Since being closed to foreigners since March, Japan is currently in the process of preparing their international reopening plan and have publicized the countries they want to first lift restrictions for.
Japan saw their first case in early January, much sooner than the rest of the world, but didn’t hit their peak until April.
Reopening its borders as soon as possible is a key challenge for Japan after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics were rescheduled to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We can’t keep our nation closed forever,” a government source told the Japan Times.
Japan’s current state of tourism: borders closed, but no restrictions on domestic travel
Japan lifted their state of emergency on May 25th and soon afterwards in mid-June, started allowing domestic tourism and inter-prefectural travel. While the country states that it is not ready to reopen for mass tourism just yet, there are countries they are preparing to reopen for soon.
Japan’s Plan for Reopening For International Tourism
Japan is currently preparing the reopening of their border to foreigners. They are in talks with fellow nations that have important political ties to the nation, as well as neighboring countries who currently have the virus under control.
In a recent statement on their official government tourism board site, Japan said this:
“A gradual reopening of Japan's borders is currently being prepared, starting towards countries where the coronavirus has been contained or which have important ties to Japan. Vietnam is expected to be first; Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Myanmar, Singapore and Brunei are some other early candidates. Entry will initially be limited to business travelers, experts and trainees. Students and eventually tourists will follow at later points.”
According to the Japanese government, they are planning to first reopen borders to:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
First, Japan intends to reopen to business travelers, investors and other essential visitors from the above countries, then allowing in students, and finally general tourists.
What date will Japan reopen borders for international tourism?
A date has not yet been set, even for the preliminary list of countries above.
However, there are some clues on when general tourism might start, and they are found surprisingly in the cruise industry. It appears that Japan may be reopening for cruising in the near future as well.
According to the Royal Caribbean website, their very first cruise scheduled since closing months ago, is an 8 night round trip cruise from Shanghai to Japan.
According to the Costa Cruises website, their first sailing also features a Japan cruise as well for 5 nights departing from Fukuoka on August 13th.
While these dates are tentative, at this time the cruise lines have full intention to sail on those dates and have cabins available for sale.
Japan received over 31 million tourists in 2018, making it one of the most visited countries in the world. Japan has already reopened many of their tourist attractions for domestic visitors including museums, temples, shrines, gardens, parks, and even Disneyland in Tokyo.
Disclaimer: Japan’s reopening news is ever-changing and being updated constantly. We do our best to keep this article up to date with all the latest information, but the decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.