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COVID-19: Japan officially welcomes back visa-free, individual travel from 11 October

COVID-19: Japan officially welcomes back visa-free, individual travel from 11 October

Fellow Japan travel enthusiasts, it’s time to rejoice, for the day that we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. Yes, you’ve heard it right—after more than two years of border restrictions, Japan is officially reopening to all in a couple of weeks!


During his visit to New York, U.S.A. on 22 September, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio announced that he intends to further relax Japan’s border control measures from 11 October 2022. One such measure includes the removal of short-term visa requirements for foreign visitors from 68 countries, which has been a crucial factor affecting the number of visitors to Japan.


Prime Minister Kishida shares, “This month (September), we have eliminated the need to obtain negative (pre-departure PCR) certificates, and from next month, we will further relax our border control measures.”


How different are the measures?

Here’s a summary of what we know so far:

(Image credit: JR Times / Nippon Television Network Corporation)


Apart from reinstating visa waivers, the Japanese government is also currently working on removing the cap on the number of visitors and allowing individual travel (or free-independent travel a.k.a. FIT), and is expected to implement these updated measures from 11 October onward. 


Japan to offer domestic travel discounts and more

Free-and-easy travel is now within reach! Which fall or snowy spots in Japan are in your bucket list? (Image credit: photoAC)


The Japanese government also hopes to attract more foreign tourists to Japan as an inexpensive destination as the yen slumps to its lowest levels in recent years against major currencies. This will also coincide with the government’s plan to introduce discount programmes for domestic travel, particularly to capture demand in the country’s autumn and winter seasons.


As of 7 September, travellers are required to book their trips through a travel agency to obtain short-term visas, but moving forward, travellers will be able to book their flights and accommodations freely. 


How do I plan for my trip amidst the COVID-19 pandemic?

(Image credit: photoAC)


While COVID-19 cases in Japan are slowly diving to lower levels, visitors and residents alike are advised to take the usual precautions in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. More details regarding the new measures will be released on 30 September.


So what are you waiting for? It’s time to—finally—start planning that dream trip of yours to the Land of the Rising Sun.


Information presented is accurate as of 23 September.


Header image credit: Lourdes Tan / unsplash


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