Disclaimer: The travel rules and official government instructions are changing rapidly during the pandemic times and this article might NOT be up to date within a matter of hours. Therefore, you should always double-check the information with local authorities or your embassy in a given destination. Traveling Lifestyle does not take any responsibility for your decision to travel during pandemic.
In April 2021, Japan will reopen to international tourism with COVID testing on arrival and they will also need to submit a negative test prior to departure in the governmental health travel app.
COVID-19 brought havoc to the entire world, killing hundreds of thousands, sickening millions and devastating large swaths of the world’s economy.
Some industries were absolutely decimated. Among the worst hit was tourism, an industry that requires long travel and close contact – two things that were simply not possible at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thankfully, many places throughout the world are starting to recover from the disaster and so as Japan. Hopefully, in the next few months traveling to Japan will become possible.
As of October 17th, Japan has 91,431 confirmed COVID cases and 1,650 deaths caused by the virus. In the last 7 days, daily rate is between 400-700 new cases which is still quite high but it seems like the government has it under control. (Source: Wikipedia)
(6th Oct) Japan will reopen to tourists in April 2021
The Japanese government has released its plan for reopening to tourism in spring 2021, prior to the re-scheduled Olympics that will be starting on July 23rd.
In April 2021, Japan will reopen to international tourism with COVID testing on arrival but they will also need to submit a negative test prior to departure in the governmental health travel app.
If visitors will test negative on arrival, they won’t need to stay in the 14-day quarantine but they will need to report their health situation during the 14-days period.
If they test positive, they will need to quarantine for 14-days on their own expense or medical insurance cover at the hospital. (source: Soranews.com)
(27th Sept) Japan is opening for business travelers, students and long-term residents!
Japanese government has decided to start reopening borders in October.All countries will be welcome but only restricted groups of people such as business travelers, residents or students. Tourism will remain closed!
The strict regulations of entry will remain in place! All visitors will need to test negative before arrival and stay in self-isolation for 14 days. Also using public transport will be prohibited for them during that period. (source)
(19th Sept) New business corridor with Singapore opened
Japan reopened the travel/business corridor also with Singapore starting on September 18th. (source)
Summary of the countries that can travel to Japan at the moment:
Business Track (cross-border travel with 14-day quarantine:
(3rd Sept) New business corridor with 5 countries in Asia
Japan is reopening borders and easing the restrictions with Taiwan, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar, on September, 8th! (source: Japantimes.co.jp)
It only includes long-term expatriates, long-term residents, and those on short-term business trips.
14-day quarantine is required from the arrival day.
These 5 countries are important economical partners of Japan.
“Japan hopes to both prevent the spread of the coronavirus and recover business activities,” – said Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.
General Tourism Update – Japan
Japan has had international travel closed since March. However, at the moment, it appears that the country is readying itself for a reopening.
According to reports from the government, Japan is preparing to reopen its borders in September, citing a belief that the disease is finally coming under control and the need to restart its economy.
However, this reopening is likely to occur slowly, with travelers being allowed into the country only for business reasons at first – and even then, only from certain countries.
Travel in Japan Procedures
While Japan appears to be looking to reopen its borders in the next few weeks, that is not to say that their borders will be wide open, with no restrictions.
According to official government sources, Japan is only looking to reopen its borders to countries with whom they share close political and economic ties, as well as countries that have their outbreaks under control. This includes New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, China, Singapore, and Vietnam.
However, there will be restrictions, even among residents of those countries.
Anyone who enters Japan after being out of the country must quarantine for 14 days and will not be allowed to use public facilities or public transit. These restrictions will also apply to Japanese citizens who are returning from abroad.
Japan’s COVID Response
At the moment (as of September 3rd, 2020, Japan has seen 69,001 cases of COVID-19 in the country. 1,307 people have died.
Japan, like many countries throughout the world, experienced its first COVID case in January. The spread of the disease was more controlled in Japan than it was in some other countries, despite the fact that there were not as stringent legal restrictions put into place in the country as there were in other places.
While businesses were encouraged to shut down and enhanced social distancing guidelines were adopted, legal restrictions on most activities were not created.
That’s not to say that the government of Japan did nothing. A state of emergency was declared in the country by Prime Minister Abe. The emergency ran from April 7 – May 25. Internal travel restrictions were enforced.
However, those restrictions expired on June 19, and the citizens of Japan were allowed to travel the country free again. From a tourism perspective, this proved to be very good news, as it resulted in certain attractions opening their doors again. This will serve the country well when international travel does eventually restart.
The shutdown hit Japan in at least one particularly devastating way: It forced the postponement of the 2020 Olympics, which were set to occur July 24. The Olympics have been postponed until 2021, although more details must be forthcoming before they can formally restart.
However, Japan, like other countries, appears to be experiencing a second wave of the disease. New cases are surging across the country, including in Tokyo, the country’s Capitol, and the largest city. As a result, the Governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, has reinstituted requests for travel restrictions. He has not yet reinstituted a state of emergency, which would result in more stringent shutdowns. Furthermore, states of emergency have been reinstituted in the Okinawa and Aichi prefectures as a result of the disease’s resurgence.
Like in America, contact tracing has revealed that infections can largely be tacked back to social gatherings and people trying to go about their normal lives. Infections are also rising among younger people, signaling a new phase of the disease’s spread in the country.
At the moment, the second wave of the disease has not altered reopening plans for the country. However, that could always change.
What To Do In Japan
Thankfully, domestic travel has been largely unimpeded in the country since late May, thus ensuring that Japanese citizens can continue to visit their country’s own tourism sites.
This means that many attractions that would normally have been closed have begun to reopen for tours. This includes a wide array of Japan’s most popular sites, including the Tokyo Tower, Imperial East Gardens, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo National Museum, and more.
There is certainly no guarantee that all locations will be open, and it is absolutely worth it for you to check with travel authorities in order to ensure that the areas you want to see are already open. Furthermore, the COVID situation is a constantly evolving one. New Zealand, for example, went COVID-free for 102 days before recording a sudden nine cases. It is always possible that the situation on the ground may change, and that is something you should always be prepared for.
The good news, on the whole, is that Japan is clearly starting to reopen its borders for international tourism and recreational travel.