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Japan international border news: updated (with good news) on 23rd September 2022


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  • SnowJapan Admin

Japan international border watch

17th May 2022

Small cautious first steps....

We have some encouraging news to report regarding Japan's international borders, which are still currently closed to tourists.

It appears that Japan will be accepting small-scale tours for (triple) vaccinated tourists from four countries as a trial from late May. Those countries are the United States, Australia, Thailand and Singapore.

During the trial phase, small groups will be accepted on fixed and controlled (accompanied) package tours. These tours will apparently be limited to areas where prefectural governments have agreed to accept them (and presumably monitor them). Unfortunately, we are hearing that there will not be changes to the current testing requirements for entering Japan - ie. submit a negative COVID test taken 72 hours before departure, test again on arrival.

Those things certainly won't appeal to many people, but it is a first step. And after such a long time without any indication of borders re-opening, it is good to hear that something is happening.

If this trial is seen as a success, hopefully we can look forward to further wider and less restrictive border openings sometime fairly soon. We're all looking forward to that!

(A word of caution: while it is definitely encouraging to see some movement at last, it's still probably best not to expect massive changes very quickly).

Anyway, we will keep this topic updated with any other major relevant and confirmed news.

 

 

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  • SnowJapan changed the title to Japan border news: Limited small-scale tours to be allowed from four countries from late May
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  • SnowJapan Admin

Update

27th May 2022

The Japanese PM yesterday announced that foreign tourists will be able to come to Japan "in stages" from 10th June. This comes after a few very small guided accompanied tours started in recent days.

It's important to note that it is still going to be guided tours only, for now.

The cap on daily entries is also going to be rising to 20,000 people from 1st June. That includes Japanese nationals and residents).

Naha and New Chitose airports are also going to be re-opening to accept flights from overseas.

So another cautious step. Hopefully those stages will subsequently come quick and fast!

 

 

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  • SnowJapan Admin

Update

10th June 2022

Today (theoretically) is the day when more foreigners are being allowed to enter Japan, though in reality it will probably be later this month before many start arriving.

As mentioned before, various restrictions are in place for visitors to Japan: everyone needs to be part of a package tour and be accompanied by guides, needs a visa, needs to buy medical insurance and also promise to wear masks in public places (including outside). And you'll need to have a negative covid test within 72 hours of arrival. There's also a daily cap of 20,000 people - that includes Japanese nationals and residents.

It's going to be interesting to see how many people will actually come with those restrictions in place. Still, it's another tentative step towards what we all want to happen --- much less restrictive tourism.

The latest quote from government officials regarding the prospect of that is "it will take some time before foreign visitors can come to Japan for free, individual tourism".

There's nearly half a year to go before the winter months are with us again. Surely that will be plenty of time for things to ease up and let some (hopefully lots) of you in!  Keeping our fingers crossed!

We will post any major related news here.

 

 

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  • SnowJapan changed the title to Japan international border news: Limited tourists allowed from 10th June (updated)
  • SnowJapan Admin

We are getting an increasing number of emails regarding specific details about potential travel to Japan.

While we would like to help, unfortunately, we cannot. We are not in the travel business and do not take bookings for anyone or anything. And we need to spend our time doing what we specialise in --- our (this) website.

However, we recommend you direct questions to people providing such services, and you can find some of those on our site here:

https://www.snowjapan.com/listings

We wish everyone well with their planning. 

 

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  • SnowJapan Admin

Update

26th July 2022

We thought an update was called for as the end of July approaches.

There's no real news to report on this subject at the moment.

Currently, Japan is experiencing the largest number of confirmed daily cases of covid so far. Japanese media always seems to emphasise those numbers, but, notably (and encouragingly), the rate of severe illness seems to be remaining low.

Even so, while this wave is happening, the chance of further relaxation of border rules in the next few weeks looks extremely unlikely.

Hopefully, things will calm down again fairly quickly, and the situation will look more positive.

Places are busy, and regular (masked) life continues for most people.

Even without any confirmed information about the chances of borders opening in time for winter, various ski areas and businesses are busy preparing for overseas guests and taking bookings. 

We would like to repeat that we (SnowJapan) are not in a position to answer questions about travel or make specific recommendations. As noted in the previous message above, such questions should be directed toward people who provide such services. They will surely be happy to hear from you.

We will update this topic again by the end of next month with any latest news.
 

 

 

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  • SnowJapan Admin

Update

24th August 2022

There is some news to report today.

From 7th September 2022, there will be no need for (triple) vaccinated people entering Japan to have a negative PCR test 72 hours before boarding their flight. That will be a very welcome change for people entering Japan - currently, mostly Japanese nationals and foreign residents of Japan.

Unfortunately, for now, the current 'official tours only' condition for tourists entering Japan will remain in place. There is no real indication yet as to when that might change. So, to be clear, individual (non-resident) travellers not on those official tours can still not enter the country. (Apparently, the number of people entering the country on those guided tours until now has been low).

Covid case numbers continue to be high here in Japan, and the media continues to report on them in detail every day. At the same, many places have been busy over summer and regular (masked) life continues for most people. There may soon be some changes to how cases are officially reported and also in the way COVID-19 is categorized.

We will bring you any further relevant news when it is officially announced.

In the meantime, we recommend being selective in the news you read as there seems to be some misleading and incorrect information circulating.

Opinion:

We have all been waiting for news of the borders properly opening up to foreign visitors for what seems like a long time now.

This year does feel different.

Hopefully, we won't have to wait much longer.

 

 

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  • SnowJapan changed the title to Japan international border news: updated on 24th August 2022
  • SnowJapan Admin

Update

31st August 2022

Another quick update for the last day of August.

It appears that from 7th September, as well as the pre-travel PCR test being dropped for vaccinated people (as mentioned in the last post), "non-escorted visitors on package tours" (it says here) will be also be allowed into Japan.  Previously the package tours were required to be escorted/with guides. It is currently unclear what the new criteria is going to be, but it certainly sounds like another move towards what we want to hear. We will post another update when there are more details.

The daily cap numbers will also rise from 20,000 to 50,000.

 

 

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  • SnowJapan changed the title to Japan international border news: updated on 31st August 2022
  • SnowJapan Admin

Further update:

With this latest planned change for 7th September, foreign visitors will still need to pre-book 'tours/packages' from approved agencies. Detailed guidelines have yet to be confirmed.

Just to be clear, individual and independent travel will still not be allowed, for the moment.

We will update again when there is more news.

 

 

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  • SnowJapan Admin

Update

7th September 2022

Today is the day from which the above changes take effect.

Beyond the update from last week, there does not seem to be anything additional to report just at the moment.

Again, please remember that SnowJapan is not in the business of providing tours and organising travel arrangements, so we cannot help with such things. If you are interested in such tours/packages, we recommend contacting travel companies who provide such services.

We will update this topic again when there is more news to report.

 

 

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  • SnowJapan changed the title to Japan international border news: updated on 7th September 2022
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  • SnowJapan Admin

Update

12th September 2022

Over the weekend, on a TV programme, a Japanese government spokesman said that the entry cap of 50,000 will be removed in the 'not-so-distant future', without specifying any kind of time frame.

More importantly, he also suggested that other restrictions - including the visa requirement and the package tour - might also be removed at the same time as removing the daily cap.

He also mentioned how many people want to visit Japan in autumn and winter.

There also seems to have been similar things said today.

This all sounds very promising!  The fact that they are discussing it in interviews seems significant.    :friend:

Hopefully the news that we have all been waiting for is coming quite soon.

Update: there are also reports later in the day that the Prime Minister might even make a decision on this issue by the end of this week. It sounds like it might actually be happening soon. Exciting!

 

 

 

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  • SnowJapan changed the title to Japan international border news: updated on 12th September 2022
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  • SnowJapan Admin

Update

23rd September 2022

It is the news we have all  been waiting for....

Yesterday, the Japanese PM said that from 11th October, visa-free individual trips to Japan will resume for vaccinated travellers.

No more tours. And no more daily cap on numbers. The visa situation appears to be set to revert to how it was pre-covid.

Excellent.

At last!

So it looks like if you are overseas and want to come skiing and snowboarding in Japan this coming winter, you will be able to.

:)

More when all the details are confirmed...

 

 

 

 

 

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