Japan to Finally Reopen for Tourism in June 2022 for Packaged Tours


UPDATE: The Japanese government announced on May 26, 2022, that Japan will reopen for tourists visiting on packaged tours starting June 10, 2022. Here’s a quick breakdown of the details:

  • Only tourists on packaged tours are allowed from June 10
  • Entry limit updated from 10,000 to 20,000 people per day
  • Packaged tours currently require three vaccination shots (including a booster)
  • Depending on the country you’re coming from, you may not have to test upon arrival
  • Gradually the restrictions on inbound tourists will be eased
  • International flights into New Chitose Airport and Naha Airport resume by the end of June

We don’t know what companies are offering these packaged tours, but we’ll update this article once we know of any. This is a good sign for seeing tourism resume in Japan after two long years. We don’t know when you’ll be able to visit without a packaged tour.

This information will change, so we’ll keep you updated!

Sources: Japan Times, Kyodo News, NHK

The situation with COVID-19 continues to change here in Japan and around the world. The big questions are, “Are Japan’s borders open?”, “When will Japan reopen?” and “Will Japan Open Borders in 2022?”

Japan’s borders are currently closed to tourism but slowly reopening from June for tour groups, but new visa holders are being allowed in for purposes other than tourism.

Without mincing words, no one knows for sure. We’re seeing some movement on the borders beginning to slowly reopen for tourism. Scroll down for more on that.

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 for tourism.

I implore you to keep an eye on your Government’s travel advisory website, the JNTO website, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for any updates regarding the border restrictions in Japan.

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 May 17, 2022. Check back often for updates.

Borders Slowly Reopening for Tourism

For months now people who are moving to Japan for school, work, etc, have been allowed into Japan. On May 17, 2022, the Government said they plan to accept small-scale vaccinated tour groups from the United States, Australia, Thailand, and Singapore starting in June.

These are fixed packaged tours on a trial basis and participants have to have their three COVID-19 vaccination shots.

There’s not much else for details yet, but we’ll update you once we know more.

COVID-19 Situation & Daily Life

Yasaka-no-to Pagoda Kyoto Japan
Kyoto, Japan

As of now, Japan isn’t in any state of emergency. The Quasi-State of Emergency ended in March 2022. These “States of Emergencies” weren’t hard lockdowns like other countries. These were restrictions put in place for restaurants, theme parks, and businesses to reduce the capacity and put preventative measures in place.

As of May 5, 2022, there were 2320 reported cases in Tokyo and 20799 nationwide.

Overall, life carries on as normal here in Japan. With minimal restrictions but everyone wearing masks. Almost every place you visit requires you to wear a mask. I don’t see the mask-wearing changing any time soon.

Restricted Borders into Japan

Himeji Castle Japan
Himeji Castle

As of this writing, Japan’s borders are closed to tourism and have been since early 2020. However, if you’re a resident of Japan or hold a Japanese passport, you can enter the country with a required quarantine period.

As of March 1, 2022, Japan is allowing visa holders to enter Japan, such as students. Tourist visas are not issued unless under specific circumstances for family members.

On February 17, 2022, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that quarantine for returning Japanese Nationals and foreign residents are reduced to 3-days beginning in March. Also, foreign nationals are able to enter the country for purposes other than tourism.

Vaccination Rates

Japan had a slow start with vaccinations but has picked up in the last few months. As of April 1, 2022, over 79% of the 125 million population are fully vaccinated. The country has already administered third shots and there are talks about a fourth booster shot.

Capacity at Theme Parks

Super Nintendo World Banners Universal Studios Japan-15
Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan

Tokyo Disney Resort and Universal Studios Japan currently do not have any guest capacity limits, which has led to high crowds during the spring break period.

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.

Will Japan Open Borders for Tourism in 2022?

Digital Art Museum Tokyo Japan
Digital Art Museum in Tokyo

Now, when do I think Japan will reopen for tourism? 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 fully reopen until at the earliest, Fall 2022. By that, I mean without restrictions such as being in a tour group. There’s an election happening in July, so I don’t see politicians doing anything that could affect their standing.

When Japan does reopen, I think it’ll be a trickle and only allow so many people in a day. As of April 10, 10,000 visa holders for nontourism are allowed into the country, which is up from 7,000 previously.

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.

If you’re looking to visit the theme parks in 2023 in Japan, I recommend reading our article.

Sakura Cherry Blossoms Japan
Sakura during the spring in Japan

Signs of Reopening

We’ve seen the ease of restrictions for new nontourist visa holders including students and workers in the last few months. This is a good sign toward reopening for tourism eventually.

While we still don’t know when tourism will return, we’ll see an announcement of an announcement. I know that sounds strange but that’s how Japan handles major news. Once we see an announcement, you’ll hear about it here!

Hold on a bit longer

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 down again. Keep that in mind when booking your eventual trip. 

I’ve called Japan home for the better part of a decade, and I can’t wait for you to visit and enjoy the theme parks and everything in this beautiful country.

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.

Sources

Here’s a list of resources that I check daily for the latest information regarding the border closures in Japan and other countries worldwide.

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16 Comments

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  1. john

    Thanks for the information Chris. This is the single most critical information that I need to know before booking my Japan trip, which is primarily for Tokyo Disney and USJ.

    I do hope Japan will reopen sometime within this Q4 as most countries(which were on lockdown) are starting to reopening their borders. Anyways, if TDR does provide services to purchase the hotel and park tickets (fuss free), it would be a great addon and pls let us know as I for one could benefit from such services.

    Keep up the good work Chris, loving your TDR YouTube videos !

  2. Trudie

    Thanks Chris. I noticed that we can now buy flights from Gold Coast to Tokyo for next April. But I think it’s just too risky.

  3. Steve

    I have a trip booked for late March / April 2022 and I’m thinking that there’s a 50:50 chance of it happening. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had to push it back to the Autumn. Like you say in your (excellent) article, it’s not just a question of the borders re-opening to tourists, it’s also a question of quarantine and what the overall experience will be like for tourists.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts about what you think the initial reception will be for foreign tourists? On my previous trip to Japan the people were absolutely lovely, without exception. But I’ve read lots about the Japanese “scapegoating” foreigners for COVID in Japan, being very suspicous/wary of foreigners due to COVID, and being against the borders re-opening. Do you think there’s any truth in this? Will the Japanese be nervous of foreign tourists in the first few months?

  4. Alison

    My family was booked for March 2020 (which has been postponed to 2021). I’m not confident the borders will be fully open by then and while for most people “Japan will still be there when you can travel”, one of my party will turn 80 next year so time really is not on our side unfortunately. It took a LOT of persuasion to get the person to book for 2020 following the death of their partner the previous year but they are now terrified of a long haul flight to the other side of the world and getting stuck over there if the borders close again / they get sick etc. Add a daughter about to start High School August next year and it gets even more messy as there’s term dates to consider and whether it’ll coincide with the Easter holidays or not.

    Fingers crossed the borders will open (we’ll give it till the start of January before making a final decision). I also don’t think Japanese people will want a load of tourists arriving from Europe / America given some people’s attitude towards face mask wearing and vaccinations there. I don’t blame them in all honesty – I wouldn’t want hoards of people arriving and not complying with advice to wear face coverings either.

  5. Edwin

    Hi Chris! I am part of a dance organization planning a huge dance competition at the Hilton Tokyo Bay with tickets to the Disney resort. Are there any restrictions on large gatherings at the moment? Our event is scheduled for September, but would still like to plan ahead. Thank you for your videos and always keeping us up to date!

  6. Wren

    In 2020 I booked a trip to live and work remotely from Osaka during October of 2021…ha. Now it’s 2022 and I’m on the fence if I should bet on Oct ’22 being possible. I need to arrange it in advance with my work if I will be…what do you think the odds are?

  7. Cinder Diener

    My daughter is expecting their third child July 3rd, 2022. I have bought a ticket for June 1st through July 29th. I traveled to Japan in 2018 for the birth of their second grandbaby. I will be so sad if I cannot go, my oldest daughter (Brianna sister) passed away unexpectedly on 2/2/2022, Brianna was only able to fly home for a few days. She is overwhelmed with grief, I wish to stay with her for moral support, see my grandkids, and give Brianna and Josh a break. They both work on Yokota AFB, but live off base. Please give me a glimmer of hope I can fly there in July, I know you don’t know, but please, I need something to hold onto.
    Thank you, cindy

  8. TDR Explorer

    Hi Cindy, I’m so sorry for your loss.

    If you have family in Japan, I’d contact your closest Japanese embassy to see if there’s anything they can do to grant you a short-term visitor visa. I can’t say if that’ll work or not but it’s worth a try.

  9. Richard Parker

    I have been prolong waiting for Japan will announce to tourist allow to enter to this country. I am getting very fed-up with Japanese government have not immediately open the border for foreign tourist for trip.
    I would like to know when? I feel very stress and frustrated over border open is not yet.

  10. Jeanine

    After my daughter was watching your youtube clips we have decided to go to Japan. However we are planning way in advanced. (2025 daughter will be 8, son 4) 🤞 to no more waves and lockdown. We have lots of time to study up our sleeves !

  11. Stewart

    Based on your assessment and how you think Japan will slowly open…Once it does start, would it be in our best interest to get all our itinerary insured (ie Trip insurance), just in case they should shut down again? Or would situations like that already be covered by airlines, hotels, theme parks, etc?

  12. TDR Explorer

    That’s a good question. I would make sure you have extra insurance cause we have no idea what will happen. Japan shut its borders quickly more than once, so nothing stops them from doing it again.

  13. Sarah

    Hi Chris! Thanks for such amazing guides! It’s surprisingly difficult to find info on Japanese theme parks online. My family and I were planning a trip to Japan in December of this year, we haven’t finalized the dates but would love, love, love to visit Tokyo Disney around Christmas (thinking the 24th-26th). We were looking at their Vacation Package website but there was no rooms/packages available at all!!! I tried different dates/months and nothing ever came up (under the packages section). Am I late to the party or too early? If I’m too early how difficult do you think it would be to book the Vacation Package (as opposed to just time at the hotels/parks separately)?

    For reference this is what I’m talking about: https://reserve.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/vpackage/search/

    Any advice/help you could give would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

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