From 11 October, Japan will remove nearly all remaining entry requirements and allow regular tourism After over 2.5 years of strict restrictions. At a press conference in New York on Thursday (September 22nd), Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that Japan would be freed from its limit on daily arrivals. The country will also allow individual tourists to enter visa-free, allowing Americans to enter the country without having to go through the cumbersome tourist visa process.
The Long Time Is Coming
Travelers have kept an eye on Japan, as most of the world started to reopen earlier this year. During this time, Japan made only minor adjustments allowing travel under very strict conditions. The country did not allow foreigners to enter for tourism purposes until 10 June. Even then, restrictions on travelers seeking to circumvent the visa barrier were significant.
Travelers wishing to visit Japan could only do so by making a reservation with a tour operator. While in the country, they could not leave their tour group for any reason. Additionally, travelers had to comply with all local regulations or instructions from tour guides. Not the most exciting way to spend a vacation. Not surprisingly, tourism has done little to return under these restrictions.
The latest rule change is welcome news to international tourists and Japanese citizens alike. Digital Minister Taro Kono expression the announcement as well as what was felt by many on Twitter. “FinallyJapan will reopen the border…”
Finally, Japan will reopen the border. Visa exemption is back, no daily limit and free individual visits.
— KONO Taro (@konotaromp) September 22, 2022
Which Rules Still Apply?
Travel to Japan will be much easier on October 11, but some restrictions are still in place. Specifically, visitors entering Japan will need to either have received three vaccines of the Covid-19 vaccine or have a pre-arrival PCR test. All vaccinated persons will have to undergo a pre-departure test and will be able to travel to Japan as they did before the pandemic. The use of masks is still strongly recommended by the local government in certain situations, such as most public transport. Travelers should bring a few for the trip, just in case.
Last week, Travel Off Path reported that Japan is considering easing restrictions this fall. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s latest announcement confirms this and marks 11 October as the starting date when restrictions will be eased. The move comes after historic lows for Japan’s currency. Compared to the stronger US dollar, the yen is the weakest in 24 years.
Japan has been slow to reopen compared to other Asian destinations like Indonesia or Thailand and is paying the price. Japan’s previous visa requirements and harsh travel restrictions have made the country virtually inaccessible to most travelers, leading to a massive drop in tourism revenues. Japan set a new record for itself by hosting 31.88 million foreign visitors in 2019. This year has not seen numbers even remotely close to 2019, and the country is looking forward to regaining its tourism income.
To show how little effective Japan’s initiative was “opening” Consider the following statistic for tourism in June of this year. In July of this year, Japan welcomed around 144,500 international visitors. In July 2019, Japan received over 3 million! In total, July 2022 showed 95.2% decrease Number of visitors compared to 2019. It is clear that Japan needs to take a few more steps to re-establish itself in the tourism industry, and the country has finally decided to do so.
Welcome News for Travelers
Before the pandemic, Japan was steadily increasing the number of visitors it welcomes each year. Interest in the unique destination increased and the country looked set to continue breaking records. Japan’s extraordinary natural beauty and distinctive architecture are ideal for a picturesque vacation, and many travelers have long been waiting for today’s news.
In the words of Digital Minister Taro Kono, “Finally, Japan will reopen[!]”
This article was originally published on Travel Off Path. For breaking news that will impact your next trip, please visit: Traveloffpath.com
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions subject to change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or changes in travel requirements prior to travel. Travel Off Path does not approve travel that goes against government recommendations