Japan’s new border and entry rules explained – for tourists and residents

UPDATED September 26: everything you need to know about Japan’s new Covid-19 requirements for tourists and residents

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen
Staff Writer, Time Out Tokyo
Stock photo of Tokyo Airport
Photo: Nakaya/Photo AC

Are you travelling to Japan on or after October 11? Read our guide on visa-free travel, valid vaccines, PCR tests and more here


Covid-19 restrictions are ever-changing and it can be hard to keep track of new information on Japan’s border restrictions. To bring you up to speed on the latest rule changes, we’ve answered some of the most common questions regarding Japan's current border restrictions. 

The following information is based on the government's recent decision to reopen Japan's borders fully for tourism. Some details regarding the travel requirements for tourists – including visa-free terms and accepted Covid-19 vaccines – are still being finalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We'll keep you updated as more information becomes available. 

Can tourists visit Japan yet?

Good news! After over two-plus years of strict border rules and Covid-19 restrictions, Japan is finally reopening to independent travellers on October 11. Along with the resumption of visa-free entry, tourists will no longer be expected to book their trips via travel agencies. 

Will I need to get a PCR test?

Those who are fully vaccinated (including a Covid-19 booster shot) are no longer required to get a pre-departure PCR test. 

Travellers coming from a ‘blue’ country or region are also exempt from testing upon arrival. However, those who have not received a Covid-19 booster shot and are travelling from a ‘yellow’ country or region may be subjected to a PCR test after landing. 

Countries and regions listed in the blue category include the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, France and Italy. You’ll find the full list of designated countries and regions here.

Will I have to quarantine when I get there?

Travellers arriving from countries listed under the blue category are not required to self-isolate after entering Japan, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated travellers coming from a country or region listed under the yellow category are also exempt from quarantine.

If, however, you are travelling from a yellow country and have not received three doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, you may be subject to five days of self-isolation (three days if you take a voluntary test on the third day and the result is negative). 

What do I need to enter Japan?

Here is what you’ll need to enter Japan in addition to a visa: 

  • A signed copy of the Written Pledge (only for those who are required to quarantine) 
  • A completed questionnaire administered digitally by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (you can do this via the Fast Track system
  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate (you don’t have to be vaccinated in order to enter Japan, but arrivals in the yellow category can reduce their quarantine period by submitting a valid vaccination certificate)  

You may expedite some airport arrival procedures via Fast Track (see our guide here).

Still unsure of what entry procedures may look like for you? You can select your nationality and vaccination status on the MHLW website to check which border measures apply to you. 

How many people can enter Japan?

Japan currently allows up to 50,000 arrivals per day, but this entry cap will be scrapped on October 11.

What are Japan’s other Covid-19 restrictions?

While the Japanese government is still urging people to take precautions, such as avoiding crowded places, face masks are no longer recommended outdoors as long as people are able to maintain a safe distance from others. 

This article was originally published on February 25 and updated on September 26. Check the Mofa website for the latest updates.

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