Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Japan: Travel advisory

Japan Coronavirus outbreak

With millions of tourists due to visit Japan, this page can help travelers to stay up to date with news about travel restrictions to Japan regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Below you’ll find information regarding whether it is currently safe to travel to Japan, essential safety measures, and the Japanese response to coronavirus.

State of emergency to be lifted in Japan

The government of Japan has announced that the state of emergency will be lifted on June 20th in 10 Japanese prefectures where the measures are currently in place. These incluye Aichi, Fukuoka, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Gifu, Kyoto, and Mie. 

After the state of emergency is lifted in these regions, the strict restrictions regarding reduced opening hours for bars and restaurants serving alcohol will be removed. 

Nevertheless, the state of emergency in Tokyo and Osaka will remain in place until  June 21st, and will only partially be lifted.  This is deemed a necessary measure to contain the spread of emerging variants of COVID-19 in some parts of the country.

The quasi-state of emergency in Tokyo and Osaka will still require bars and restaurants to cose early. However, the government is considering lifting the ban on selling alcoholic beverages in these prefectures. 

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has stated that the quasi state of emergency in Tokyo and Osaka is a necessary measure to avoid having to postpone the Tokyo Olympics past summer 2021. He asserted that the government expects the restrictions to be relaxed in time for the start of the Games.

Can I travel to Japan? Travel restrictions

Japan continues to uphold a travel ban for most arriving passengers in order to contain the spread of the mutated strain of COVID-19 which has affected counties such as the UK, India, Nepal, Pakistan and South Africa.

Nevertheless, Japanese nationals and foreign residents in Japan may enter provided they present a medical certificate showing a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours before departure and self-isolate for 2 weeks upon arrival. Transit through Japan is only currently permitted at Narita Airport on the same calendar day.

At the moment, the answer to the question ‘can I travel to Japan?’ for foreign tourists is, unfortunately, no, as Japanese borders still remain closed for tourism visits. This is not expected to change before the Tokyo Olympics in summer 2021,

The reopening of Japanese borders for tourism is expected to be gradual, with first priority given to travelers from countries that have successfully controlled the spread of COVID-19.

Countries and regions banned to enter Japan

The Japanese government has announced that, for the time being, travelers who have visited the following countries within 14 days of arriving in Japan will not be able to enter the country:

Africa:

  • Algeria
  • Botswana
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Comoros
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Kingdom of Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Republic of Congo
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia
  • Zambia
  • Zimbawe

The Americas:

  • Argentina
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Bahamas
  • Belize
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Christopher and Nevis
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United States
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Asia:

  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines

Europe:

  • All 26 member countries in the Schengen Area
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Georgia
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyz Republic
  • Liechtenstein
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Switzerland
  • Tajikistan
  • United Kingdom
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vatican City

Middle East:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Palestine
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates

Additionally, passenger transportation departing from China or South Korea to Japan is currently suspended.

Visa suspensions

The government has announced that all visas that were issued early in 2020 by Japanese Embassies or Consulates in certain countries have been suspended for the time being.

This measure extends to the following countries:

Africa

  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Cape Verde
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Comoros
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Republic of Congo
  • Rwanda
  • Sao Tome and Principe
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Asia

  • Bangladesh
  • Brunei
  • Bhutan
  • Cambodia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Vietnam

Europe

  • All of the 26 Schengen countries
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Georgia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyz
  • Russia
  • Tajikistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentine
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Nicaragua
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Saint Christopher and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent
  • Suriname
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

Middle East

  • Afghanistan
  • Bahrain
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Palestine
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Yemen

Oceania

  • Cook islands
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall
  • Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • Niue
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

Japan has also temporarily announced the suspension of the visa exemption program for all foreign citizen. However, this does not apply to nationals of Canada, Chile, Mauritius, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, or the United States.

Japan travel bubble

Travel bubbles, also known as travel bridges or corona corridors, are being formed in countries around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to allow movement and economic activity to continue between neighbouring regions.

These are essentially travel agreements between countries that have achieved similar levels of success in combating the spread of coronavirus and consider each other ‘low-risk’.

Residents of countries that agree to form a travel bubble are permitted to cross the border of their destination without having to go through many of the quarantine requirements upon arrival.

Long-term residents from the following countries had been confirmed as part of the Japan travel bubble:

  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Brunei
  • Singapore
  • South Korea

Nevertheless, the government of Japan is currently considering introducing a vaccine passport that will allow Japanese residents to present proof of inoculation to facilitate business travel. As a result, vaccination passports issued by other countries may soon be accepted from foreign business travelers coming to Japan.

Public transportation restrictions within Japan

Travelers are advised to refer to Japanese train status updates issued by each individual operator to check if a service they plan to use remains affected by temporary Shinkansen COVID-19 restrictions:

It should be nted that physical distancing requirements and olgatory use of face-masks remain in place on most public transportation services in Japan.

Travel advisories

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised against non essential travel to Japan at this time, because of widespread ongoing transmission of COVID-19.

Check the up-to-date travel advisories for Japan regarding COVID-19 from your country below:

Safety measures

Japan’s Health Ministry has stated that the two most effective ways to curb the spread of coronavirus is to frequently wash hands and use a face mask when out in public:

  • You should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Make sure to wash between fingers, and under nails.
  • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The mask should cover your mouth, nose and chin, and be disposed after a single use.

The US CDC has also advised any travelers to Japan to follow some other basic safety measures to help limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with anyone displaying suspected symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you have fever, cough or difficulty breathing, stay home and seek medical care by calling in advance.
  • Monitor your health and practice social distancing for 14 days after returning to your country of residence.

The CDC defines Social distancing as avoiding group gatherings and crowded places, and maintaining approximately 2 meters of distance from others when possible.

For the latest travel advisory and information about restrictions, please visit the Japan National Tourism Organization’s site.

Temporary closure of attractions in Japan

Most attractions in the prefectures affected by the state of emergency in Japan have now reopened, including museums, art galleries and theme parks in Tokyo and Osaka. Nevertheless, reduced capacity limits and shorter opening hours are expected to continue for some time.

Many attractions across the rest of the country are open for business. However, social distancing measures such as obligatory facemask use may still be enforced for visitors.

Hotline for tourist information

The Japan National Tourism Organization has also set up a coronavirus hotline for tourist information available in 3 languages: English, Chinese, or Korean:

From within Japan:
050 3816 2787

If overseas:
+81 50 3816 2787

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