A few weeks ago, Japan began allowing independent, unaccompanied travel to travellers for the first time since the pandemic begun, but still with visa procedures in place.
On October 11, 2022, Japan will finally be open. Fully open.
The country has announced that it will open its borders to visa-free travel for independent travellers. No more border capacity limits, no need for package tours – Japan is on the cusp of fully free travel just like pre-pandemic times.
Japan Travel Restrictions
As of October 11, 2022, independent tourists will again be able to enter Japan for the purpose of tourism.
Previously visa-free countries like Canada will be visa-free once again, and Canadians will be able to enter Japan and stay for up to 90 days for the purposes of tourism.
Of course, tourists will have to fulfill other entry obligations, including showing either proof of vaccination (including a third booster dose) or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
How Can Canadians Enter Japan?
Until now, Canadians have been able to enter Japan via guided and unguided package tours. However, given the significant procedural hurdles in place, the uptake of the tours has been rather low, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
As of October 11, travellers coming from Canada will no longer need to book package tours or apply for an e-visa.
However, Canadians will need to present proof of vaccination with at least three doses upon entering Japan in order to avoid testing and quarantine requirements. Your Canadian COVID-19 proof of vaccination will suffice.
In addition, you’ll also need to complete a health questionnaire to be granted entry.
Current Health Requirements in Japan
March 18, 2022 marked the date that Japan’s state of emergency was lifted in all 18 remaining prefectures, meaning that COVID cases have dropped sufficiently low enough that life can return to semi-normal.
Restaurants are fully open once again, as are movie theatres, museums, cultural events, and generally any other tourist attractions.
There are no vaccination requirements for any of the above, nor will there be any vaccination checks.
There are still some minor restrictions in place, such as “non-certified restaurants” only being able to seat up to four people per table, but that shouldn’t have a big impact on your trip.
Masks are required in all indoor spaces as well as all outdoors where you “may encounter other people”, which basically means they’re required all the time. Despite things being a bit different with restrictions at home, don’t forget to maximize your baggage allowance with sufficient face masks.
How to Get to Japan
To East Asia, Aeroplan naturally comes to mind with its fantastic rate of 75,000 points one-way in business class, as long as the overall routing falls at or under 7,500 miles in distance flown — which includes all direct flights from North America.
West Coast residents in particular will benefit from Aeroplan’s fantastic sweet spot of only 55,000 points one-way for a direct flight from Vancouver or Calgary to Tokyo.
Air Canada flights can still be priced exorbitantly under dynamic pricing, so using your eUpgrades with the “Latitude Attitude” strategy is the optimal way to upgrade into a business class seat.
For those who dabble in the US credit card game, you can book a one-way trip in ANA First Class for just 55,000 Virgin Atlantic miles from the West Coast and 60,000 Virgin Atlantic miles from the East Coast.
This is arguably the best sweet spot that currently exists out there, and there’s nothing quite like bottomless Hibiki 21 whiskey and Japanese fine dining in the sky to celebrate Japan’s long-awaited reopening.
With Alaska Mileage Plan, you can also fly direct on on Japan Airlines for 60,000 miles in business class and 70,000 miles in First Class, another excellent sweet spot to aim for on your first academic or commercial visit to Japan in the post-pandemic era.
Japan Airlines First Class award space is quite plentiful 14 days prior to the date of departure.
After what feels like an eternity of being closed off to the world, Japan is finally set to fully reopen their borders to tourism as of October 11, 2022.
No visa requirements, no package tour bookings – simply book your flight and go, just like 2019.
Have your proof of vaccination with three doses and you’ll be all set to enter the island nation known for its history, scenery, and world-famous cuisine.
And make sure to get your flight and hotel bookings in now, as we’d expect award space to tighten up significantly and hotel prices to soar now that the world’s most highly-anticipated border reopening has finally taken place.