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Japan Border Update and Flight Availability

Stop Press: Japan’s borders opening in September with more flexibility.

Positive news is finally here! Today (August 24th) it has been reported by NHK that the Japan borders will start opening for general tourism from September - WITHOUT the need to be chaperoned by a guided tour!

Click HERE for latest update as of Sept 13th - 'The NISADE Guide to Getting You to Japan This Winter' for the full rundown on the new process.

Yes, there is still some small requirements that need to be followed but basically if you book and stay with NISADE, we can get you here!

This move is seen as a way for the Japanese government to ease in the removal of travel restrictions without a sudden change. Anecdotally, we have also seen airports re-hiring staff ready for a return of normal border conditions.

The details so far:

  • Visitors must book and be hosted by a registered Japanese Travel Agent (i.e NISADE).
  • A pre-approved VISA is required prior to travel (Applicant must apply in person in their home country and requires supporting documentation from Japanese Travel Agent- i.e NISADE).
  • USA and Canada residents can apply for this VISA online.
  • The travel agent is required to set and manage their client schedules/ itinerary (NISADE can do this).
  • Travel agent to comply with all Government regulations including ensuring guests are following Japan COVID guidelines.

Other info:

  • Increase in daily arrival cap from 20k to 50k, with more increases expected in September/ October.
  • Japan is considering downgrading COVID from pandemic to endemic, ultimately reclassifying COVID to a Flu.
  • Japan to stop requiring doctors to report new cases (along with all the lengthy paperwork associated).
  • PCR test 72 hours prior to entry soon to not be required for vaccinated travelers (currently for countries in the BLUE category - Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, USA, UK, Taiwan).
Country/ Region Valid vaccination certificate Pre-departure PCR test On-arrival PCR test Quarantine
Blue Not required Yes No No
Yellow If submitted Yes No No
Yellow If not submitted Yes Yes 3 days at home*
Red If submitted Yes No 3 days at home*
Red If not submitted Yes Yes 3 days at designated facility**

* Your quarantine would be terminated if you take a COVID-19 test on the 3rd day and the result is negative. If you do not take the test, you would be required to quarantine for 7 days.
** Your quarantine would be terminated if you take a COVID-19 test on the 3rd day at the facility and the result is negative.

For more details on the colour-coding system and eligible countries, please see HERE.

Who can enter Japan now?

As of August 24th, the following people can enter Japan (albeit with pre-approved visa, restrictions, and requirements).

  • Japanese nationals - Can travel freely in/ out of Japan.
  • Business Travelers - Special Visa required with invite from company in Japan and proof they are conducting business operations.
  • Family - Immediate family of Japanese nationals or permanent residents/ foreign spouses.
  • Staff/ Workers - Long -term and working holiday visa holders with secured employment.
  • Tourists - On a set guided tour with registered Japanese Tour Company.
  • Students - Select students with appropriate Visa.

*Disclaimer: The information above is provided by reputable Japanese news sources (such as NHK and Reuters) however we can accept no liability for the veracity of these claims.

For the latest official news, please see HERE.

Airlines & flight availability

  • ANA, Qantas, JAL, JetStar, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines amongst others- are all currently offering flights in Tokyo or Osaka (from which you can get a domestic flight or train to Hokkaido).
  • Scoot airlines to resume direct services from Singapore to Chitose from November.
  • Delta to resume and increase Japan flights from USA to Japan (Tokyo/ Haneda) from October 31st.
  • Eva Air to start flights into Chitose from September.
  • Other direct and connecting flights into Chitose to be announced soon.

There are many flights into Tokyo & Osaka and can be the best option to confirm now. Flying into Honshu gives you the perfect excuse for spending a few days in the big cities and to even better to maximise your Japan experience and convenience, why not catch the bullet train to Hokkaido instead of a domestic flight?!

Some great deals are currently available on the bullet trains with a Japan Rail Pass. Check out more details on the official website.

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