Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Japan: Travel advisory

Japan Coronavirus outbreak

With millions of tourists due to visit Japan in 2020, 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.

The current situation in Japan

On May 4th, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe declared that the state of emergency already in place in major metropolitan areas would be expanded to all 47 prefectures In Japan.

The declaration allowed regional governments to implement non-punitive measures to encourage people to practice social distancing and avoid unnecessary travel, in order to avoid further spread of COVID-19.

On May 21st Japan lifted the state of emergency in Hyogo, Kyoto, and Osaka prefectures, due to a significant drop in coronavirus cases.

This means that restrictions have now been lifted for 39 Japanese prefectures, although the state of emergency in others, including Chiba, Hokkaido, Kanagawa, and Tokyo, is expected to remain in place until May 31st.

Many sporting events have also been suspended, and Shinzō Abe and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach have both agreed to postponing the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics until summer 2021. Nevertheless, the Games will still be named Tokyo 2020, despite the new Olympics 2021 dates.

However, museums and public parks are likely to gradually reopen as long as preventive measures are in place. Restrictions will be also be relaxed on business operations and small gatherings in prefectures with minor numbers of COVID19 cases.

 Travel restrictions

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked residents of Japan not to undertake any inessential overseas travel until otherwise advised.

Additionally, Japan has imposed entry restrictions for travelers coming from regions highly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a mandatory quarantine for passengers arriving from some other territories.

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:

  • Cape Verde
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Egypt
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Mauritius
  • Morocco
  • Sao Tome and Principe

The Americas:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Bahamas
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Saint Christopher and Nevis
  • United States
  • Uruguay

Asia:

  • Brunei
  • China (including Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR)
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Europe:

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

Oceania:

  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Middle East:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Turkey

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 also announced that all visas that have already been issued by Japanese Embassies or Consulates for all the restricted countries listed above, as well as pending visa applciations, have been suspended for the time being.

This measure also extends to the following countries:

Africa

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

Asia

  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Cambodia
  • India
  • Laos
  • Maldives
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Timor-Leste

Europe

  • 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
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Oman
  • Palestine
  • 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 allforeign citizens until further notice.

Enhanced screening and quarantine measures

Japan has taken a proactive approach to prevention of the virus and protecting citizens and travelers alike, including enhanced screening measures at all points of entry, including airports.

At present all passengers coming to Japan, including Japanese nationals, will be asked to undergo a 14-day quarantine entry requirement at designated government facilities, and to avoid using any public transportation.

Airport and seaport transportation restrictions

The following entry restrictions for air and sea transport have been in place for Japan since March 9th, 2020:

  • All passenger ship transportation from the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea has been suspended
  • Aircraft arriving from mainland China or South Korea will be restricted to landing at either Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Osaka Kansai (KIX) international airports.

Public transportation restrictions within Japan

At the moment, public transport within Japan’s cities remains largely unaffected by coronavirus restrictions. However, many long-distance bus services have been reduced and some trains have also been suspended.

All of the major bullet train operators have introduced temporary Shinkansen COVID-19 restrictions, and an intermittent suspension of some services has been announced until May 31st, 2020.

This includes the cancellation of over 1,000 Joyful trains (scenic services for holidaymakers) operated by JR East until the beginning of June.

Travelers are advised to refer to Japanese train status updates issued by each individual operator to check if a service they plan to use has been affected.

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 theme parks, markets, and museums remain temporarily closed as a preventative measure against coronavirus, and to ensure the health of both visitors and employees.

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

However, some attractions in the prefectures whose state of emergency has been lifted are beginning to reopen. Many temples and shrines across the country, and some gardens, also remain open.

Japanese attraction closure periods

Below you can find a list of some of the most popular places visited and their period of temporary closure due to coronavirus concerns.

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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