Japan is set to remove its remaining COVID-19 border restrictions, making travel to the country more convenient. According to the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, visitors to Japan will no longer be required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival starting May 8, 2023.
The move is in response to Japan’s plan to reclassify COVID-19 from a Class 2 virus, which includes diseases like tuberculosis and diphtheria, to Class 5, a less serious category that also includes the common cold and seasonal flu.
The decision to downgrade COVID-19’s classification and eliminate the border measures is expected to make travel to Japan easier for tourists and business travelers alike.
Limited Reopening In 2022
After the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Japan imposed some of the toughest travel restrictions. The country was also slow to reopen to international visitors.
Only in June 2022 did the country start welcoming foreign tourists back, however with a limit on the number of visitors allowed. An additional requirement to participate in government-sanctioned tours made travel to Japan inflexible and unpopular. Travelers also had to apply for visas, which U.S. leisure travelers had been exempt from before the pandemic.
Independent travelers were only allowed to visit Japan without supervision and without a visa in October 2022. However, they were still required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (including at least one booster shot) or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival.
These requirements will remain in place until May 8, 2023.
Reasons To Visit Japan
Japan is a country steeped in history and culture, offering visitors a unique and captivating experience. The country’s history is visible throughout its landscape, providing insight into Japan’s fascinating past.
In addition to historic sites, visitors can immerse themselves in traditional Japanese culture through experiences like tea ceremonies and sumo wrestling matches.
Japan is also a favorite for its cuisine, with an abundance of healthy, delicious options. From fresh sushi and sashimi to hearty ramen and udon noodles, visitors can indulge in a variety of Japanese dishes. Local delicacies, such as takoyaki and okonomiyaki, offer a unique culinary experience.
The country’s modern cities, like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, are bustling centers of technology, fashion, and entertainment. Visitors can explore the vibrant streets, shop for unique souvenirs, and experience Japanese pop culture. Trendy nightclubs and karaoke bars provide exciting nightlife options.
Japan’s natural beauty is another draw for tourists, with stunning landscapes like Mount Fuji and the iconic cherry blossoms that bloom every spring. Hot springs, or onsen, provide a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
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