Image by Sofia Terzoni from Pixabay

No, Japan is not opening for tourism today, or next week, but the country may not be closed to tourists for all that much longer. In fact, it’s rolling back restrictions from 159 countries as of October, but only for select visitors.

The country is said to be rapidly expanding eligible international visitors, with a new selection of travelers including students, health workers and those embarking on long stay cultural journeys allowed to enter the country from October. It’s not entirely the news you’re looking for, but it’s a huge step towards once again visiting this enchanting country.

Japan Expands Entry To 159 Countries, But Not Tourists

After successful negotiations of Travel Bubbles within Asia, Japan is said to be opening to travelers from 159 countries who fall under certain entry categories, geared around longer term stays. According to Nikkei, foreign students, medical workers and all those participating in “cultural activities” are the next to be cleared for landing into Japan, as early as October 1st.

While cultural activities may sound like a clever way for tourists to apply, the new plans call for stays of at least 90 days, and will require 14 days of quarantine upon arrival in Japan. Short term tourist visas are not part of any current plans.

Reports suggest the Japanese Government is looking into potential safe alternatives to quarantine, and will consider giving travelers a chance at testing their way out, after 5-7 day. It’s unclear whether 14 day quarantine plans include mandatory use of government facilities, or self certified isolation.

Japan Reopening Travel in Phases

Initial visitor numbers under the new scheme will be limited to 1,000 arrivals per day, and are subject to the ever changing epidemiological situation around the world. Japan is not opening for a free for all of mass tourism, but this is a huge step in reversing the course on the current ban, which applies to 159 countries.

Depending on the definition of cultural activities, this could be an opportunity for long stay visitors to apply as part of the new program. Most encouragingly, the latest news from Japan is in line with plans to reboot tourism, announced as part of reinvigorating the overall economy.

Japan always planned to open to business travelers first, students second, and then if both proved successful, leisure travel visitors could follow shortly thereafter. But after Australia’s announcement that borders would remain closed until 2021 at the earliest, many feared Asia and Pacific would be off limits for years to come.

The latest news from Japan is an encouraging sign that Asia may not be off limits to western visitors for long. If student arrivals prove successful, tourists are up next. The news can’t come soon enough.

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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