Tips & News

This Test Program Is the First Step For Japan in Reopening to Tourists

Read on for Japan's pilot reopening plan if you're a triple-vaxxed traveler from Australia, Thailand, Singapore, or the U.S.

Ginzan Onsen at Yamagata, Tohoku, Japan

Ginzan Onsen at Yamagata, Tohoku, Japan. Photo by thanyarat07/Getty Images/Canva

May 19, 2022

TRAVELERS MAY FINALLY soon be able to head back to Japan. On May 17, Japanese officials announced plans to “test” a return to tourism with package tours, Reuters reported. This limited reopening will mark the first time tourists are allowed back into Japan since 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic began.

According to the Japanese Tourism Agency, per Reuters, small group tours will be able to resume later this month, which will act as a test to see how a broader national opening may happen in the future.

Yoshinoyama, Nara, Japan
Yoshinoyama, Nara, Japan. Photo by SeanPavonePhoto/Getty Images Pro/Canva

In order to take part, travelers from Australia, Thailand, Singapore and the U.S. must be triple vaccinated and must come as part of a highly curated tour. Travelers must also be accompanied by the tour operators at all times.

The hope is that this “phased relaxation” of border control will balance out any reinfection spikes, but allow for more economic growth. Tourism, the Japan External Trade Organization reported, accounted for $359 billion in Japan’s gross domestic product, “making it the world’s third-largest market in this sector after the United States and China.”

Business and student-related travel has resumed, however, according to CNN, Japan’s current entry rules allow for just 10,000 new arrivals per day.

“This venture will allow us to verify compliance and emergency responses for infection prevention and formulate guidelines for travel agencies and accommodation operators to keep in mind,” the Tourism Agency shared in a statement per CNN.

Mount Fuji and swans in Lak Yamanaka, Japan
Mount Fuji and swans in Lak Yamanaka, Japan. Photo by MasterLu/Getty Images Pro/Canva

But that may change following these tests later this summer. As Makoto Shimoaraiso, a Cabinet Secretariat official for Japan’s Covid-19 response, shared with Reuters, “We are currently discussing concrete plans for border measures after June, including quarantine measures such as testing and standby (status).”

Japan is one of the last hold-outs in Asia, where this year countries including Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore, India, Malaysia and most recently Laos have jumped aboard the reopening train for vaccinated tourists.

Hotels & Resorts

One of Japan’s Most Trusted Hospitality Experts Just Launched a New High-End Hotel Brand

You probably know JR Kyushu for their trains, but the group’s new hotel brand THE BLOSSOM is going to make waves in Japan’s hospitality industry.

the best of japan; the best of 2019

The Best New Openings in Japan 2019

Fine dining with flair, preservationist luxury hotels and a Muji mega-store.

Best Onsen in Japan


10 Best Onsen Town Escapes In Japan

Japan has more than 3,000 onsen. These 10 stand out among them, including the best onsen towns, outdoor onsen and onsen for couples.


Why You Should Plan Your Next Trip to Japan Around One of Its 72 Microseasons

Whether it’s when the irises open, the tomatoes are hung, the manatees migrate or the lobsters lose their shells — to everything there is a season. Japan might be the most poetic, but Adam H. Graham finds microseasons enrich your travels everywhere.