When Will Japan Lift the Travel Ban?

japan travel ban

The Japanese government has eased some COVID-19 restrictions in recent months. However, Japan’s borders currently remain closed to international tourists.

Although it has not yet been confirmed when Japan will lift the travel ban, there are hopes that international tourism could restart soon.

Information about travel to Japan in 2021 and 2022, and when Japan could open for tourism, can be found on this page.

Can I Travel to Japan Now?

Unless you’re a Japanese national or resident, you can only travel to Japan now for certain, essential reasons.

Business travelers and students were able to travel to Japan from November 2021. The ban has been temporarily reinstated due to concerns over the omicron variant.

Quarantine for fully vaccinated business people and students was reduced to 3 days or 10 days respectively.

Holidaymakers are still not allowed to enter. If you’re hoping to visit Japan when the travel ban is lifted, you should stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 restrictions and requirements.

Is Japan Open for Tourism?

No, Japan is not currently open to tourists. As mentioned above, an entry ban remains in place for non-essential travelers.

However, there are indications that some international tourism may be permitted in 2022.

Japan has one of the highest COVID-19 vaccine rates in the world, and cases are falling. The government is reviewing the situation regularly and will open to tourism when it is considered safe.

Who Can Visit Japan in 2021?

Tourists are banned from traveling to Japan in 2021. However, other groups of travelers can enter the country now.

Japanese nationals and their spouses and children can enter the country now. Passengers with a Special Permanent Residence Permit can also travel.

Other passengers who can travel to Japan now include diplomatic or official visa holders and US military personnel and civilian personnel.

Business travelers and students can travel to Japan

Foreign business travelers and students were able to enter Japan from November 2021. However, concerns over the omicron variant mean the ban has been reinstated for one month.

When they are able to enter Japan again, students and business travelers will need:

  • Relevant visa for Japan
  • Invitation from a Japanese sponsor
  • Negative COVID-19 test result
  • Completed Quarantine Questionnaire
  • Proof of vaccination (for reduced quarantine)

Fully vaccinated students and business travelers can take advantage of reduced quarantine. They must have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test result.

Rules for business travelers

To travel to Japan for work purposes, foreign nationals must be working for an organization located in Japan.

Business travelers need to complete several forms and get approval before heading to Japan. They need to submit the following documents before going to Japan:

  • Application form
  • Written pledge to follow COVID-19 rules
  • Plan of activities in Japan
  • List of all travelers on the business trip

Rules for students

Foreign students and technical trainees can also travel to Japan in 2022.

Students and trainees need to prepare the following documents for their trip:

  • Application form
  • Letter from an institution in Japan, including documents about the educational or training program
  • Written pledge to follow COVID-19 rules

Like business travelers, students and trainees need a negative COVID-19 test result and a completed health questionnaire.

Quarantine is reduced from 14 days to 10 days for students and trainees with acceptable proof of vaccination.

Prepare to Travel to Japan when Borders Open

When Japan does open to international tourism, foreigners will need to meet several COVID-19 requirements.

If you would like to visit Japan as soon as borders reopen, you can start making some preparations in advance.

Based on existing rules and measures taken by other countries, tourists may need

  • A negative COVID-19 test result issued no more than 72 hours before the flight to Japan
  • Proof of vaccination or recovery could be required to travel to Japan in 2022
  • Travel insurance is recommended
  • Mobile phone monitoring application

You can start taking some steps now, for example, checking your nearest travel testing facility and making sure you have a vaccination or recovery certificate.

You could also start preparing your Japan travel itinerary by deciding what to visit and where to stay. In addition, you could book your Japan Rail Pass and plan how you will travel around Japan.

Could the Omicron Variant Delay Reopening?

There are concerns over the omicron variant of the coronavirus. The new strain was first detected in South Africa in November 2021.

As a result of the new strain, the Japanese government has temporarily reinstated the travel ban for business travelers. The restrictions are expected to remain in place for one month.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that the tightened restrictions are “a preventive, emergency measure to avoid a worst-case scenario”.

Further research into how contagious the omicron is, and how effective vaccines are against it, is required. To date, it has not been suggested that the new variant will delay Japan’s reopening. Stay up to date with the latest travel information as the situation develops.

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