Japan is set to enact a series of reduced COVID-19 measures that would make it easier to visit the country starting September 7. According to Nikkei Asia, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he will scrap the need for a negative COVID test prior to arrival (for all travelers with at least three vaccine shots) and will increase the cap on daily visitors to the country.
Currently, travelers to Japan need to take a test for COVID within 72 hours of departure, which has been called a “major hindrance” for both international visitors and Japanese citizens looking to travel abroad. In addition, the daily cap on entrants will go up from 20,000—although Prime Minister Kishida did not mention an exact number. Some expect the number to increase to 50,000. The report by Nikkei Asia adds that Japan saw 100,000 visitors a day in 2019 prior to the pandemic.
Note: Some restrictions will likely remain in place. For instance, travelers with visas will still be required to enter on group tours, but they may no longer need to be accompanied by a guide. Meaning: Although Japan will allow self-guided travel, travel to the destination must be booked with a recognized tour operator or agent.
Japan initially reopened its borders in May 2022 and has been slow, if not intentional, in the further easing of protocols since.
“This is the announcement that we have been awaiting for so long,” said InsideJapan Tours’ Co-founder Simon King. “This change will finally allow all our customers to travel again. It seems that the requirement for visas remains in place, and as a government-licensed operator, InsideJapan is in a position to assist customers with the process just as it has done since June. So many people have waited years for the opportunity to travel to Japan, and their time is now upon us.”