Japan easing travel restrictions, welcoming independent tourists back

Japan is swinging open its doors to tourists.

The country first cracked the door open to authorized tour groups in June. However, tourist numbers were capped, and travelers had to meet special visa requirements to enter.

Starting Oct. 11, independent tourists will be welcome back in Japan, and caps and pandemic-related visa requirements will be lifted.

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the country’s wider reopening Thursday during a press conference around the United Nations General Assembly gathering in New York. 

He received thunderous applause when he shared the same news in a speech at the New York Stock Exchange.

“Japan will relax border control measures to be on par with the U.S. as well as resume visa-free travel and individual travel,” Kishida said.

Japan’s tourism industry has been devastated by tight border controls over the past two years. 

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Can I travel to Japan right now?

Travelers may currently visit Japan with authorized tour groups, but they’ll be able to explore the country on their own starting in mid-October.

Do I need to quarantine or a COVID test to visit Japan?

Travelers who’ve received at least three doses of COVID vaccines can skip pre-departure testing, as of early September.

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