Traveling to Japan this 12 months? Here is what you require to know.


Tourism in Japan is back — like really back. International vacationer arrivals have been increasing exponentially due to the fact the nation reopened its borders in Oct, and now Japan is on tempo to receive 20 million website visitors this calendar year, according to Japan National Tourism Group (JNTO) statistics.

“Once Japan reopened, it exploded,” reported Catherine Heald, main govt of the Asia-focused luxury tour operator Remote Lands.

Kathie Callum, director of sales for the experience tour company Oku Japan, said they’ve had report-breaking revenue that have achieved or surpassed 2019 concentrations. “There’s 3 years of suppressed demand from customers that is all coming to the fore.”

Some Japanese travel companies experienced to transform down clients fascinated in spring journeys for the reason that of the large quantity of bookings, JNTO spokesperson Midori Matsumoto reported. The surge in demand will proceed over and above spring’s occupied cherry blossom time, and intercontinental tourists need to plan appropriately.

“I simply cannot predict the future but I advise booking something you can in advance, this kind of as tours, well known dining places, museums, theme parks and so on,” Matsumoto explained in an electronic mail.

Allow By The Way aid you navigate vacation dilemmas

What to know about covid and entry requirements

Vacationers from the United States do not have to have visas for visits up to three months. They’re allowed to enter Japan with a legitimate coronavirus vaccination certification or a adverse outcome of a test taken within just 72 hours of departure. As of November 2022, tourists can use a “Fast Track” company at Japan’s main airports to preregister for immigration, customs and vaccination review.

All mask tips for community areas such as transportation, colleges, theme parks and airlines were being lifted on March 13, but you’re probably to come upon several men and women continuing to mask as they did ahead of the pandemic. “There was always a custom of mask-putting on in Japan,” Callum reported.

“Some non-public businesses and organizations can request that individuals dress in a mask,” Callum stated. “But typically it’s now remaining up to the particular person.”

Pics | Welcome back to Japan

In advance of vacation, the U.S. Embassy endorses consulting the most up-to-date laws through the web site of Japan’s Overseas Affairs Ministry. The embassy also warns tourists that “many popular medications and about-the-counter medication in the United States are illegal in Japan, regardless of no matter whether you have a valid U.S. prescription.” That can include prescription drugs for colds, these types of as Sudafed, and for Incorporate/ADHD (Adderall), amongst other people. Examine the Ministry of Wellness, Labor and Welfare web-site and this FAQ for more facts on banned prescriptions and normal rules.

Solo travel: 7 lesson from a vacation to Tokyo

Exactly where to go outside of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto

Most people today are trying to find out vintage Japan vacation encounters, these as acquiring lost in the skyscraper mazes of Tokyo visiting temples and suffering from tea ceremonies in Kyoto and checking out road food items in Osaka. “Absolutely, they want to see the classics,” claimed Jeffrey M. Krevitt, vice president of internet marketing for Inside Travel Team, which owns InsideJapan Excursions. And “if it’s your to start with time to Japan, of class you have to go to Tokyo and Kyoto,” Heald reported. “But then insert a single or two stops that are off the crushed path.” Listed here are some alternatives.

  • For the foodstuff scene: Hokkaido. Even though Tokyo is the city with the most Michelin stars in the world, Naomi Mano, president and main government of the Tokyo-based luxury journey organization Luxurique, sends tourists to Japan’s northernmost prefecture for extraordinary eating and consuming — especially seafood, Sapporo-style ramen and breweries. “The cause why individuals go there is due to the fact the foodstuff is wonderful,” Mano claimed. While, for the “best crab in the planet,” she suggests Fukui prefecture.
  • To see rural Japan: Shikoku. The smallest of Japan’s most important islands is “almost like a magic formula place in which you can see the outdoors and standard everyday living,” Krevitt said of Shikoku. Heald sends character lovers to the island, which is home to just one of Japan’s oldest hot spring resorts, Dogo Onsen.
  • If you want a beach front: Okinawa. Okinawa is home to Japan’s best seashores and scuba-diving options, Mano mentioned. A closer option to Tokyo — yet not a international-vacationer magnet — is Hachijojima Island, accessible by boat or a 50-minute flight. “You can adhere your toes in an onsen and look at whales,” she mentioned. “Nobody genuinely understands about it.”

Ebook the place to remain — and consume — considerably in progress

Wherever you system to go, lock in your accommodations as early as attainable. As foreigners flood again into Japan and the state encounters a labor scarcity in the hospitality market, it may possibly be a battle to uncover accommodations for your journey dates, Callum and Heald say. That’s notably true throughout active journey durations, “even with the explosion of lodges that transpired in the run-up to the Olympics, and even after the Olympics.”

There’s even a lot more level of competition for smaller sized lodging selections these types of as ryokans (common inns), very hot spring resorts and temple stays. Even so, Callum nonetheless encourages tourists to factor those conventional qualities into their excursion, even if it is just for a handful of evenings, to get “a fantastic lodging experience that you only get in Japan.” Weekends might be unachievable at some, but you can glimpse to keep on weekdays, when less domestic travelers book.

The identical advice goes for other pieces of your vacation. Don’t depart your plans up to prospect, and make reservations for eating places, tea ceremonies and sporting situations.

“If there’s something you absolutely want to have as a portion of your practical experience … I would surely recommend booking all those in advance as perfectly just mainly because of the volume of persons that are coming to Japan,” Callum claimed.

The greatest way to recover just after a lengthy vacation day

Our city skilled exhibits travelers how to ride from Narita Worldwide Airport to Tokyo Station, step by move. (Online video: Yukari Sakamoto, Keith Bedford, Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)

How to get all-around: Subways and the Japan Rail Go

The greatest way to get close to Japan is applying its planet-renowned teach program, from the Tokyo subway to its lengthy-length trains. The etiquette for driving trains in Japan is significantly diverse from what in New York City or on Amtrak, so brush up on practice manners before boarding.

For individuals preparing on viewing a number of cities, think about obtaining a Japan Rail (JR) Move in advance of your departure. Search at the price ranges of any person educate tickets you might obtain, compared to the cost of distinctive passes to see if it’s a cost-helpful go.

The passes, readily available exclusively for foreign tourists in 7-, 14- or 21-working day increments, can be procured on line or at overseas JR-designated gross sales places of work or businesses. It is not a one-sizing-suits-all situation. Callum suggests seeking into the various regional rail passes. For a two-7 days vacation, for example, Callum suggests it could make a lot more feeling to purchase a standard Japan Rail Go for a single week, and a regional move the subsequent.

JR passes do not include subways and trams within just towns. You can make your everyday living much easier in Tokyo by acquiring working day passes for the subway. For about $6, you can get a Tokyo subway ticket for limitless journey on the Tokyo metro and Toei subway lines for the day. Two- and 3-working day tickets are just a pair bucks a lot more.

What’s warm in 2023: Concept parks and forest bathing

Krevitt says much more purchasers are asking about “forest bathing,” the Japanese follow of “taking in the ambiance of the forest.” Forest bathing involves “walking through the forest and going through it in a incredibly purposeful way,” he explained. “It’s just sort of rejuvenating and refreshing.”

Krevitt’s picks for forest-bathing locations involve the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails the Shinetsu path the woods surrounding Japan’s historical funds, Nara and Arashiyama in Kyoto.

But “there are so several locations that you can go to forest bathe,” said Mano of Luxurique. Her top rated picks are the Kagoshima prefecture’s Kyushu Island and Yakushima Islands, just one-fifth of which is a registered Natural World Heritage web page. The island and its ancient cedar trees are accessible by jetfoil boat, ferry or a 40-minute flight.

We frequented Studio Ghibli’s lengthy-awaited theme park. It is a sensory delight.

Vacationers can also forest bathe at Ghibli Park, the new 494-acre attraction with re-designed sets from 14 basic movies manufactured by the Studio Ghibli animation household. The park is numerous hours southwest of Tokyo, and crafted all over an existing general public area to reduce harm to the surroundings.

On the other close of the spectrum, Japan not long ago opened Tremendous Nintendo World at Common Studios Japan in Osaka, which is explained as an escape from the purely natural earth into a movie video game.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Typical Press Convention on March 14, 2023
Next post Kyodo News Digest: March 22, 2023