Travel Alerts and Disaster Updates

Latest news on events affecting travel in Japan

Last updated

Coronavirus Outbreak

The coronavirus is still having a big impact on tourism in Japan, as the country's borders remain closed to foreign independent travelers until October 11, 2022.

Current state of tourism: borders closed to independent travelers

Read about coronavirus manners in Japan.

International Travel Restrictions

It was finally announced that Japan will reopen its borders to independent foreign travelers and reintroduce visa-free entry from October 11, 2022. The borders were previously reopened to travelers on guided package tours from June 10, 2022 and to travelers on unguided package tours from September 7, 2022, but the country currently remains closed to independent travelers and continues to unilaterally suspend its visa-waiver agreements, meaning that all travelers need to apply for a visa before their trip.

To visit Japan as a tourist before October 11, travelers must purchase a package tour that is organized by a Japan-based travel agency. The travel agency is in charge of arranging international flights, accommodation in Japan and the so-called ERFS certificate, which is required for the visa application. The agency is held responsible for the travelers and must provide clear instructions on infection prevention measures and what to do in case of an infection. Furthermore, the agency needs to be able to easily contact travelers at any time during their stay and support them in case of coronavirus-related troubles.

During their stay, travelers must adhere to basic infection prevention measures, such as wearing masks and disinfecting hands, and they need to be enrolled in a travel insurance plan that covers medical expenses related to the coronavirus.

A negative result from a PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure is required to enter Japan except for those who have been vaccinated at least three times. Recognized vaccines include those by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen, Bharat Biotech and Novavax. Children below the age of 18 who travel together with triple-vaccinated parents/guardians are also exempt from the test.

Travelers who have spent the 14 days prior to arrival in Japan in countries on the blue list, i.e. countries where the risk of catching the coronavirus is considered relatively low, can skip testing at the airport and do not need to quarantine upon arrival. There are currently over 100 countries on the "blue list", including most countries in North America, East Asia, Europe and Oceania.

Travelers arriving from countries on the yellow list, i.e. countries where the risk of catching the coronavirus is considered relatively higher, can also skip testing at the airport and quarantining if they have been vaccinated at least three times; otherwise, they need to undergo a test at the airport and self-quarantine for at least three days. Prominent countries that are currently on the yellow list include India, Vietnam, Portugal and Turkey. There are currently no more countries on the red list.

Domestic Situation

Japan is currently in the tail end of an infection wave caused by the Omicron BA.5 variant. The government is asking the public to take the usual precautions but is implementing no restrictions on the activities of businesses and individuals. Approximately 80% of Japan's total population are vaccinated at least twice; however, vaccination certificates have never been used widely. Read more on coronavirus manners in Japan.

Closures and cancellations

Most tourist attractions in Japan were closed during the first infection wave in spring 2020, and some closed again during subsequent waves; however, almost all of them are now open again. Some events and festivals continue to be cancelled, although the number of cancellations has started to drop considerably in 2022.

2016 Kyushu Earthquake

Strong earthquakes hit Kyushu in April 2016. A few sightseeing spots are still affected. More details

Volcano Closures

No-entry zones are currently maintained at the following prominent volcanoes:

  • Sakurajima (Level 3 - do not approach the volcano)
    Do not climb the mountain. Does not affect transportation and tourism.
  • Shinmoedake (Kirishima) (Level 1 - potential for increased activity)
    Closure of hiking trails.
  • Aso (Level 1 - potential for increased activity)
    No-entry zone 1 km from crater. Closure of road and hiking trails.
  • Kusatsu-Shirane (Level 1 - potential for increased activity)
    Closure of hiking trails.