Japan is finally open! Travelers from most countries can now enter Japan without applying for a visa in advance. Here are all the details on visa-free travel, vaccination and Covid test requirements.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple with cherries in full bloom: f11 photo / Shutterstock.com
Last Update: January 23, 2023 (this page will be updated as needed)
- Japan is open! Visa-free, independent travel is now possible for most nationalities.
- Use the Visit Japan Web app to upload your Covid vaccination status or Covid test results. See our Guide to the Visit Japan Web app and Japan Entry Procedures for all the details
- If you are boosted with a Covid vaccine, you do not need a negative Covid test before flying to Japan. If you are unvaccinated or not boosted, you need a negative Covid test. See our Japan Covid vaccination and testing page for details.
- Masks are widely worn in Japan. See our Japan mask page for details.
- Children traveling with triple-vaxxed (ie, boosted) parents are exempt from the pre-departure Covid test requirement, whether or not they’ve been vaccinated.
- We will update this page as information changes.
- Now is the time to start planning a trip to Japan. Contact Chris Rowthorn to start planning.
Commentary by Chris
Visa-free, independent travel restarted on October 11. Citizens of 68 countries now get visa-free travel to Japan. Here’s the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs visa-free travel list. If you are a citizen of one of those countries, you do not need to apply for a visa in advance; you will be given a 90-day tourist visa upon arrival in Japan (note that there are few exceptions which are listed on the MOFA site). You may still need a negative Covid test within 72 hours of flying to Japan (see details below).
Given that Japan is now open, it’s time to start planning a trip. In fact, you should act fast: the crowds are going to return, but it will take several months before we get back to the jam-packed conditions of 2019. And, to top it off, the yen is now at multi-decade lows. So, you’ll be able to have the place mostly to yourself and everything will seem positively cheap!
If you want help planning a trip to Japan, visit my consulting page to book a Zoom consultation.
What You Need to Do Now
If you’re planning a trip to Japan, there are some things you should do now. There is a lot of pent up demand for travel to Japan, so plane tickets and accommodations should be a priority.
- Buy plane tickets: compare flight prices and times for the best deals.
- Book hotels and ryokans: check Booking.com and Agoda.com.
- View our Packing List for Japan to make sure you don’t forget to bring anything.
- Book some walking tours.
- Travel insurance: World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
- Buy a Japan Rail Pass: Order one here.
- Buy a Icoca card: Get one here.
- Buy a SIM or pocket wifi: Order one here.
Kyoto in cherry blossom season: f11 photo / Shutterstock.com
Do You Need to Be Vaccinated to Enter Japan?
You do NOT need to be vaccinated with a Covid vaccine to enter Japan. However, if you are not vaccinated and boosted, you will need to have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of boarding your flight to Japan. See below for more details.
Do You Need a Covid Test to Enter Japan?
If you are triple-vaxxed (ie, boosted), you do NOT need proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of boarding your flight to Japan. All others must show such proof. However, for a child below the age of 18 who is traveling with their parents, this is the policy (this is direct from a Japanese consulate email):
“For children under the age of 18 who do not hold a valid vaccination certificate three times. If they are accompanied by a guardian such as a parent who has a valid vaccination certificate and who will supervise the children, they will be regarded as holders of valid vaccination certificates, the test certificate will be exempt as their guardian. In this case, his/her screen will be Yellow, but he/she can use Fast Track.”
Flights to Japan Currently Operating
Here are cities with direct flights to Japan and the airlines that operate them. Most flights go to Tokyo (Narita or Haneda), but some flights also go to Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto). Most flights here are not daily, but a few times a week.
Japan Airlines planes at Narita International Airport: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
- Vancouver: Air Canada, ANA, Japan Airlines, American Airlines
- Seattle: ANA, Japan Airlines, Delta, American, United
- San Francisco: United, American, ANA, Japan Airlines
- Los Angeles: Zipair, United, American, ANA, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines
- Chicago: United, American, ANA, Japan Airlines
- Dallas/Fort Worth: American, Japan Airlines
- Atlanta: Delta
- New York: United, American, ANA, Japan Airlines
- London: British Airways, ANA, Japan Airlines
- Paris: Air France, ANA, Japan Airlines
- Frankfurt: Lufthansa, ANA, Japan Airlines, Finnair, British Airways
- Helsinki: Finnair, British Airways, Japan Airlines
- Istanbul: Turkish Airlines, ANA
- Sydney: ANA, Japan Airlines
- Bangkok: Thai, Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia X, ZIPAIR, ANA, Japan Airlines
- KL: Malaysia, ANA, Japan Airlines
- HCMC: Viet Jet Air, Vietname, VietJet Air, ANA, Japan Airlines
- Hong Kong: Cathay, Hong Kong Express, ANA, Japan Airlines
- Taipei: China Airlines, EVA, Scoot, Starlux, ANA, Japan Airlines
- Singapore: Singapore Airlines, ZIPAIR, ANA, Japan Airlines
- Seoul: Korean Air, Asiana, Ethiopian, ANA, Japan Airlines
Japan Coronavirus Information
At the time of writing, Japan has been experiencing around 36,000 new cases a day new cases a day. Hospitalizations and mortality remain relatively low.
Here is a useful link for the latest coronavirus numbers on Japan:
More Useful Information
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world