We scour the news so you don’t have to – this page was last updated on 6th September 2022.
What’s the latest news?
On 31 August, there was very exciting news from the Japanese government regarding further easing of border restrictions. The latest news is that, as of 7th September, the borders will open to all types of travel – both Small Group Tours and independent.
There are still some restrictions (this is Japan after all), you can’t just buy a plane ticket and go:
- You will have to travel from one of 98 ‘low risk’ countries, including Australia, the UK, most of Europe, the US and Canada (and have spent the past 14 days in a low risk country)
- All trips need to be booked through a government approved travel agent or tour operator (like InsideAsia’s dedicated Japan travel company InsideJapan)
- You will also need a visa, we help our customers navigate this process by providing step-by-step advice and all the paperwork required. Right now, this involves a postal application followed by a trip to your nearest Japan consulate to collect.
You can find more general Covid-related news on our Latest Japan Covid News page.
Do I have to take a PCR test to travel to Japan? Do I need a vaccination?
You don’t have to be vaccinated to travel to Japan, but whether you need a PCR test does depend on your vaccination status:
- If you are unvaccinated, you have to take a pre-departure test.
- If you are triple vaccinated, you do not have to take a pre-departure test.
- There is no requirement for arrival testing regardless of vaccination status.
I have flights and hotels booked, can I get a visa?
Unfortunately not. You do, for now, need to book through an Japanese government authorised travel company/ tour operator (like us)!
What will the experience be in Japan after 7th September?
Government advice is for masks to be worn on public transport and some indoor venues but, contrary to what one might expect, there has never been a mask mandate in the country. Constitutionally, the Japanese government can’t mandate something like mask wearing, but you should expect some light mask wearing.
But life in Japan carries on as normal: shops, attractions and restaurants are open and full of local people.
The major difference is there are hardly any tourists! If you want to experience Kyoto as it was 20 years ago, visiting in autumn/ winter 2022 or spring 2023 offers a once in a lifetime opportunity!