visa, valid vaccines, PCR tests and more

After two-plus years of tight border restrictions, Japan finally scrapped its daily entry cap and fully reopened to international tourism on October 11 2022. This means that travellers no longer have to book their trips through a travel agency and visa-free entry is back on.

Coming to Japan is a lot simpler now than it was a few months ago, but there are still a couple of things you will need to prepare for your trip. Here’s everything you need to know about Japan’s latest entry requirements.  

No more quarantine

This is a big one. Until October 10, which of the three entry protocols travellers needed to follow depended on whether the country they are arriving from falls into the ‘red’, ‘yellow’ or ‘blue’ category. On October 11, however, Japan ditched this red-yellow-blue country classification system along with the last of its quarantine requirements upon reopening.

Tourists coming from countries that were previously deemed to be ‘high-risk’ for Covid-19 are longer required to quarantine. Only travellers who are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms will be administered a PCR test on arrival. More information here (in Japanese only).

Tourists are no longer required to book their trips via travel agencies 

Spontaneous travel is back on as tourists aren’t required to book their accommodation and flight tickets through travel agencies as of October 11. This also means tourists no longer have to obtain a certificate through the Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS).

Visa-free travel is back on 

While Japan suspended its visa exemption agreements for the majority of the pandemic, the government resumed visa-free travel on October 11. This means that passport holders from any of these 68 countries and regions designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs no longer have to apply for a tourist visa.

No pre-arrival PCR tests for triple-vaccinated travellers 

In September, Japan changed the entry rules to exempt fully-vaccinated (booster dose included) travellers from pre-arrival PCR tests. Non-vaccinated travellers will be required to submit a negative PCR test 72 hours before departing for Japan. 

Travellers are still urged to submit their docs online  

While quarantine is no longer required of most travellers, both Japanese citizens and foreign nationals are urged to expedite immigration procedures by pre-registering their travel documents online. Previously, this was done through the MySOS app, but the pre-registration system was transferred to Visit Japan Web on November 11.

Through the Visit Japan Web Fast Track system, you’ll be able to digitally register your Covid-19 vaccine certificate or negative test certificate and fill out the necessary forms prior to your arrival.

If you skip this step, you’ll have to fill out all your information at the airport, so you may as well save yourself the hassle and do it ahead of your flight. Once you’ve submitted all the necessary information, you will receive a QR code that you can show to immigration officials upon arrival.

For more information on the Fast Track service, visit here.

Accepted Covid-19 vaccines 

Japan has recently expanded its list of valid Covid-19 vaccinations to be in line with those approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation. So on top of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Bharat Biotech and Novavax vaccines, Japan now accepts Sinopharm, Sinovac and Convidecia vaccines as of October 11. More information here (in Japanese only).

For the latest border rules, check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

This article was published on September 27 and updated on November 17.

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