Japan has had strict border restrictions since the Covid pandemic started in 2020, making travel to the country impossible for most. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, the number of international tourists to Japan fell from nearly 32 million in 2019 to just 250,000 in 2021. But when will we be able to go again? Here’s what you need to know.
Travel rules for Japan from the UK
As it currently stands, only foreign residents, business travellers and foreign students are allowed to enter Japan. To enter the country, they must present a negative Covid test certificate acquired within 72 hours of departure, a signed copy of the Written Pledge and a completed questionnaire administered digitally by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (available in multiple languages). Then, once in Japan and before leaving the airport, they must submit the above documents, take a PCR test and download the required health monitoring app. The number of days a person is then required to spend in quarantine is determined by where they are flying from and their vaccination status.
While Japan still has strict restrictions with a cap on arrivals from overseas, that looks set to change soon. In early May 2022, the country’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced at a news conference in London that Japan will ease border controls in June.
And it’s now been confirmed that relaxation of rules will begin from June 1, when the government doubles its daily cap on the number of international arrivals allowed to 20,000.
They will also ease Covid testing and quarantine rules for people arriving in Japan, dividing countries and regions into three groups according to the infection situation. Travellers from the lowest-risk “blue” group (believed to be around 80 per cent of likely entrants) will be exempt from testing upon arrival in Japan and quarantining at home, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference. They will still need to show a pre-departure negative test result.
Those in the “yellow” group will need to be tested for Covid upon arrival and stay for three days at home or quarantine facilities – however, this does not apply to people who have received their third vaccine dose. (around 68 per cent of those aged 12 and above in the UK).
People arriving from countries and regions placed in the highest-risk “red” group will be asked to take Covid tests when they enter Japan and stay for three days at quarantine facilities.
For now, if you’re hoping to travel to Japan, we recommend checking the government’s website regularly for updates and information on what you need to do to allow entry.