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Borders are open for Packaged Tours
The Japanese government announced on May 26, 2022 that Japan will reopen for tourists visiting on packaged tours starting June 10, 2022. Here’s a quick breakdown of the details:
- Only tourists on packaged tours are allowed from June 10
- Entry limit updated from 10,000 to 20,000 people per day
- Packaged tours currently require three vaccination shots (including a booster)
- Depending on the country you’re coming from, you may not have to test upon arrival
- Gradually the restrictions on inbound tourists will be eased
- International flights into New Chitose Airport and Naha Airport resume by the end of June
The situation with COVID-19 continues to change here in Japan and around the world. The big questions are, “Are Japan’s borders open?”, “When will Japan reopen?” and “Will Japan Open Borders in 2022?”
Japan’s borders are slowly reopening from June for tour groups, but new visa holders are being allowed in for purposes other than tourism.
I’ll do my best to give you information about what’s happening here in Japan. Also, my personal opinion on when I think the borders to Japan will open for tourism.
I implore you to keep an eye on your Government’s travel advisory website, the JNTO website, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for any updates regarding the border restrictions in Japan.
Borders have slowly been reopening for Tourism
For months now people who are moving to Japan for school, work, etc, have been allowed into Japan. On May 17, 2022, the Government said they plan to accept small-scale vaccinated tour groups from the United States, Australia, Thailand, and Singapore starting in June.
These are fixed packaged tours on a trial basis and participants have to have their three COVID-19 vaccination shots.
There’s not much else for details yet, but we’ll update you once we know more.
Daily Life and COVID-19 Situation in Japan
As of now, Japan isn’t in any state of emergency. The Quasi-State of Emergency ended in March 2022. These “States of Emergencies” weren’t hard lockdowns like other countries. These were restrictions put in place for restaurants, theme parks, and businesses to reduce the capacity and put preventative measures in place.
As of May 5, 2022, there were 2320 reported cases in Tokyo and 20799 nationwide.
Overall, life carries on as normal here in Japan. With minimal restrictions but everyone wearing masks. Almost every place you visit requires you to wear a mask. I don’t see the mask-wearing changing any time soon.
Japan’s borders have been closed to tourism and have been since early 2020. However, if you’re a resident of Japan or hold a Japanese passport, you can enter the country with a required quarantine period.
As of March 1, 2022, Japan is allowing visa holders to enter Japan, such as students. Tourist visas are not issued unless under specific circumstances for family members.
On February 17, 2022, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that quarantine for returning Japanese Nationals and foreign residents are reduced to 3-days beginning in March. Also, foreign nationals are able to enter the country for purposes other than tourism.
Japan had a slow start with vaccinations but has picked up in the last few months. As of April 1, 2022, over 79% of the 125 million population are fully vaccinated. The country has already administered third shots and there are talks about a fourth booster shot.
Theme Park Capacity
If you’re able to travel to Japan, you might be interested in visiting a theme park. Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan currently do not have any guest capacity limits, which has led to high crowds during the spring break period.
In Japan and most parts of Asia, mask-wearing is commonplace even before the pandemic. In Japan, everyone wears masks without issue, and it’s socially expected of you to wear one. Many establishments make it mandatory to wear a mask, and you’ll be restricted entry if you don’t comply.
I expect wearing masks will continue for a long while, even after borders reopen for tourism. That means make sure masks are on your packing list.
Hopefully we’ll have some good news soon in that you can visit Japan without any kind of tour or, cross your fingers, any significant quarantine/testing rules that can add time and money to your planning. Hopefully this little post has been helpful but as always continue to check with your government’s regulations as well as the Japanese consulates where you live for up-to-date info.
Are you ready for Japan?
- Book Your Flights– To find the cheapest flights, flexibility is a must. Some great options are Google Flights for the calendars to find the cheapest options, Skiplagged, and Skyscanner. For more options see our resources page. For Japan, check flights for both Tokyo Airports (Haneda and Narita), as well as Osaka (Kansai).
- Find Transportation- Buy your JR Pass for your bullet train and inter-city travel before you leave home. Research a Suica card, the public transportation card you can either buy before or as soon as you arrive.
- Book Your Accommodation– Look at Booking.com, Hotels.com, or Expedia for hotels in Japan. You can also look at AirBnB or VRBO as we’ve had great luck finding inexpensive, large, and clean homes to rent.
- Book Tours and Experiences- Check Klook or Viator for some of the best tours and attractions for a great price for experiences like Tokyo Skytree, TeamLab Borderless, and Universal Osaka. For Tokyo Disney Resort, check my guide here.
- Stay Connected– Order a pocket WIFI for airport pickup if you’re with a family or group, or order a SIM card just for your phone. Check out our guide to staying connected here.
- Buy Travel Insurance- I always recommend World Nomads for insurance. It’s better to protect yourself in case of mishaps. Learn more about World Nomads in this FAQ post.
- Pack Your Bags– Check out my packing lists, or my favorite travel gear to help you remember all of the essentials.
- Learn About Japan– Learn about Japan with guidebooks like Lonely Planet, or, shameless plug, search around my site for more info.