After a long two years of COVID-19 tourism restrictions, Japan is finally reopening for tourism. Beginning October 11, Japan will drop most of its restrictive entry requirements for travelers, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently announced.
The country has been slow to open to outside visitors after the pandemic. After two years of lockdown, the popular tourism destination reopened to a limited number of leisure travelers in June. Tourists were only allowed to enter under a special visa and as with travel booked by an approved tour operator.
On October 11, the limit on the number of leisure travelers will be lifted, as will the visa and tour operator requirements—meaning individual tourists can once again travel to Japan and book their own flights, hotels, and tours.
Travelers to Japan who have received three shots of an approved COVID vaccine will not need a negative PCR test to enter the country. However, non-vaccinated tourists (or those who have not yet had a booster shot) must submit a negative PCR test in order to enter.
“I want to support the travel, entertainment and other industries that have been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic,” Kishida said at a news conference announcing the change in rules.
Japan’s tourism minister Tetsuo Saito has also unveiled plans for the launch of a nationwide travel discount program that will offer incentives to tourists. The program is designed to encourage travel, and will offer discounted entry to attractions and reimbursements for hotel stays. According to Nippon.com, the program will begin on October 11th and offer discounts of up to 8,000 yen (approximately $55) per person per night for package tours with public transportation on weekdays.
“We want people to enjoy traveling long distance and on weekdays while taking basic measures against infection such as wearing a mask,” said Saito.
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