Japan Expanding Tourism
Photo by Tianshu Liu on Unsplash - Photo taken at Hakone, Japan

Despite significant reopening news throughout Asia, Japan has remained a widely known holdout in the pursuit of reopening tourism. Spoiler alert: the country is still considering expanding the number of visitors that it will allow back into the country. It’s still not tourism as it once was.

In spite of this, things are continuing to move in a “positive” direction, and by that, I mean towards more opportunity for people other than citizens, residents or special visa holders to enter.

It’s A Slow Grind Forward…

Japan Expanding Tourism - Japan Tourism Statistics
Japan Tourism Statistics

Japan has remained incredibly strict when it comes to allowing entry for general tourism, placing it among the most restrictive in the world. Currently, the daily limit on tourists is 20,000, but in a positive twist, Bloomberg is reporting that the country is considering raising the number to as much as 50,000.

Prior to COVID, Japan had seen a record number of visitors in 2019, so the increase would be the next step toward restoring growth in the tourism industry — once a staple of the country.

Technically, Japan “reopened” to foreign visitors a few months ago, when it began allowing 20,000 people per day in, but the list of requirements was (and really, still is) dizzying.

Ranging from needing to buy all your tickets through a special travel agent on a “fully guided package tour” to having zero access to “local” encounters, it’s really somewhat disingenuous. If you want in, you must relinquish all spontaneity.

Mandatory retesting in Japan and quarantine rules further complicate your trip. You can find a full list of the current restrictions here, but be prepared for a long afternoon of reading.

Bloomberg also noted that this would begin what’s described as a “gradual easing of testing requirements,” which could significantly advance the rate at which travelers are able to return.

Needless to say, the entire tourism industry, particularly hotels and airlines, are anxious for that significant day. And for those of you visiting from the United States, your money is that much more valuable. The current exchange rate of 137 yen to the dollar is the best it’s been in almost 25 years.

Japan is a fabulous country to visit, so it may be time to start looking again.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Japan is expanding the entry of Japanese citizens and residents, but it will still be virtually impossible for tourists to enter. I feel sad for anyone who clicked this (garbage) article expecting anything else.

  2. Hoping they drop the requirement to book through approved travel agency. We have airfare and hotel booked for a November trip.

  3. “Japan is a fabulous country to visit, so it may be time to start looking again.”

    *was. Disagree on time to start looking again. I’m finally resigned to use my first class ANA awards on redemptions and further transit to other destinations, I’d encourage others to explore as well.

    In my opinion, Japan doesn’t deserve visitors or a boosted economy after continued xenophobia-turned-health-policy. Why reward bad behavior? There’s a lot of other interesting things to see in the world.

    1. It won’t boost Japanese economy anyways.
      Japan’s isn’t like Thailand,Spain or italy where economies are heavyly depended on tourists money.
      Foreign tourists only contributed less than 0.5% to Japanese economy before Covid.
      So I dunno if they care when you say they don’t “deserve” an economy boost, since there was no boosts anyways. So spend your precious money elsewhere, they don’t give a shit about tourists money. Japanese government has the biggest foreign reserves in the world,still.
      But personally, they should have completely reopened long time ago.

  4. Three vaccine shots required, so I will never be able to go back to Japan (used to live there) by the looks of it. Really sad.

  5. ANA has been cancelling flights without notifying pax or partners. When I called to get seat assignments I was told the flight was cancelled. I called VS, they knew nothing about it. Now ANA shows no flight from JFK-NRT for that day. VS still knows nothing. I can’t get my points back from ANA into VS unless I cancel. I asked ANA to put us on the JFK – HND flight and they acted like I had three heads. Just fair warning to anyone looking to do the usual VS – ANA route.

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