a red pagoda with Mount Fuji in the background

After closing to more than 150 countries, Japan has been expanding entry into the country in recent months. Just weeks ago reentry was extended to foreign students and medium term visa holders, and ‘travel bubble’ arrangements for travelers from a handful of other countries are already in place.

But sadly, tourists and short term visitor visas are currently left only to dream, with no way into the country, and until now, there was no clue when they may be welcomed back.

a person walking on a wet street
Image by Masashi Wakui from Pixabay

Japan Points To Tourism Reopening

Japan is reported to to be eyeing a spring 2021 date to welcome back foreign tourists, including those from the US, Europe, UK and Canada without quarantine, with April as a potential date. Japanese Government officials are said to be keen on creating robust protocols before widespread tourism resumes ahead of the postponed 2021 Olympic Games.

So what will it take to visit Japan? The Japan Times cites reasonable proposals which include a recent negative covid-19 test before departure, a second covid-19 test on arrival and a test and trace health app to be downloaded by all visitors. Travel health insurance to cover any medical needs during time in Japan is also being discussed.

Travelers would not be required to self isolate, but would be asked to monitor their health via the app, and the government is said to be investigating the creation of new dedicated visitor health center, in addition to more public health facilities to aide travelers.

a crowd of people crossing a street
Image by Sofia Terzoni from Pixabay

2021 Subject To Change

For now, spring of 2021 appears to be a strong candidate for trip planning purposes. Many countries which expressed desire to remain closed through 2020 have however reopened sooner than expected, so anything is possible.

With the 2020 Summer Olympic Games now rescheduled to take place in Tokyo in the summer of 2021, it would be very difficult for officials to push back wider tourism any further, since much information about the efficacy of programs is gained during early testing.

In other words, Japanese officials will need the months from April through July to ensure arrival and visitors protocols are effective, so dates are unlikely to be pushed back, but could be brought forward if the global pandemic landscape improves for the better. We can only hope.

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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