Japan has recently sent signals that it intends to gradually reopen its tourism sector after banning all non-nationals or residents from entering from March 2020. The country started to allow business visitors and students to enter from late 2021 with prearranged visas but was interrupted when the omicron spiked.
Japan Tourism Agency issued a press release today that small groups of fully vaccinated tourists (booster required) from the United States, Australia, Thailand, and Singapore on prearranged package tours would be allowed to enter later this month.
These small groups would not be allowed to roam freely but need to follow the tour operator’s strict schedule and guidance and can only visit sights in prefectures that have agreed to receive them. All visitors are also required to have health insurance.
The Prime Minister has recently promised that the country would reopen for visitors, but the exact schedule is still unclear.
There is a plan to raise the current international arrivals cap of 10,000 passengers to 20,000 in June (this includes both Japanese and non-nationals).
It has been a long and challenging road for Japan to reopen for international visitors, and even non-nation residents were not allowed to return for months back in 2022.
Japan is pretty much the only Western nation that hasn’t fully opened by now and is in the same boat as Mainland China, Macao, and Hong Kong.
It is difficult to see Japan completely reopening in June when they only double the daily arrivals cap. There is also an election taking place in July, and it probably would not be beneficial for the Prime Minister’s party to allow visitors before,
I would not visit Japan during the hot and humid summer months, although I did enjoy my time in the country for six months in 2020.