When will it be safe to travel to Japan? Hopefully soon! 

Japan re-opened to non-Japanese travellers on October 1st—however- this will be limited to people planning long stays. The latest regulations exclude tourists at this stage, and are aimed at business and educational travel.

A gradual reopening of Japan’s borders towards short-time visitors is being prepared, but it is currently undecided when tourists will again be able to enter the country.

But that could all be set to change in early 2021. Japan is reportedly planning to reopen borders to all international travellers next spring, maybe as early as April 2021. The idea is that entry bans will be lifted before the scheduled Tokyo Olympic Games next summer.

The Japanese government is considering opening its borders for foreign tourists in time for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next year, according to Economic Revitalisation Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura.

Nishimura said that as the government considers how it should relax strict travel bans on foreign visitors in time for next summer, it will also strengthen its airport quarantine and coronavirus testing measures (Nippon.com)

Rumours from sources close to the Japanese government are that such a roadmap may include a trial period which could begin in April 2021 (Japan Times). The sources also indicated that measures could include:

– a consultation centre for foreign tourists regarding coronavirus
– requesting tourists to provide updates on their health using a smartphone app
– requirements for all visitors to have passed negative for the coronavirus prior to departure and upon entering Japan
– requirements for all visitors to have private medical insurance should they become infected in Japan
– an exemption of the current quarantine period of 14 days if visitors report their health condition via the app

When borders do reopen, visitors are expected to be subjected to testing before travel and on arrival. People visiting the country may also have to download an app to monitor their health for a period of two weeks.

Here are all the details on current travel restrictions and safe travel tips.

Is Japan open to travel now?

At present, almost all non-Japanese are barred from visiting or transiting Japan. As mentioned above, Japan has started to allow business travel from certain Asian nations where the pandemic is under control: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore (see the official Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs page for full application details). We expect this list to expand in the coming months. Following this, we expect Japan to start allowing tourists to enter, but the timetable is unclear. We will publish details here as they are released.

Tips for Safe Travel in Japan

Here are some useful tips to ensure a safe trip during these unusual times.

  • Masks are available at drug stores, supermarkets and some department stores. You can also pick them up at airports in Japan.
  • Hand sanitizer is available at most places that sell masks.
  • If you want as much distance around you as possible on trains, consider green cars, especially on the shinkansen.
  • Many restaurants in Japan offer private rooms, which are called “koshitsu.” Your hotel concierge can help you locate such restaurants and reserve them for you.
  • Consider visiting popular destinations early in the morning or just before they close in the late afternoon. Or, consider visiting off-the-beaten-track destinations.

Make sure to visit the Japan Holidays website regularly – or follow us on our social media platforms – for all the latest updates on travelling to Japan.