In the last year, Japan has slowly been relaxing its international tourist restrictions, with the latest update on September 7 allowing visitors from ‘blue’ category countries to enter the country on non-escorted package tours with set itineraries. Previously, you needed to be accompanied by a tour guide.
So how exactly does that work and once you’re in Japan and what’s the situation like? With the rules constantly changing, we thought we’d answer those questions about Australians travelling to Japan and more below.
What Are the Current Restrictions for Australians Travelling to Japan?
From September 7, Japan allowed visitors from ‘blue’ category countries, Australia included, to visit if travelling as part of a package tour with a set itinerary – without the requirement to travel accompanied by a tour guide. Return flights, accommodation and the travel itinerary must still all be handled by a registered Japanese tour operator.
Currently, the international visitor number is capped at 50,000 (up from 20,000), though government spokesman Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara said earlier this month they would be looking at removing it in the “not so distant future”.
Do Australians Need a VISA for Japan?
Yes, you do, and you’ll need to submit the required documents to Japan’s overseas establishments in your country. The organisers of the package tour you book will sponsor your application. More info is available on this Japan VISA page.
Do Australians Need to Do a COVID Test Before Travelling to Japan?
From September 7, pre-arrival PCR tests were scrapped, provided you’re up-to-date with an approved COVID vaccine. Be sure to check your airlines’ requirements for testing, though, before departure as they may differ from Japan’s COVID rules.
Local COVID-19 restrictions may remain in effect in some prefectures, and broader restrictions may be reimposed if the COVID-19 situation deteriorates, according to Smart Traveller’s page on travel to Japan.
Do Australians Need to Quarantine Once in Japan?
Currently, Australian travellers who are up-to-date with an approved COVID vaccine and can present a vaccination certificate proving that do not need to quarantine, isolate or test on arrival.
Do I Need to Wear a Mask in Japan?
Currently, masks are only required if you’re in situations in which you’d stand closer than 2m to others. You can view an infographic on when masks are required in Japan here.
When Are the Travel Restrictions Likely to Be Fully Relaxed?
When sharing that the daily cap on overseas arrivals is likely soon to be scrapped, Kihara added that the government would simultaneously relax other restrictions including the VISA requirement and the requirement to travel on a package tour.
“Japan has seasonal attractions in fall and winter,” said Kihara on Fijian TV, via Nikkei Asia. “We know there are a lot of people overseas who want to come to Japan.”