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 extended in Tokyo area

The Japanese government has extended the state of emergency in Tokyo and until at least March 21st to contain the spread of emerging variants of COVID-19 in some parts of the country. The measures also apply to surrounding prefectures such as Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama.

The restrictions require residents to stay home after 8pm every night unless they need to go out for an emergency or urgent reason. Restaurants and Karaoke bars that serve alcohol are also now required to close by 8pm.

The capacity of sporting and entertainment venues in the affected prefectures has been limited to a maximum of 5,000 spectators, while a limit of 10,000 people has been set for large venues in other pats of Japan.Smaller venues are able to operate at full capacity.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga offered “a heartfelt apolocy” to the people of Japan over the decision to extend the State of emergency, but asserted that it was a necessary measure to avoid having to postpone the Tokyo Olympics past summer 2021 and allow 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 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 Jpan is only currently permitted at Narita Airport.

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.

Nevertheless, Japan is expected to ease COVID-19 tourist restrictions for most foreign citizens in late spring 2021, in anticipation of the Tokyo Olympics.

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

This temporary entry ban also applies to all foreign nationals who hold a Chinese passport issued by either the Hubei or Zhejiang province.

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 announced the suspension of the visa exemption program for all foreign citizens until the state of Emergency in Tokyo has been lifted, at the earliest.

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

However, on January 13th, 2021, it was confirmed that business visits have been suspended from travel bubble countries in order to limit the spread of the mutated forms of COVID-19. This suspension will remain in place until the lifting of the state of emergency in 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

Many tourist attractions across Japan, including many theme parks, markets, and museums were closed as a preventative measure against coronavirus throughout March, April, and May 2020 to ensure the health of both visitors and employees.

The climbing season for Mount Fuji, which was due to begin on July 10th, was also canceled for 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

However, most attractions across the country have now reopened for business, although social distancing measures, obligatory facemask use, and reduced capacity may still be enforced for visitors. Until March 21st at the earliest, attractions in Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Aichi, Gifu, Osaka, Kioto, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures must close by 8pm each day.

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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