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6 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Japan [LATEST UPDATE]

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

Akihabara, Tokyo | Image Courtesy of Jezael Melgoza

Japan has officially welcomed independent foreign tourists once again after two and a half years of restricting international travel. The government reintroduced visa-free entry last October 11. Find out what it means to you, which restrictions still apply, and everything you need to know before coming to Japan.

1. Visa-Free Entry

Short-term international tourists may visit Japan without a tourist visa. Pre-pandemic, Japan allowed visa-free short-term travel for people from 68 countries and regions, including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan.

The same visa exemption for short-term visits before the pandemic applies to these countries. A short-term visit is 90 days for most countries, 15 days for countries like Thailand and Indonesia, or 14 days for Brunei.

2. Vaccine, Tests, and Quarantine

As for entry requirements, international travelers are still required to show proof of vaccination. Visitors may present a certificate of the third dose of a vaccine on the World Health Organization’s emergency-use list. If one cannot show proof of vaccination, they only need to present a certification of negative COVID-19 test result which must be taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Japan.

The government has removed its COVID-19 testing policy upon arrival and self-quarantine protocols for some people. However, upon arrival, you will be evaluated based on your 14-day travel history.

Japan has categorized countries into three zones for entry: Red, Yellow, and Blue. If you have visited a country in the Yellow or Red groups, you will be subject to certain conditions. Travelers from “high-risk” destinations may be required to take a test and quarantine based on their vaccination status.

Check out the complete of countries under the Red and Yellow categories.

3. Tourist Limit

There will be no more limit on the number of individual travelers coming into Japan compared to the previous mandate that allows up to 50,000 visitors only. Japan is almost ready to accept international travelers at scale.

4. Escorted Package Tours

Tourists are also free to roam around most tourist attractions across the country without travel agencies. When the Japanese government started to open borders to international tourists later in 2020, they were required to book escorted package tours through travel agencies. This mandate was strengthened in June 2022. The good news is, you are free to go around on your own without travel agencies.

5. COVID-19 Cases

Since late August, the number of new infections across the country has been declining. The daily average of new infections recorded in the second week of October is 33,424. The government has promised to strike a balance between promoting social and economic activity and managing infections.

Since late March 2022, restaurants, leisure facilities, and big events have slowly returned to business as usual. Nevertheless, many attractions and establishments still require the wearing of face masks.

6. MySOS

All international tourists arriving in Japan are encouraged to download the MySOS app or visit the MySOS website to fast-track their arrival process. Complete the pre-registration at least 6 hours prior to your flight’s scheduled arrival time.

That’s all you need to know before visiting Japan. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable visit now that we’re open.

If you need a local guide in Tokyo, check out our Tokyo Free Walking Tour where we will bring you to the most popular things to see in the city. Book a slot here.

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