Japan reopen for tourists with caveats

Tokyo Station, February 2018

In the past week, Japan Government and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio announced updates to their border measures for COVID.

  • Daily total number of foreigners allowed into Japan will increase from 10000 to 20000, starting from June 1st. This includes other travelers (those with Japanese residency, international students, and business people).
  • From June 10th, small tours will be allowed for leisure travel.
    • Use of public transportation: unlike earlier measures, travelers can use public transportation to their lodgings, even if they are in categories that require home quarantine (i.e Yellow with no vaccine cert or Red with vaccine cert).
    • Vaccine and quarantine measures: countries and regions are classified into three categories based on the local COVID situation.
CategoriesVaccination CertPCR test (72 hrs before departure)PCR (on arrival)Quarantine
BlueNoRequiredNot RequiredNo quarantine needed
YesRequiredNot RequiredNo quarantine needed
YellowNoRequiredNot RequiredNo quarantine needed
YesRequiredRequired3 day home quarantine + negative test on the 3rd day, OR 7 day home quarantine only
RedNoRequiredRequired3 day home quarantine + negative test on the 3rd day, OR 7 day home quarantine only
YesRequiredRequired3 day quarantine at government facility + negative PCR test on the 3rd day
Vaccine, Testing, and Quarantine Requirements (Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

At the moment, only guided tours of up to 4 people from the US, Australia, Thailand, and Singapore are allowed. Mask mandates are in force for participants when visiting tourist spots or using transportation. There is no idea on how or when tours for other countries would be organized, nor are there plans announced for the further reopening of borders.

For us travelers used to self-guided tours, you might want to wait at the moment as the requirements are rather restrictive:

  • A visa is required, and you can only get it through a travel agency in your own country that had a corresponding agency in Japan to “receive” or vouch for you. You have to travel with a guide for now.
  • For Yellow or Red Zone residents, you cannot get a visa for leisure travel at the moment. Only Blue Zone countries are eligible.
ZonesAsia and OceaniaNorth AmericaCentral and South AmericaEuropeThe Middle East and Africa
BlueIndonesia, Australia, Korea, Cambodia
Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, China, New Zealand,
Papua New Guinea, Palau, Bangladesh, East
Timor, Philippines, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar, Mongolia, Laos
United States, CanadaArgentina, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Jamaica, Chile, Dominican Republic, Panama, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico,Iceland, Ireland, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Italy, United Kingdom, Estonia, Austria, Netherlands, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Croatia, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Hungary, Finland, France, Bulgaria, Belgium, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monaco, Monte Negro, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Luxembourg, RussiaAfghanistan, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Qatar, Cameroon, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, Djibouti, Tanzania, Nigeria, Bahrain, Benin, Madagascar, Malawi, South Africa, South Sudan, Mozambique, Morocco, Jordan, Rwanda
YellowIndia, North Korea, Kiribati, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, Nauru, Niue, Nepal, Vanuatu, Bhutan, Brunei, Vietnam, Marshall Islands, Macao, Micronesia, Maldives,Antigua and Barbados, Uruguay, Guyana, Cuba, Grenada, Suriname, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Saint Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, Nicaragua, Haiti, Bahamas, Barbados, Venezuela, Belize, Peru, HondurasAndorra, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, North Macedonia, Cyprus, Kosovo, San Marino, Georgia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Vatican City State, Belarus, Portugal, Malta, Moldova, LiechtensteinAngola, Yemen, Egypt, Eswatini, Eritrea, Oman, Cape Verde, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kuwait, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, Sao Tome and Principe, Syria, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Seychelles, Equatorial Guinea, Senegal, Somalia, Chad, Central African Republic, Tunisia, Togo, Turkey, Namibia, Niger, Western Sahara, Palestine, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Botswana, Mali, Mauritius, Mauritania, Libya, Liberia, Lesotho, Lebanon
RedPakistan, FijiAlbaniaSierra Leone
Full list of the zone countries