Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has confirmed in an official announcement that Japan will re-open its borders to allow visa-free, individual tourists as of October 11th. Until now, travelers to Japan were required to book their trip via travel agencies, but as of October 11th that will no longer be the case. Kishida also plans to remove the cap on people entering the country.
What Does This Mean?
If you have been waiting to travel to Japan since March 2020, your wait is over!
In June, the restrictions were eased as tourists were allowed to enter, provided they applied for a visa and booked a guided tour. Then in September, tourists were allowed to enter without a tour, but only if they booked everything via a travel agency. Now, these restrictions will be lifted completely, and according to the Japan Times, visas will no longer be required as individual tourism is reinstated.
What About Vaccinations?
According to the Japan Times article, “tourists will need to be vaccinated three times or submit a negative COVID-19 test result”.
Will I Need to Wear a Mask?
Where other countries may have relaxed their mask-wearing restrictions, wearing masks in Japan is still required (or if not required, expected) in many situations.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare website has the most recent information about mask-wearing while in Japan. Here are the regulations according to the site:
■Outdoors： You do not need to wear a mask outdoors when you are approximately 2 meters apart from others, or when you are not talking at a distance of less than 2 meters.
■Indoors： You do not need to wear a mask indoors when you are approximately 2 meters apart from others and when you are not talking.
■For Children： Children don’t need to wear masks at a distance of Approximately 2 meters from others. All preschool children are not required to wear a mask.
Domestic Travel Subsidy Program
Japan Times reports a subsidised travel program is to start from October 11th, available for people who have been vaccinated three times or provide a negative COVID-19 test. It will offer a subsidiary of 11,000 yen per person for a one-night stay.
Kyodo News states that Prefectural governments have the authority to determine the implementation period, and whether the scheme will run in their prefecture or not. They will also be able to suspend the scheme depending on the infection numbers in their prefecture.
By welcoming individual tourists back into the country, the Japanese government hopes this increase in tourism will give the economy a much-needed boost.
Are you planning to travel to Japan after the restrictions lift?