Home Travel It Just Got Even Harder To Go To Japan

It Just Got Even Harder To Go To Japan

by SharonKurheg

Japan has been one of the biggest holdouts in terms of reopening for tourism since COVID. They’ve only just opened the tourism door, and it’s only a teeny tiny crack. Tourists from the U.S. and 97 other countries have recently been able to visit again and there are many hoops you have to be willing to jump through to be one of those few lucky tourists. For example, visitors must:

  • take out private medical insurance that includes full COVID coverage
  • wear a mask, indoors and out, unless specific circumstances allow an exception
  • be under constant supervision of a tour guide (or risk being sent home)
  • avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close contact settings (the “three Cs”)

Visitors must also comply with the country’s new travel etiquette rules:

  • sanitize hand thoroughly before eating
  • portion food servings in advance when sharing food in restaurants (read: don’t take from someone’s plate after they’ve begun eating)
  • not talk when using the country’s public baths

So many COVID precautions are understandable, considering it’s a country that’s one of the few that hasn’t reopened to tourism until now. However, there’s also a brand new wrench in the system for many who want to visit Japan, including U.S. citizens: they will now be required to obtain a visa before visiting.

For years, those with U.S. passports were exempted from needing to obtain a visa to enter the country for tourism. They were able to get visa waivers. But Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs now says that exemption has been suspended.

The foreign ministry recently updated its rules about entry requirements. It now says, “Currently, foreign nationals/people who are willing to enter Japan need a visa newly issued by embassies or consulates or consular office of Japan.”

Obtaining a visa can be an arduous process. Depending on the country, they may require specific documents such as bank statements, proof of address, proof of identity, proof of where you’ll be staying, letters of invitation, proof of time that will be spent in the country you’ll visit, etc. Other visas are easy to apply for and may require simply filling out a form online.

Japan’s visa requirements are explained on the Embassy of Japan in the United States of America’s website. However at this time, for those planning on entering the country for tourism, they suggest you contact your travel agent who is setting up your group trip (since the only way to enter Japan as a tourist right now is with a group trip).

The one small bit of good news? US citizens are exempt from visa fees at this time.

Feature Photo: pxhere

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


JRG June 20, 2022 - 8:29 pm

Not very inviting. Curious – I’m transiting (only transiting) Narita in August (ICN-NRT-SFO). Can I correctly assume a transit passenger doesn’t deal with any of this and otherwise stays in a segregated portion of the NRT airport? Are there any lounges open in the restricted area during my layover. Any info would be appreciated…..

SharonKurheg June 20, 2022 - 8:52 pm

Unfortunately, that information wasn’t shared in relation to the new visa policy. Sorry.

Nam Hoon Park June 21, 2022 - 2:04 pm

You are allowed to transit through NRT or HND.
But you cannot move btwn NRT and HND.
I have traveled 4 time transiting through NRT.
My itinerary was LAX-NRT-ICN outbound and ICN-NRT-LAX-LAS.
Yes. You can use airline lounges of JAL and ANA at NRT.
Only thing you should member is there are 2 terminals. Terminal 1 and Terminal 2
JAL users T1.
And sometimes, you have to move btwn 2 terminals on transfer bus which runs at basement level.

JRG June 22, 2022 - 4:19 pm

Thanks, Mr. Park. Very helpful. I will use the ANA lounges and enjoy my transit time w/o worrying too much.

James Jaffe June 21, 2022 - 4:38 pm

Simply shameful that the Japanese government is choosing the opposite direction that the rest of the world is going. I’ve been waiting two and a half years to go there to speak with my fiancee’s family to get their formal approval for marriage. But after that happens, I don’t think I ever want to go back to Japan. Hope they enjoy permanently crippling their reputation to the global tourism industry.

Gainjinsan_Tokyo June 22, 2022 - 6:47 am

This is quite old news, guess you haven’t been really keeping up with Japan?

SharonKurheg June 22, 2022 - 8:53 am

Not really no. We write about travel in general, not exclusively Japan. So sometimes we discover certain news later than others.

Caleb Hill June 22, 2022 - 8:30 am

Sounds like Chine.

SharonKurheg June 22, 2022 - 8:56 am

I’m not sure where Chine is. But it’s the same as any other of the 2 dozen or so other countries that require visas.

Jorge June 22, 2022 - 8:41 am

Welp, that does it for us. We have cancelled our Japan vacation twice already, and we were hoping this would be the time we can finally visit.

There is simply no way in a million years I’m going to put myself through the process of a visa.
They can have their country. We’re going back to Europe or Australia.

Midnight Rambler June 22, 2022 - 7:20 pm

You also have to show a negative COVID PCR test result, using certain approved test methods, when entering immigration in Japan. The test result needs to filled out on a specific form provided by the Japanese government, which you can download from their government web site. I believe the test has to administered within 72 hours of departure. It’s a pain.

jun June 22, 2022 - 9:39 pm

what about unexpired multiple entry visas? my tourist visa still up to 2024,can i still visit japan?

SharonKurheg June 22, 2022 - 9:42 pm

Unfortunately, that information wasn’t shared in relation to the new visa policy. Sorry.

Happi June 24, 2022 - 5:42 am

To get Japan visa from my country is very hard so Many requirements

Lucas June 24, 2022 - 5:43 am

As a Japanese citizen, I feel dismayed by this. Still lucky that EU or any other country hasn’t reciprocated the visa policy towards Japan. There would probably be a breaking point though


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