sure you take-out adequate coverage and best to carry evidence of it.

8 / JAPAN’S COVID-19 VACCINATION PASSPORT


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Consistent with many countries around the world, Japan has announced its intention to utilise some form of digital vaccination passport in an effort to re-open its international. While the exact details of how this will work and which digital platform Japan will use are not yet confirmed, the government appears committed to rolling-out a smartphone app which travellers can use to satisfy the health requirement and allowing them to travel to Japan. It is hoped that this will facilitate opening of the international border in the near future. For further information, see our ‘Japan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Passport’ page.

9 / JAPAN’S COVID-19 VACCINATION PROGRAM


Get the latest news and information about the roll-out of Japan’s COVID-19 vaccination program including which vaccines will be used, when and who will be vaccinated, and whether you need to be vaccinated to travel here.

10 / PLAN YOUR VISIT TO JAPAN


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Getting ready to travel to Japan? Whether it’s your first time traveling to this amazing country or you’re a regular visitor, all successful visits start before you even leave home as you plan your trip and choose where you’ll visit while here. Our ‘Plan Your Visit’ page has lots of great information including how to enter, exit and move around Japan, when to visit, how to stay connected while here, accommodation options, language and etiquette tips and how to stay health and get help when needed. Those pages provide the framework while our ‘Destinations’ page help you plan just what to do while here.

11 / TIMELINE OF ENTRY REQUIREMENTS


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The following major announcements provide a snapshot of recent entry requirements to Japan during COVID-19:

September 23 2022: Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has announced that as of October 11, the cap on daily arrivals to Japan will be removed. At the same time, visa-free travel will resume of independent travellers from eligible countries. Entrants will need to show evidence of at least three COVID-19 vaccinations for submit a negative COVID-19 test with 72 hours of their intended travel. Effectively, as of October 11, Japan is open again to tourism – welcome back!

September 12 2022: following changes to the entry requirements for tourism last week and raising of the daily cap from 20,000 to 50,000, reports are emerging the revised cap and those requirements may only be in-place for a short period of time. While nothing has been announced yet, a government spokesman has commented that the cap may be removed in the ‘not so distant future’, potentially as soon as autumn or winter. It is important to note that such a timeframe would appear optimistic and no official announcement has yet been made. We will update this page once more information is available.

September 5 2022: the government has made further announcements about the pending easing of restrictions on tourism into Japan. As of this Wednesday, September 7, international visitors are able to enter Japan so long as they have had at least three COVID-19 vaccinations or undergo a PCR test prior to travel, agree to follow COVID protocols including social distancing and wearing face masks in confined spaces and book their travel package – including flights and all accommodation – through a registered travel agent in Japan. In effect, the travel agent will act as the sponsor inviting the traveller to Japan however visitors are no longer required to book at fully guided tour, meaning that from their arrival in Japan, travellers will effectively be independent to do as they please so long as they follow the accommodation itinerary agreed with the travel agent. Visitors are also required to apply for and have a visa granted in advance of their travel.


August 31 2022: Prime Minister Kishida has announced that as reported, Japan will lift its cap on daily arrivals to 50,000 from September 7 onward. Japan also looks set to ease restrictions on tourism by allowing entry of visitors on non-guided package tours however there is no further information or substantiated announcement about this yet

August 29 2022: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has announced that from September 7 onward, people entering Japan will no longer be required to undergo a pre-arrival COVID-19 test as long as they can provide evidence of at least three vaccinations. He also announced that the cap on daily arrivals would be lifted from 20,000 but did not confirm what the new cap will be. It is however widely speculated that the new cap will be 50,000 arrivals per day and that restrictions on tourism will soon be eased however it is important to note that Japan is not yet open to independent tourists. We will update this page once more information is available.

August 24 2022: in what appears to be a very positive development, the government is reported to be considering opening the border to independent travellers, so long as they book their visit through a travel agency. Currently, visitors can travel to Japan for tourism purposes but can only do so when joining guided tours operated by approved agencies. Initiated in June, there has been little uptake of these tours due to the restrictions placed on travellers including being accompanied by a guide, mandatory wearing of face masks, regular temperature checks and limited movement. It is hoped that easing of such strict requirements will see the first meaningful spike in international tourism since the beginning of the pandemic.

August 24 2022: while no official announcement has yet been made, reports have emerged that Japan will soon drop the requirement for anyone entering the country to have a COVID-19 test prior to travel. It is reported that travellers will be exempt from this requirement if they can provide evidence of three or more vaccinations. At the same time, the government is considering lifting the daily cap on international arrivals from 20,000 to 50,000. Again, no official announcement has been made regarding this potential change however it is reported that it may occur as early as next month.


July 25 2022: while Japan’s border has technically been opened to tourism since early June, the total number of arrivals for June was 18% less than May and 14% less than April. From June 10 to June 30, only 252 tourists entered the country. International visitors appear hesitant if not unwilling to travel Japan under the current strict requirements which require them to book through authorised travel agents and be accompanied by a guide at all times of their tour, while being required to wear a face mask, social distance and having little freedom of movement.


June 27 2022: it has been announced that Naha Airport in Okinawa and New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido – usually two of Japan’s busiest airports – will reopen to international services from the end of June. In addition, the regional airports of Sendai, Hiroshima and Takamatsu will also reopen. Another positive step in the right direction, there remains no official announcement as to when Japan’s border will fully open.

June 20 2022: it has been reported that 1300 people have lodged applications to travel to Japan on tours, under the government’s current scheme to open-up the border to tourism but only for people traveling on authorised tours. The first approved tour arrived on Wednesday. Participants are required to follow strict infection prevention measures including wearing masks at all times, frequently using hand sanitiser, adhere to social distancing, etc. Failure to do so can result in a participant being asked to leave Japan. Such strict rules have been met with widespread criticism across the tourism industry and are likely to limit the number of people applying to travel to Japan.

June 13 2022: as of last Friday, Japan officially opened its border to tourism with authorised tour groups permitted to enter. There are however several requirements for doing so that effectively mean the border remains closed to most tourists, especially those who do not wish to be chaperoned on a fully-guided tour. While 98 ‘blue / low risk’ nationalities are now free to apply for a visitor visa to travel to Japan, they will only be allowed to do so by booking a guided tour through approved travel agents. Those tours are strictly controlled with guests required to wear masks at all times, regularly use hand sanitizer, social distance, minimise talking when eating and chaperoned at all times. As such, the limited number of tours now entering Japan are unlikely to appeal to a huge number of visitors but it is hopefully a step toward a full opening of the border later in the year.


May 27 2022: Japanese Prime Minister has announced that small guided package tours will be allowed to enter Japan from June 10 onward. The announcement comes days before Japan is set to increase its daily cap on arrivals from 10,000 to 20,000 on June 1 and introduces a three-tiered system of blue, yellow and red or low, mid and risk countries that dictates the entry requirements for travellers. While full details of how these group tours will be operated, it is a positive step towards a full opening of the border as Japan hosts small trial tour packages this week for travellers from Australia, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

May 23 2022: as of June 1st, Japan will double its cap on daily arrivals from 10,000 to 20,000. At the same time, it will introduce a new three-tiered system, categorising countries and regions into ‘blue’, ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ groupings, equating to low, mid and high risk. Travelers arriving from a blue / low risk country will not be required to undertake a COVID-19 test or undergo quarantine upon arrival, nor do they need to demonstrate their vaccination history. Those arriving from yellow / mid risk countries will be required to undergo a test upon arrival and isolate for three days at home or at their hotel. Travelers arriving from red / high risk countries will be required to undergo a test and isolate for at least three days at a designated facility.

May 18 2022: the government has announced it will allow small tour groups to enter Japan from the end of May, in a trial period intended to test Japan’s readiness to open its border for tourism. To begin, only 50 visitors from Australia, Singapore, Thailand and the United States who have been triple-vaccinated will be allowed to join tours, coordinated by travel agencies and chaperoned by tour conductors at all times on fixed itineraries. Travel agents including JTB Corp, Nippon Travel Agency and others will be participating in the trial period.

May 12 2022: the government looks set to increase the cap on daily arrivals to Japan from the current level of 10,000 to 20,000 in June. The increase comes as the government is also considering a trial period of small tour groups from abroad, to test Japan’s readiness to open its border. A further increase of daily arrivals would be continuation of a positive trend that has seen it raised from 3,500 in November to 5,000 and then 7,000 in March and the current limit of 10,000 in April.

May 9 2022: the government is considering opening the border to tour groups as early as the end of May, on a ‘trial basis’ as it looks toward a complete opening to inbound tourism later in the year. The report follows-on for Prime Minister Kishida’s recent comments that the government is looking to open the border in stages, in consultation with public health experts. Under this plan, tour groups will be limited in size with their movements monitored in order to assess the feasibility of a full opening and response measures should a COVID-19 case be reported within those travellers.

May 6 2022: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has stated that Japan will ease its border controls in June. Kishida did not provide details of exactly how and when this will happen however it’s a meaningful development on the back of recent increases in daily arrivals and permission for international students and short-term business visitors to enter.


April 11 2022: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has stated that Japan does not have any plan to open the border to tourists at this time. COVID-19 infections again continue to increase in many regions of the country, including Tokyo, with another wave potentially underway. On Friday, approximately 52,000 new cases were reported around Japan – the fourteenth day in a row that the daily total was increased over the week before. Some of the largest increases have been experienced in regional areas such as Miyazaki and Oita in the south and Akita and Iwate in the north.

April 7 2022: Japan has announced that it will ‘lift the entry ban on 106 countries’ from tomorrow onward. This has led to some confusion as to who can now travel, with some mistaking the decision to mean that anyone from those 106 countries could now enter Japan for any reason. This is not correct. The lifting of the ban makes it possible for nationals of those countries to apply for and be granted a visa, and then travel to Japan however the purpose of that travel remains the crucial point. Persons applying to travel to Japan for tourism purposes will still not be granted a visa and cannot enter at this time. While this is a positive step toward a full opening of the border, there remains no official announcement as to when travel for tourism purposes will be allowed.

April 4 2022: Japan will increase the daily cap on overseas arrivals to 10,000 travellers per day as of April 10. Foreign students enrolled with a Japanese institution continue to have priority along with Japanese citizens, foreign residents of Japan and some short-term business travellers.


March 21 2022: the government is considering lifting the daily cap on overseas arrivals to 10,000. While the cap remains at 5,000, it is set to increase to 7,000 as of April 1. April marks the beginning of Japan’s business and academic year and preference is currently being given to short-term business travellers and international students enrolled in a Japanese institution. There is still no word on when the border may open to tourists.

March 6 2022: the government has announced that the daily cap on arrivals into Japan will increase from 5,000 to 7,000 on March 14. As the new academic year approaches, priority will be given to international students enrolled in study in Japan. There is still no announcement as to when the border will open to tourists.


February 28 2022: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has again stated that his government is considering easing border restrictions. As of March 1st, travel restrictions are already set to be eased for some travellers including short-term business visitors and temporary residents including international students. Japan is seeing COVID numbers begin to come out in what is hoped is the end of the sixth wave of infections. In response, daily entries will be increased from 3,500 to 5,000 and travellers from countries including Australia, the Philippines, Spain, Thailand and the United States will not have to isolate upon arrival so long as they return a negative test result; while entrants from countries including Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom will only need to quarantine for three days, as long as they test negative on the third day. There is still no announcement as to when travel for tourism purposes.

February 22 2022: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has announced that from March onward, a limited number of business travellers and foreign students will again be able to enter Japan. The daily limit on entries will also be lifted from 3,500 to 5,000. Travelers who have received three or more vaccinations and are entering from a country in which COVID is not spreading rapidly, will not be required to enter quarantine. All other travellers will be required to self-isolate for 7 days however those who test negative for COVID-19 on the third day, and meet other requirements, will be able to leave quarantine early. There is no announcement as to when travel for tourism might be possible.

February 14 2022: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has remarked that the government is considering whether to ease the current restrictions which effectively bar non-residents from entering the country. While there is no official announcement yet, the government is hinting at changes to a policy that has seen most non-residents effectively locked-out of Japan throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The consideration to ease restrictions comes amid growing criticism by business leaders and as other nations continue to open their borders. Should a decision be reached to open the border, it is likely that priority will be given to short-term business travellers and long-term visitors with temporary residency, such as international students. Travel for tourism purposes would appear to be a little time-off however this may change quickly.


December 20 2021: Japan has launched a COVID-19 vaccination app for smartphones. The app – ‘新型コロナワクチン接種証明書アプリ‘ or ‘New Corona Vaccination Certificate Application’ – that can be downloaded for free and once activated, will display the user’s vaccination history. It is intended for both domestic use and international travel.

December 19 2021: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has announced that the existing ban on entry to Japan by foreign nationals – other than those with an existing residence visa or special permission to travel – will be extended at least until ‘early next year’ in an attempt to prevent the spread of the ‘Omicron’ variant. Japanese citizens and foreign residents of Japan are still able to enter however must under quarantine once they arrive, with the period required and where they undertake quarantine varying depending on the country they are travelling from.

December 6 2021: in response to the Omicron variant, Japan has moved to further restrict entry by suspending all visas that have not yet been activated by the traveller by entering Japan, for a period of one month. An exception to this measure apples if the visa holder is the spouse or child of a Japanese citizen, permanent resident or diplomat however government clarification of this point has not been forth-coming and it has not been confirmed how or for how long this measure will be implemented.


November 30 2021: as of today, Japan has significantly restricted entry by effectively banning foreign nationals for a period of at least one month. In response to the emerging ‘Omicron’ variant, the government has announced that only Japanese citizens and foreign nationals with ‘special permission’ are now allowed to enter Japan – regardless of where they are traveling from. Those who can still enter are required to spend 14 days in quarantine, even if fully vaccinated. The government has also reduced the maximum number of entries each from 5,000 to 3,500 persons. At this time, there has been no announcement that the Omicron variant has been detected in Japan.

November 29 2021: in response to concern over the increased virulence of the new ‘Omicron’ variant, first detected in South Africa, Japan has announced stricter entry controls for the following southern African nations: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Any person entering Japan who has spent time in one or more of those nation in the past 14 days, is now required to spend at least 10 days in a government-designated facility upon arrival followed by an additional 4 days at home or at a hotel – totalling 14 days of quarantine.

November 8 2021: as of today, the quarantine period for travellers entering Japan for business purposes has been reduced to 3 days. Travelers must be fully-vaccinated (with a vaccine recognised by the Japanese government) and on the condition that the firm inviting them to Japan complies with certain directives. The government has also announced that students and long-term business entrants such as technical trainees can now travel to Japan however the quarantine period for those entrants remains 14 days.

November 2 2021: Japan appears to be set to ease travel restrictions for short-term business travel and students as soon as this week, with quarantine reduced to as little as 3-days for fully-vaccinated visitors. There is no official announcement yet nor is there any reference to opening-up travel for tourism however it’s a positive step in the right direction.


September 30 2021 : Japan looks set to reduce the period of quarantine, for fully-vaccinated people, from 14 to 10 days and without the need to spend time in a hotel or other facility. It is expected that this will take place some time in October however the actual date and full details are yet to be announced. It appears that this will also apply to persons entering from ‘high risk’ areas, as long as they can provide suitable evidence of their vaccination history.


April 30 2021: the government has again commented that Japan will introduce some form of “vaccine passport” in the form of a smartphone app that will facilitate movement of people in and out of the country. It is believe digital passport will record evidence of having had a COVID-19 vaccination along with negative test results, potentially allowing persons who have not yet been vaccinated to travel. While nothing concrete has yet been announced, it’s a positive step toward re-opening the international border.


March 21 2021: it’s official. Japanese officials have announced that international visitors will not be permitted to enter Japan as spectators for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Scheduled to start on July 23rd 2021, the Games look set to go ahead however it will unfortunately be without any international visitors in the stadiums. All tickets already sold to international visitors will be refunded in full. There is no official word yet about entry of the teams and supporting staff.

March 15 2021: trials of a proposed ‘Common Pass’ have taken place at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Five participants underwent COVID-19/PCR tests which were transmitted to a laboratory with all five participants receiving negative test results to their phones within two hours. Those results are then displayed as a ‘universal digital certificate’ which can then be used to satisfy entry requirements of a travellers’ destination country upon check-in in their country of origin.

March 5 2021: while there is no official announcement yet, the head of the Tokyo Olympic committee, Hashimoto Sekio, has suggested that international visitors may not be permitted to enter Japan for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games. Hashimoto has stated, ‘If the situation is tough and it would make the [Japanese} consumers concerned, that is a situation we need to avoid from happening’ – the strongest suggestion yet that international visitors will not be permitted. A number of government officials have now implied that a final decision is pending, with an official announcement expected by around March 25.


February 3 2021: following the announcement of extension of the ‘State of Emergency’ (SOE) in ten prefectures in Japan, it has also been announced that the suspension of travel arrangements will be extended until the SOE has been lifted. At this time, the SOE is in effect until at least March 7th therefore we can expect that entry for foreign nationals – other than foreign residents of Japan – will continue until at least that date.  


January 13 2021: the government has announced the temporary suspension of arrangements – including the ‘Residence Track’ and ‘Business Track’ – for nationals of 11 countries, effectively banning entry to Japan by all foreign nationals – other than those with an existing residence visa – until at least February 7th 2021. The decision is in response to the increasing spread of COVID-19 and in order to prevent the introduction of new variants to Japan. Japanese citizens and foreign residents of Japan with a valid entry visa are still able to travel however are required to undertake 2-weeks quarantine upon arrival and may be asked to provide a negative COVID-19 test result prior to departure from their country of origin.

January 7 2021: in response to the increasing spread of COVID-19 in Japan and following discussion of suspending entry for all foreign nationals, the government has announced that the 11 nationalities eligible to travel under the ‘Residence Track’ and ‘Business Track’ can continue to apply to travel to and enter Japan. Foreign residents of Japan with a current entry visa and Japanese citizens are also still able to enter. The situation continues to develop and the government’s decision may well be reversed should circumstances demand it. We will update this page if further information becomes available.


December 28 2020: in response to a new strain of COVID-19 first detected in the United Kingdom, the Japanese government has announced that it will ban entry by all foreign nationals until January 31st 2021. To date, the new more virulent strain has been detected in at least twenty countries, and in an effort to prevent its spread into Japan, the ban effectively applies to all foreign nationals other than business travellers from approved countries and foreign residents of Japan. To do so, travellers will need to submit further documentation and undergo a COVID-19 test at least 72-hours prior to departure. Japanese citizens and foreign residents of Japan can still travel but upon arrival will be required to self-isolate for 14-days. Persons already holding visas to travel to Japan can still do so, other than those who have entered the United Kingdom or South Africa in the past 14 days.

Who Can Travel to Japan & What's Required? September 2022

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