From delicious ramen to impressive temples and monuments to a traditional tea ceremony to the beautiful cherry blossom season — there are many reasons why travelers want to visit Japan.
This Asian archipelagic country is home to over 125 million people and offers travelers unique cultural experiences, impressive buildings, fascinating technology, delicious cuisine, natural beauty and so much more!
But many things have changed in the past few weeks.
These are the 5 most important changes that travelers headed to Japan in 2023 should be aware of:
1) Japan Dropped Entry Requirements
Since the pandemic, Japan has issued strict rules, and up until now, there have still been COVID-19 entry measures in place.
However, the Japan National Tourism Organization recently announced that all COVID-19 entry requirements will be removed on May 8.
Travelers visiting Japan after May 8 will not need to show a Covid-19 Negative Test Certificate or a Valid Vaccination Certificate.
To make things even easier, American travelers do not need a visa to enter Japan and can stay for up to three months.
Traveling to Japan is now easier than it has been in years.
2) Train Travel Will Be More Expensive
Japan is not known as a cheap destination. On the contrary, it usually requires planning and good savings to afford it. And this year, prices are increasing.
Many travelers have been complaining about a new announcement regarding train travel in this country.
The Japan Rail Pass will increase prices by almost 70% for its multi-use pass, and from October, it will be a lot more expensive.
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The multi-use pass used to be a popular and cost-effective travel method to explore Japan.
The tickets went from around $220 (¥29,650) to $371 (¥50,000) for seven days and from $351 (¥47,250) to $593 (¥80,000) for 14 days.
Despite the price increase, travelers can find other routes and alternatives, and Tokyo remains one of the best cities in the world for travelers to get around on public transportation.
3) Expect Large Crowds — Many Travelers Are Headed To Japan
Many travelers are eager to explore Japan.
Maybe having strict travel rules made travelers even more interested, and now that entry requirements have been eased, this country is on everyone’s bucket list.
According to a recent JTB Corporation travel trend forecast, Japan expects inbound tourism to increase 450% in 2023.
Right now, visitors from all over the world are already flocking for the cherry blossom season.
After Japan opened its borders, multiple American airlines resumed services to popular destinations in this country, and more tourism programs reopened.
So yes, expect large crowds if you are visiting soon.
4) There’s a New Budget Route From The U.S.
Plane tickets to Japan have been traditionally expensive, but now a new airline is ready to revolutionize this idea.
The low-cost carrier ZIPAIR, based in Tokyo, is offering direct flights and new routes at great prices.
The airline has itineraries from Honolulu, Los Angeles, and San Jose, and —starting in June—San Francisco.
The standard adult fares are around $350, and the carrier has very special prices for children so families can create new adventures together.
5) Travelers Can Try The New Award Winning Experiences
There are plenty of things to do in Japan: visit Mount Fuji and the Tokyo Tower, have fun at Universal Studios Japan, admire the Sakura trees, or just taste delicious food.
There seem to be infinite attractions and experiences in the beautiful country.
But this year, travelers have recognized and award-winning experiences to choose from. Japan Travel Awards recently announced the winner travel experiences in Japan, and now visitors can include these on their list.
From learning to create yosegi-zaiku in Hakone, to taking great pictures in Chichibugahama Beach, to staying at the Wakura Onsen Tadaya Ryokan — these activities can make a difference for travelers and help them connect to the real Japanese culture and create unique travel memories.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com