Japan’s borders are currently closed to non-residents, which includes tourists.
The situation with COVID-19 continues to change here in Japan and around the world. The big questions are, “Are Japan’s borders open?” and “When will Japan reopen?” Without mincing words, no one knows for sure.
I’ll do my best to give you information about what’s happening here in Japan. Also, my personal opinion on when I think the borders to Japan will open.
We’re keeping an eye on changes regarding the closed borders for tourism to Japan. Join our mailing list below, and we’ll send out a notification when we see lifted travel restrictions!
Here’s what we know so far as of January 19, 2022. Check back often for updates.
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The country went through another wave of infections due to the Delta variant. Many prefectures around Japan were under a “State of Emergency,” which included 21 of the 47 regions in Japan, including Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Osaka, and others. This State of Emergency isn’t a hard lockdown but more asking businesses and restaurants to close early and limit admission.
On January 19, 2022, Japan announced Tokyo and 12 other areas (including Chiba) are under quasi-State of Emergency beginning January 21, 2022, until February 13, 2022.
Restricted Borders into Japan
As of this writing, Japan’s borders are closed to tourism. However, if you’re a resident of Japan or hold a Japanese passport, you can enter the country with a required quarantine period.
The borders to Japan have been closed to tourism since early 2020.
Japan is easing the quarantine for vaccinated business travellers from 10 days to 3 days beginning Monday, November 8. The article also states it’ll resume entry to students and technical trainees. We’re beginning to see movement on visa restrictions into the country! Still no word on tourism.
Beginning on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, Japan is re-imposing its ban on new foreign arrivals to Japan (students, etc.) due to concerns over the Omicron variant. This ban is extended until the end of February 2022. Citizens and foreign residents are still able to re-enter the country.
Japan had a slow start with vaccinations but has picked up in the last few months. As of January 8, 2022, over 79% of the 125 million population are fully vaccinated, making Japan one of the top 3 G-7 countries for vaccination rates. This puts Japan almost on par with Italy and second to Canada. There are talks about what to do when Japan reaches 80%.
The vaccination rate will be a factor in when Japan will reopen.
Capacity at Theme Parks
Restrictions have affected the theme parks in Japan, including Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan. As of November 1, 2021, Tokyo Disney Resort increased its capacity and hours. Both Resorts can now expand their daily capacity per park from 5,000 guests to 10,000 guests.
In Japan and most parts of Asia, mask-wearing is commonplace even before the pandemic. In Japan, everyone wears masks without issue, and it’s socially expected of you to wear one. Many establishments make it mandatory to wear a mask, and you’ll be restricted entry if you don’t comply.
I expect wearing masks will continue for a long while, even after borders reopen for tourism. That means make sure masks are on your packing list.
When Will Japan Reopen for Tourists?
When do I think Japan will reopen? First, I want to begin by saying that these are my personal opinions, and there’s a good chance I’m entirely wrong, right, or somewhere in the middle. There’s no way to know what’s going to happen. Use what I mention here as a guide and not an absolute. I’ve linked my sources at the end of the article for reference for you.
OK, let’s get on with it.
I think that borders to Japan for tourism won’t reopen until
Spring Summer 2022. When the country reopens, I don’t think many places will instantly go back to “normal” when borders reopen.
We may still see restrictions throughout the country, such as closures, restricted entry (aka tricky to get into), and limited availability, for a while after the reopened borders.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
Signs of Reopening
The telltale sign for movement towards reopening the borders is once we see the processing of work and student visas begin again.
In 2020, when Japan suddenly closed its borders, it left many people stranded both inside the country and outside. Including legal foreign residents. If for some reason, COVID reaches another critical level after reopening borders, nothing stops the Government from suddenly shutting again. Keep that in mind when booking your eventual trip.
I don’t say that to scare you, but to give you information to help you make the best decisions for yourself.
I’ve called Japan for the better part of a decade, and I can’t wait for you to visit, enjoy the Parks and everything in this beautiful country. We have to hold out a little longer, wear our masks, ensure we’re vaccinated, and keep each other safe.
It’ll get better eventually. It’s just going to continue to suck for a bit longer. Japan will be here when you’re ready to visit. We’ll be here too, ready to provide you with the best-updated information on how to experience the theme parks in Japan and the rest of Asia.
If you have any thoughts or questions, please leave them in the comments.
Here’s a list of resources that I check daily for the latest information regarding the border closures in Japan and other countries worldwide.