Japan Plans to Reopen Borders to International Tourists in Spring 2021


International travel came to a halt earlier this year due to the global pandemic. Japan closed its borders over 6-months ago to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus. It wasn’t until this month that foreign residents were able to return to Japan.

This year was supposed to be a huge year for Japan and Tokyo with the Summer Olympic Games. The games are now pushed to July 23, 2021.

The big question for many has been when will Japan reopen its borders for tourists? Today, we finally have an answer.

Plans to Reopen Borders on Trial Basis in April 2021

The Japanese government has revealed plans for countermeasures set up for international tourists to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Once these measures are in place, then the plan is to open the borders on a trial basis in April 2021. This depends on the pandemic situation in Japan and overseas.

There are steps you’ll have to take if you’re travelling from overseas as a tourist:

  • Download a health check app for 14 days while in Japan
  • Provide a certificate before departing for Japan indicating you’ve tested negative for coronavirus
  • Take another test for coronavirus upon arrival to Japan
  • Buy private medical insurance in case you become infected while in Japan

There are also plans for a health consultation center for foreign tourists to help ease the burden on the Japanese health system.

What Does This All Mean?

Once the borders reopen, in order for you to travel to Japan as a tourist you’ll have to meet a specific set of requirements. Those exact requirements aren’t clear at the moment, so it’s hard to say how tough it’ll be to travel to Japan. it’s also not clear what “trial basis” means starting in the planned April 2021.

Until we know more, it’s best to hold off on making and solid plans at this point for 2021. 

Things to Keep in Mind

With the new Beauty and the Beast attraction now open at Tokyo Disneyland and Super Nintendo World opening in 2021, it’s easy to get excited.

While the trial basis is planned for April 2021, this could change at any moment.

We don’t know much more than what’s mentioned above. Things could change without notice, so it’s best to keep that in mind. If you do plan on booking flights, make sure to read the change and/or cancellation policy of the airlines in case you aren’t able to travel.

I’ll keep you updated as things change.

Sources: thejapantimes, Soranews24, Yahoo! News Japan

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5 Comments

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  1. SweetCaroline74

    At first I thought “Why wait until April?!?” but here in Montreal, we’re back in lockdown in the midst of a second wave. So it makes sense for them to wait another 6 months before opening up the borders to international travelers. Maybe they’ll bring this forward if all goes well. It’s a fluid situation and we can only hope for the best.

  2. Aeron

    The chief reason for Japan taking so long to re-open its borders to tourism is the United States, which will likely still be seeing several hundred Coronavirus-related deaths per day by April.

    Japan should just spit it straight and start opening up to countries that have already eradicated or successfully contained COVID-19. Explicitly excluding the United States from even being considered until some form of containment is established. The United States being one of the largest contributors to Japanese tourism be damned.

    That way they can open earlier and open slowly, preventing any unforeseen consequences that would push Japan back into a state of emergency. As countries prove to remain mostly infection-free and don’t noticeably contribute to Japan’s existing numbers, more countries can be added to the whitelist.

  3. Chadwick

    I’ve been sitting on an amazing ticket to Japan from Canada on March 31, 2021 for half a year hoping that I’ll be able to use it for my first trip. Looks like I’m going to have to cancel. Arg. Thanks for posting this, it’s very helpful.

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