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Japan? Soon? Please! When will Japan reopen to travellers?

"When will Japan reopen to travellers?" remains the million-dollar question. This week saw more pressure put on the Japanese government to establish a roadmap to opening "as soon as is safely possible."

“When will Japan reopen to travellers?” remains the million-dollar question. This week saw more pressure put on the Japanese government to establish a roadmap to opening “as soon as is safely possible.”

Kyodo News reported that at a meeting on Wednesday, April 27, a handful of government advisers called for Japan to create a roadmap for reopening to foreign tourists.

According to Kyodo News, members of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy are now urging the government to further relax its entry caps on foreign arrivals and other border restrictions if the current policies prove to be less effective in curbing the spread of Covid-19.

While economic revitalisation minister Daishiro Yamagiwa maintained that the timeline for easing restrictions should be considered carefully, a number of officials suggested that the government should provide set criteria for further easing its travel ban.

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Kyoto. Image: Bunnik Tours

Currently, all visa holders can enter Japan, except for the tourist’s category and including:

  • Students and technical interns
  • People on business
  • Families, up to the third degree, mainly to the in-laws of Japanese citizens, and more importantly to grandparents of “half” babies born before or during the Coronavirus pandemic

Arrivals are asked to quarantine in Japan for three days and are required to test negative on the final day of that period. Those who have been fully vaccinated (3 shots) and arrive from countries where infections are stabilising (including Australia) don’t need to quarantine at all.

So when can we expect Japan to reopen to travellers?

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Tokyo, Japan. Image: Jezael Melgoza/Unsplash

The jury is still out on this one, but some are suggesting a mid-year timeline could be on the cards. Harry Sergeant from Inside Travel Group suggests it could be even earlier.

“Some people feel that Japan won’t budge until after the upper-house election in July. However at InsideJapan, we feel that this isn’t certain to be the case, and there is a decent chance that once Japan shows a willingness to actively consider the topic, things could move quite fast.

“We have got plenty of Aussies booked in to travel in the second half of 2022, especially during Sep and Oct, when family trips and hiking holidays are popular in Japan. And plenty of enquiries are coming in from our best agents for family ski and culture trips during the Aussie summer school holidays.

“Japan has many devoted Aussie powder fans who can’t wait to get back on the slopes!”

At an event held in Sydney in March, Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) Executive Director of the Sydney Office, Yoko Tanaka said, “The border is opening step by step, with business travellers and international students currently able to enter, so we know consumer travel is the next logical step.

“We cannot wait to welcome Australians back to Japan and now is the time to start planning a trip.”

Stay tuned for more…