Japan has reopened to international travelers who have booked an approved packaged tour as of Friday.
The green light for group tours sponsored by a Japanese travel agency or another receiving organization comes just over a week after Japan raised the daily cap on visitor arrivals from 10,000 to 20,000 on June 1. However, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization, this figure includes Japanese nationals and returning foreign residents.
Currently, countries are classified into three categories-blue, yellow and red. The United States, Canada and many European countries are among the 98 countries and regions listed as blue. Approved visitors from these countries are not required to test, provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or quarantine on arrival in order to enter.
Nonetheless, visitors should anticipate familiar COVID-19 safety protocols, including mask-wearing and good hygiene practices. What's more, travelers must purchase insurance that covers COVID-19-related medical expenses and agree to avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close contact settings.
The guidelines issued by officials this week also require guides to accompany guests "throughout the entire journey" and record their activities "to properly identify the scope of close contacts in the event of a positive case."
Travelers eager to get to Japan will have to participate in an approved group tour but there are plenty of possibilities to suit all budgets and interests. For example, All Japan Tours is offering several tour packages, including the week-long "Golden Route Japan Tour" through Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto starting from $2,698 while TCS World Travel is offering a 10-day "City to Shrine" expedition featuring stops in Tokyo, Mount Owakudani's hot springs, charming countryside villages and more starting from $25,450 with the option to secure a private jet charter.
As of April 18, the U.S. State Department advises Americans to reconsider travel to Japan due to COVID-19-related entry restrictions. Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that Japan has a high level of COVID-19. "Make sure you are vaccinated and up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before traveling to Japan," the agency advises. "If you are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, avoid travel to Japan."
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