Japan is finally open! Travelers from most countries can now enter Japan without applying for a visa in advance. Best of all, there are NO Covid protocols to enter Japan: You do NOT need proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter Japan.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple with cherries in full bloom: f11 photo / Shutterstock.com
Last Update: December 4, 2023 (this page will be updated as needed)
- Japan is open! Visa-free, independent travel is now possible for most nationalities.
- There are NO Covid protocols for Japan. You do NOT need to be vaccinated against Covid to enter Japan. You do NOT need a negative Covid test to enter Japan.
- You can use the Visit Japan Web app to upload your immigration and customs details in advance. See our Guide to the Visit Japan Web app and Japan Entry Procedures for all the details. Note that the app is strongly recommended but not mandatory for entry to Japan. In fact, it’s probably quicker to not use the Visit Japan app on arrival.
- On March 13 2023, the indoor masking recommendation was dropped in Japan. You do not have to wear a mask in stores, restaurants, attractions, and on public transport. Some shops and restaurants may still ask that you mask, however. See our Japan mask page for details.
- 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 2023. 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).
Given that Japan is now open, it’s time to start planning a trip. 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.
Do You Need a Covid Test to Enter Japan?
You do NOT need a negative Covid test to enter Japan.
Flights to Japan Currently Operating
Flights to Japan have mostly returned to pre-pandemic schedules and availability: compare flight prices and times for the best deals.
Japan Airlines planes at Narita International Airport: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com
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, you might save money with Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
- A prepaid Suica 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