Official: Japan Fully Reopening To Visitors In October

Official: Japan Fully Reopening To Visitors In October

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After over 2.5 years, Japan will finally be reopening its borders to tourists on a widespread basis.

Japan will welcome visa-free individual travelers

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has today announced that Japan will resume visa-free entry for individual foreign travelers as of October 11, 2022. This will bring Japan’s border rules close to pre-pandemic norms for the first time since the start of the pandemic, as Japan doesn’t require a quarantine for travelers regardless of vaccination status, and doesn’t require testing for vaccinated travelers.

With this change, short-term visitors that were exempt from visa requirements before the pandemic will once again be able to enter without having to apply for a tourist visa (this would include those from the United States, and dozens of other countries). To coincide with this, Japan is also lifting its cap on daily arrivals, as there will likely be a big influx of travelers.

Japan is hoping that the economy will be boosted through international tourism, as the Japanese Yen is currently at a 24-year low, making it a great time to visit Japan.

Interestingly Japan’s borders haven’t actually been closed for quite some time, there have just been a lot of restrictions around travel. For example, foreigners have needed a special visa to visit Japan, which could be arranged through a Japanese travel agency, or through a package tour. The visa requirement being eliminated will make visiting Japan much easier.

Japan will once again welcome foreigners with few restrictions

Japan has taken an unconventional approach

I’ve posed the question in the past about what exactly Japan’s plan was to reopen borders. It’s not like the country was taking a zero-tolerance approach with coronavirus, as Japanese nationals have been able to travel freely without testing or quarantine on the return, and the country has seen huge coronavirus outbreaks.

Unfortunately there was only one reasonable conclusion, which was that most Japanese people simply didn’t like having tourists in the country. According to polls, there was widespread public support for Japan’s policy up until now, allowing Japanese people to travel abroad freely, while not allowing foreigners in under most conditions.

Even though tourism has an economic benefit to Japan, that clearly didn’t outweigh the anti-foreigner sentiment that existed. Japan is one of my favorite countries in the world, though I’ll certainly feel a little bit less welcome the next time I’m there, knowing just how widespread the dislike of foreign tourists is.

There’s a strong anti-foreign tourist sentiment in Japan

Bottom line

Japan will be reopening to individual travelers on a visa-free basis as of October 11, 2022. While Japan’s borders haven’t been closed, you’ve had to jump through some hoops to visit the country under the current policies, so it’s nice to see that changes are coming next month.

Japan was one of the few remaining countries popular with tourists to still have huge restrictions on visitors, so this is significant.

Anyone plan on visiting Japan now that borders are fully reopening?

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  1. Tony Guest

    If it's shocking to learn that Japanese people don't care for foreigners, you haven't met very many Japanese people. It's a very insular culture.

  2. warren trout Guest

    Very true. I lived in Japan for two years. I was always treated well, but non Japanese will always be an outsider. They are very nationalistic and, like the Chinese, mix nationalism with racism. The two are one in the same.

    Even so, I loved living there. So interesting! Best of all there is almost no violent crime of any kind. Don't credit gun control; there's just very low violence of any kind.

  3. Jugsk Guest

    Hi everyone, what do you think about booking non refundable flights already now without waiting for the news to be on the governmental websites and all? Safe enough? Feels a bit scary to pay so much money for something that is not 100% confirmed yet... Thanks!

  4. Paul R Guest

    that resentment is felt because of the poor behaviour of some tourists!
    the behaviour of 4 young men I witnessed in an onsen was appalling, and showed a total lack or respect.

  5. Bob Guest

    About damn time. Too bad I was hoping for a late sept reopening with my ANA booking and had to cancel. Trying to rebook now with awards and I mind as well try to find Jimmy hoffas body. Not easy trying to find non waitlisted seats.
    Really, nobody wants tourists in their home towns but it's a necessary nuisance if you want the income it generates.

  6. JB Guest

    Booked a ticket for the 14th :)

  7. Jason Guest

    Lucky the truth is not that they don’t want foreigners in the country, they just didn’t want a certain neighbor country coming in droves like before.

    Americans and Europeans are different.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      Uh huh. What was kurofune about? ;-)

    2. Mark Guest

      About 170 years ago, that's what kurofune was about.

  8. xx Guest

    Taiwan will be reopening without any restrictions from 10/13 too .

    1. Andrew Diamond

      That's awesome news! Grand Hyatt Taipei time!

  9. Sam Guest

    Great! Can finally fly into NRT, out of HND & the opposite. Adds a TON of award options:-)

  10. Jason Guest

    Apparently not self motivated but pressured by other G7 countries.
    Even if Japan ran its Go Europe campaign for more than a century, its COVID restrictions demonstrated that the core of the country is still undeniably Sinosphere.

  11. Cam Member

    Pleased as punch. I planned a week in Japan as part of my round the world honeymoon months ago, and it looks like we're all set on that front. What an enormous relief.

  12. mike Guest

    ah crap.... bet too early... my ticket to Japan is Oct 8th....

  13. lsbuffs Guest

    Anybody know what they mask requirements are, both flying to Japan and while in-country? I assume 99.9% of Japanese are wearing masks, restrictions or not.

    1. HarryOB Guest

      I was there in August. Masks are expected indoors, but not actually required. You have to do the wear it to the table routine at restusrsnts. I did see some Japanese completely blowing it off, but only a few.

      They're worn outdoors in crowded places by about 75% or so of the people I saw. Nobody was wearing them in hiking areas at all.

      They're generally fine with any mask and you'll see many Japanese...

      I was there in August. Masks are expected indoors, but not actually required. You have to do the wear it to the table routine at restusrsnts. I did see some Japanese completely blowing it off, but only a few.

      They're worn outdoors in crowded places by about 75% or so of the people I saw. Nobody was wearing them in hiking areas at all.

      They're generally fine with any mask and you'll see many Japanese wearing comfy cloth or spandex masks instead of surgical or better masks.

    2. Andrew Diamond

      Flying to japan = masks required. I did it twice in the last two weeks (from SFO and ICN), stated and enforced required on both flights.

    3. Other Andrew Guest

      What if you're in first class and it's just you and your spouse? Looks like we're the only ones in F for our October 4th ANA flight currently.

    4. Odinson83 New Member

      ??? If I'm reading between the lines here. I'm speechless. And yes I now see you do more. Lol

  14. Justsaying Guest

    Now Hong Kong and the rest of Asia get it together or simply be left behind. :)

    1. Harry Guest

      Thailand dropped jab and testing effective Oct 1. THAT is what you call FULLY reopened

  15. Alyssa from middle of nowhere Canada Guest

    [Even though tourism has a big economic benefit to Japan, that clearly didn’t outweigh the anti-foreigner sentiment that existed.]

    That's actually not true. Contribution from foreign tourists to the Japanese economy was only less than 0.5% before COVID. Japan is not like Italy or Spain where their economies are heavily depending on tourism.

    Facts check, please.

  16. Graham Guest

    Gahhh we also have two seats booked in ANA F departing LAX on...10/05. Anyone have idea how it works if they go visa-free while you're in-country? I'd really hate to lose these seats, but I'd also hate to not go at all. Man, glad to see a full reopening, but really wish this was happening a week earlier!!

    1. Andrew Guest

      You need to get an evisa. To get an evisa you need a tour company to sponsor you and provide you an ERFS (you can still book your own flight and hotels, they just rubber stamp your itinerary). It costs between 15,000 to 30,000 yen per person currently. I would head over to flyertalk as there is a page with all the information. I applied for an ERFS from a tour company (got it in...

      You need to get an evisa. To get an evisa you need a tour company to sponsor you and provide you an ERFS (you can still book your own flight and hotels, they just rubber stamp your itinerary). It costs between 15,000 to 30,000 yen per person currently. I would head over to flyertalk as there is a page with all the information. I applied for an ERFS from a tour company (got it in 24 hours). I then applied for an evisa and it took 5 business days for the embassy to approve. I would highly recommend applying by tomorrow at the latest if you want to go to Japan on 10/5. Best of luck!

    2. Graham Guest

      Which one did you go with? JGA looks like it isn't accepting new applications...

    3. Andrew Guest

      I did JGA. Other people have had success with Holigoes. JGA was super easy but obviously they’re not working anymore.

    4. Anika Guest

      I would recommend https://gowithguide.com/. They told we need to book a "tour" every two days. It doesn't matter how long the duration of the tour is. For example: we go for a run with our local guide in Tokyo for one hour. The tour is 25 € for the two of us.
      The service fee you have to pay for the ERFS depends on how much money you spend and is not per person.

      ...

      I would recommend https://gowithguide.com/. They told we need to book a "tour" every two days. It doesn't matter how long the duration of the tour is. For example: we go for a run with our local guide in Tokyo for one hour. The tour is 25 € for the two of us.
      The service fee you have to pay for the ERFS depends on how much money you spend and is not per person.

      We booked all tours at the weekend and received the ERFS on the following Monday.

      Altogether they were very helpful.

      Sorry, English is not my mother tongue. But if you need more information, please feel free to contact me.

    5. Todd Guest

      That's nowhere near accurate or correct.

      As of Sept 1, You no longer need to book a tour (it's "self-guided"). You simply pay a fee to the travel agency to process the ERFS and apply for a Visa. Once you get an entry Visa, it's good for 90 days.

  17. abey Guest

    with 0 restrictions ????

  18. Andrew Guest

    Paid for an e-visa for October 4th. Glad I didn’t waste my money. Can’t wait for ANA’s F suites from JFK! Honestly thought this trip wouldn’t happen.

    1. Odinson83 New Member

      I never lose. I either win or I learn.

  19. Andrew Diamond

    Well, there goes the ANA first award availability. ;-)

    1. Todd Guest

      There was none to begin with as the Japanese government restricted the number of passengers that could enter Japan.

    2. Andrew Guest

      I have two F seats from JFK on October 4th booked with Virgin Atlantic points. They are available, but they are always snapped up immediately.

    3. Andrew Diamond

      That's not true, Todd. ANA just worked to increasingly restrict (and in the case of LAX, eliminate first cabin on some of the flights.) I took a first flight back from NRT-> SFO yesterday, but I booked it in 2021 when they were more generally available.

      Andrew guest is correct - I can find JFK availability, in case flying an extra 5 hours per direction works for west coast people. Not for me, unfortunately.

  20. Timo Gold

    Hello! But do they require vaccine?

    1. Alyssa from middle of nowhere Canada Guest

      Yes, Lucky wrote like Japan would be completely restrictions free. but that is Simply WRONG.
      You need to be fully 3 vaxxed to be able to enter the country without pre PCR test.
      If you haven't got any shot or only with 2 shots, you will need to get tested before your flight. This might change soon but I doubt it.

    2. Andrew Diamond

      I know opinions on this are mixed, but I would really prefer a vaccine to another brain-poke. Just got back from SK, and they did not go "gentle" on my entry test. Sinus congestion gone, at least.

    3. Alysda Guest

      There's no entry testing in Japan.
      Just pre flight pcr test (within 72hrs)is needed IF in you aren't vaccinated at all or less than 3 shots.

    4. notbad41 Guest

      What about the J&J? I don't want to get boosters.

    5. Alysda Guest

      For J&J vaxxed, you need another shot to be considered as fully 3vaxxed. If you don't want any more shots, you just need pre flight PCR test. At least for now. This gets more complicated if you are coming from non G7 countries.

  21. Todd Guest

    Figures. I just paid for an e-Visa under the current scheme for a trip in November.

    I never would have imagined Japan would move THAT quickly to fully re-open.

  22. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    "Japan’s policy up until now, allowing Japanese people to travel abroad freely, while not allowing foreigners in under most conditions."

    Which other countries should've never allowed... but I guess that's moot now.

    1. Matthewsf Guest

      Any word on if airlines like United, Singapore, etc. will be increasing their flight frequency (and seats) to increase passenger loads to return there?

  23. Mike O. Guest

    How about a trip report on ANA's A380 while you're at it?!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Alyssa from middle of nowhere Canada Guest

[Even though tourism has a big economic benefit to Japan, that clearly didn’t outweigh the anti-foreigner sentiment that existed.] That's actually not true. Contribution from foreign tourists to the Japanese economy was only less than 0.5% before COVID. Japan is not like Italy or Spain where their economies are heavily depending on tourism. Facts check, please.

4
Cam Member

Pleased as punch. I planned a week in Japan as part of my round the world honeymoon months ago, and it looks like we're all set on that front. What an enormous relief.

3
Bob Guest

About damn time. Too bad I was hoping for a late sept reopening with my ANA booking and had to cancel. Trying to rebook now with awards and I mind as well try to find Jimmy hoffas body. Not easy trying to find non waitlisted seats. Really, nobody wants tourists in their home towns but it's a necessary nuisance if you want the income it generates.

2
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