Japan is considering opening up its borders to a selection of low-risk countries and word on the street is it’s hoping to do so in time for cherry blossom season.
Japan’s government is said to be looking to resume inbound tourism of small tour groups from countries in Asia that have seen a successful response to COVID-19 and continue to manage low infection rates, like Taiwan and China.
Travelers would still be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and download Japan’s COVID tracking app, Cocoa.
Nothing is set nor confirmed, but the Asahi newspaper reports this could kick off as early as spring 2021 which is mere months away and great timing with the upcoming Olympics in June that were postponed due to the pandemic.
The paper makes no mention of Australia as part of this “bubble” however officials from Japan and Australia have been talking about the prospect of a travel pathway. Among other discussion points, Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in Tokyo recently to speak around a travel bubble.
Like many other countries, Japan’s tourism is down 99.9% from April last year with the nation welcoming less than 3,000 tourists in April 2020 — the largest ever decline.
Of course, Japan had been expecting to host thousands of visitors for the 2020 Olympics, while the Sakura (cherry blossom) season usually draws large numbers from all over the world too.
Japan’s response to coronavirus has been hailed something of a “success story” by experts. Considering Japan has a population of 126 million, there’s no denying they have done well to contain what could have been significantly worse. Japan saw just 2,334 deaths from the virus, despite its large and ageing population.
Right now, all Australians are expected to comply with current ‘Do Not Travel’ advice, so it may not be worth booking anything you can’t change or cancel flexibly at this stage.
In the meantime, those keen to visit Japan can begin planning their trip with the 10 unmissable Tokyo experiences, best places to stay in Tokyo, what you need to know before climbing Mount Fuji and the only way to get a table at Jiro’s famous Tokyo restaurant.