Japan to Reopen Borders to Tourists – But There’s a Catch! | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
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Japan to Reopen Borders to Tourists – But There’s a Catch!

By Alex Gray May 31, 2022

There are many people all over the world waiting for Japan to reopen its borders to tourists. The borders have been closed and inbound tourism halted for over two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that is about to change.

Japan Opening Borders to Tourists From June

a picture of Osaka

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Last week on May 26 Prime Minister Fumio Kishida explained that from June 10 foreign tourists will be allowed into Japan, but only on package tours. Slowly step by step Japan will accept tourists while taking the status of COVID-19 infections into account.

Trial package tours with tourists from overseas started last week. These small-number group tours are available to book via travel agencies, with some requirements. 

There is a current daily cap on new arrivals from overseas at 10,000 which increased when foreign students and business travellers gained access, and the government states it will raise the cap to 20,000 to allow more arrivals into Japan.

Compared to other countries Japan’s restrictions are on the strict side, to say the least, with many other countries lowering restrictions and opening their borders fully in recent months. Since the start of the pandemic, the government has kept strict measures in place in order to prevent spread of the virus. Such measures even kept international residents of Japan with a valid residence out of the country if they happened to find themselves overseas at the start of the pandemic. 

Travel to Japan Through Select Package Tours 

tourists sightseeing in japan

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New escorted package tours mean visitors from the 98 low-risk countries on the Blue list (including United Kingdom, United States, South Korea and China) will be allowed in, but they will have to follow the rules and regulations. Such rules will probably include sticking to the pre-made itinerary which allows for little free-time, and follow mask-wearing regulations. The government recently stated that masks can be removed outside when 2 meters away from another person, as a combat against heatstroke. Staying 2 meters away from people may seem a little difficult in Japan’s busy cities.

The guides escorting the visitors on the tour are expected to ensure visitors comply with these regulations and the tourism industry plan to create anti-virus guidelines. The visitors will be quizzed on feedback throughout the tour so that packages can be improved. Visitors from the Blue list countries will not be required to take PCR tests at the airport or quarantine, at the time of writing anyway.

Stay tuned on more information about the package tours and where to book them!

Relaxing Quarantine and Entry Requirements

pcr test form

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From June there will also be a relaxation of quarantine measures and PCR tests at the airport. The government has categorised countries and regions into three different groups Red, Yellow and Blue (Red being the high-risk and Blue low risk), allowing a smoother entry for low-risk countries. While it is still required for departees from all countries to take a PCR test 72 hours before departure, low-risk countries no longer require to take arrival PCR tests nor quarantine after arrival. But as we know, these rules are subject to change at any time. 

Japan Reopening For Tourists – What Do You Think?

man walking the streets of Japan

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With Japan being closed from visitors the last two years, sometimes it’s felt like we’ve been living in a bubble. The restrictions have remained confusing for both Japanese and internationals living in Japan, but things are looking up.

How do you feel about the borders reopening for tourists? If you are living overseas and hoping to visit Japan, escorted tour or not then this could be your chance. Hopefully with the tours prove successful and Japan will allow for a more relaxed approach to tourism. If you are living in Japan you might be looking forward to your loved ones visiting. Maybe you work in the tourism or service industry and have been hit hard by the sudden halt in tourism.

We would love to know what you think about Japan opening its borders to overseas visitors. Give us a comment or send us a message on Instagram, you can find us at @guidablejapan.

More reads:


How to Get a PCR Test as a Foreign Resident in Japan

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