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

Editor’s Note – Coronavirus cases remain high around the world. Health officials warn travel increases your chances of catching and spreading the virus. Staying at home is the best way to contain transmission. Below is information on what you should know if you still want to travel, last updated September 27th.

(CNN) — If you are planning to travel to Japan, here is what you need to know and expect if you plan to visit Japan during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

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

“We will raise the cap on the number of people entering Japan, lift the ban on individual travel and the ban on visa-free travel,” he said.

What’s on offer

A heady mix of modern and deeply traditional, Japan remains a major draw for travelers from around the world. Whether you’re attending a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, scouring Tokyo’s Akihabara district for tech bargains, or in a hot onsen in the forests of Tohoku, this is a land that leaves its mark on all who visit.

who can go

A full list of countries whose citizens can enter can be found here.
Consult MOFA for the latest information.

What are the restrictions?

No one needs to take a PCR or rapid test to enter Japan from October 11.

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

How is the Covid situation?

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

Japan’s Health Ministry has allowed prefectures to allow younger patients, considered lower risk, to self-test for antigens and start isolating at home without having to wait for a doctor’s diagnosis.

Until now, patients had to be registered as Covid-19 patients by a doctor, who reported every new case to the government. If adopted, the new guideline will allow patients to self-direct to local public health centers.

This measure aims to reduce the number of visitors to hospitals and health centers.

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

What can visitors expect?

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

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

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