Travel to Japan during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

Editor’s note: Cases of the coronavirus remain high around the world. Health authorities warn that travel increases your chances of contracting and spreading the virus. Staying at home is the best way to slow transmission. Below is information on what you should know if you still plan to travel, last updated on September 27.

(CNN) – If you’re planning to travel to Japan, here’s what you need to know and expect if you’re visiting during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basic

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the news in September at a press conference.

“We will lift the ceiling on the number of participants in Japan, lift the ban on individual travel and lift the ban on visa-free travel,” he said.

What is offered

A heady mix of cutting-edge and deeply traditional, Japan continues to be a draw for travelers around the world. Whether it’s participating in a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, roaming Tokyo’s Akihabara district in search of tech bargains, or diving into a onsen in the forests of Tohoku, this is a country that leaves an impression on all who visit.

Who can go

You can find a full list of countries whose citizens can enter here.
Check MOFA for the latest information.

What are the restrictions?

No one will need to take a PCR or rapid test to enter Japan after October 11.

Masks are not required in public, but are recommended in hospitals and other medical facilities, around the elderly, and on public transportation.

What is the Covid situation?

As of September 27, Japan has reported more than 21 million confirmed cases of the virus and 44,401 deaths.

Japan’s health ministry has allowed prefectures to allow younger patients deemed at lower risk to self-administer antigen tests and begin self-isolation at home without waiting for a doctor’s diagnosis.

Previously, patients had to be registered as a Covid-19 patient by a doctor, who reported each new case to the government. If adopted, the new policy will allow patients to contact their local public health centers themselves.

This measure is intended to reduce the number of people visiting hospitals and health centers.

Japan is considering following in Israel’s footsteps and encouraging older residents to get a fourth shot of the vaccine. The government’s Ministry of Health has ordered more takeovers from Moderna and Pfizer to implement this plan, but there is no date yet for the program.

What can visitors expect?

Although much of Japan remains open for business, cities are much quieter than usual and the government has the right to request the closure of businesses in high transmission areas. Masks must be worn in public.

Useful Links

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Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley and Lilit Marcus contributed to this story

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