Japan to reopen from October 11: what to know

No visas, arrival caps or quarantine requirements mean Japan’s borders will soon be the closest to pre-pandemic in two and a half years

Japan is back on our itineraries! The Japanese media has announced it will fully relax border restrictions in just over two weeks.

From October 11, 2022, one of the world’s most desired tourist destinations will allow a free flow of international visitors after two and a half years of notoriously tight border restrictions.

mt fuji
Mount Fuji is Japans tallest mountain which attracted more than a million visitors each year before the pandemic

What is changing?

The border changes follow Japan’s steady easing of COVID-19 entry requirements in recent months. Most recently those entering the country were required to go through a lengthy tourist visa application process.

The visa-waiver system – including Australia and 68 other countries – has been brought back in, while the previous arrivals cap of 50,000 inbound arrivals has been completely scrapped.

Unfortunately, those who have paid to obtain a tourist visa for entry after October 11 won’t need the costly piece of paper.

Japan’s recent announcement also means arrivals will no longer be required to book through a travel agent or be part or a group tour to enter.

What are Japan’s entry requirements from October 11?

While visiting Japan is about to get a whole lot easier, the following requirements will still apply:

  • Your passport must be on the visa-free country list
  • You must have spent the past 14 days (prior to entry) in a ‘blue’ category country (this currently includes Australia and 128 other countries and regions)
  • Minimum of three COVID vaccine doses

What if I’m not vaccinated?

Those who have had two COVID vaccine doses (or none at all) can still enter Japan by taking a PCR test within 72 hours before departure.

There is no requirement for children under the age of 18 to be vaccinated, but they will similarly need to take a PCR 72 hours prior to travel.

Snap them up: Start booking flights and accommodation

Once unrestricted travel to Japan opens back up, we can expect to see unprecedented demand for flights and accommodation bookings. With that in mind, those planning a visit should look to secure bookings as soon as possible.

In the near-term, we can expect to see airlines increase services between Australian and Japanese cities. As flights ramp up, frequent flyer members will hope to see additional award seats open up on airlines including Qantas, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Hotel enthusiasts are encouraged to book now to take advantage of sharp pricing before demand outstrips supply.

While the cost of accommodation in Japan is notoriously high, at the time of writing, there are still bargains to be had. In fact, The Champagne Mile founder, Adele, has just booked in a corner suite at Conrad Tokyo for just $270 USD per night!

And, Accor Plus members will once again be able to put the ‘Stay Plus’ free night benefit to good use in Japan, with a number of high-end properties offering availability across peak periods (including Cherry Blossom season).

Wrapping up

Despite previously holding on to hard border restrictions while much of the world has moved on from pandemic-era travel rules, Japan’s welcomed decision to abolish restrictions is expected to give its economy a much-needed boost.

Pre-pandemic tourism figures topped an all-time high of 31.9 million foreign visitors in 2019, but drastically plummeted to around 246,000 in 2021, which has seen the Japanese Yen fall to its lowest level in 25 years.

Consequently, a favourable currency, value across luxury hotels and travel experiences, warm hospitality, a gentle culture and world-famous landscapes are ready and waiting for budding visitors.

From powdery ski slopes to world-class waves, iconic architecture and booming tech and cosmetics industries, we can expect tourists to flock back to Japan’s many appealing attractions.

Is Japan high on your post-pandemic travel list?

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