In the news this week, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has cancelled planned trips to Africa and the Middle East after testing positive for COVID-19. Luckily, he was vaccinated, his symptoms were relatively mild, and he continued working while isolating in his official residence.
In even better news, the Japanese government is reportedly considering scrapping pre-arrival Covid-19 testing for vaccinated inbound travelers.
Aspiring Japan travelers have not had an easy time of it during the past 30 months, but we can see light at the end of the tunnel.
Here’s how things stand today:
Inbound tourism to Japan is possible even today (and has been since June 10th), but there are a few hoops to jump through. We have clients who have done it, and had a fantastic time. The silver lining? If you decide to come, and persevere through the bureaucratic maze, there are very few other foreign tourists here. Your Instagram moments will be a lot less crowded!
What are the bureaucratic obstacles?
The main thing is the visa. Once applied for and granted, triple-vaccinated travelers (for the moment, but as written above, we’re hoping for relief on this soon!) will no longer need a PCR test from 7th September. And, there’s no quarantine, and no monitoring.
The visa application process depends on what country you’re applying from. Some countries require an in-person appointment for dropping off visa application papers; other countries don’t permit that and only require a contactless handoff. Visa application handling times are less than a week.
What about flights and accommodation?
At the moment, our experience is that flights are easy to obtain, simply because so few tourists are going to Japan. If you come, your in-flight experience is likely to be similar to flying private, hahaha! The same goes for accommodation. Unless you plan to arrive during a big Japanese holiday, during which there is plenty of domestic travel, hotels will be delighted to have you, and prices are excellent.
So what next?
If you’re interested in planning travel to Japan, it’s definitely possible, and with the cooler weather not far off, now is probably a great time to book an autumn trip. We also have plenty of clients (and friends) who think winter is the best time to visit Japan. The days are often clear and dry, with (depending on where in Japan you are) temperatures rarely below freezing, and visibility (thinking about those Instagram shots of Mount Fuji!) is spectacular.