On November 8th, 2022,
Covid-19 related requirements when travelling to Japan
Is Japan open for tourism?
Japan re-opened to all tourist visitors from October 11 2022, after two and half years of border restrictions. The immigration process is largely the same as how it was before the pandemic. The only Covid-19 specific requirements are a valid vaccination or test certificate and registering your details online before travel.
Do I need to get a visa?
The government reinstated Japan’s visa waiver program, allowing nationals from 68 countries to visit the country for a short-term stay without applying for a visa in advance. If you didn’t need a visa to travel to Japan before the pandemic, you can travel here visa-free again from October 2022.
Before you travel
Get a valid vaccination certificate or proof of a negative test
Before coming to Japan, you need to register a certificate that you have had either 3 doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure.
The vaccine certificate must be issued by a government body and needs to show your name and date of birth along with the name, manufacturer, date of vaccination and number of doses administered of your vaccine. You will also need to provide an English or Japanese translation if the certificate is in another language.
All common vaccines, including Pfizer, AstraZenaca and Moderna, are accepted. See the Ministry of Health guidance (pdf) for more details, including a list of all valid vaccines.
Unvaccinated travellers are required to submit a certificate of a negative Covid-19 test conducted within 72 hours of departure. See the Ministry of Health website for more details on the required test certificate.
Get travel insurance that covers Covid-19 related medical expenses
You will be required to pay for all expenses in the event you are hospitalised or required to isolate due to either yourself or a close contact testing positive for Covid-19. These bills can add up quickly and if you are unable to pay, you may be banned from visiting Japan in the future.
If you are travelling independently, we also recommend you look for an insurance provider with interpretation support. Visitors on a tour should check that their tour operator can provide Japanese interpretation support.
Register with Visit Japan Web
Visit Japan Web allows you pre-register your vaccine certificate or negative test, which will save you from having to wait for your documents to be reviewed when you arrive. You can also fill out your landing questionnaire and customs declaration on the website. Once you have filled in your details, you will be given 3 QR codes to show at airport, one for quarantine (also known as Fast Track), one for immigration and one for customs. We recommend taking a screenshot of each QR code before you board your flight as the wifi in the airport can be unreliable, making it challenging to access the codes once you land.
While pre-registrations is technically optional, using Visit Japan Web will make your arrival process much smoother. We have also heard of people (mistakenly) being unable to board their flight to Japan until they completed the registration, so do the registration before your check-in to be on the safe side.
Before November 2022, there was a separate app called “MySOS” to handle the fast track quarantine registration. This has now been merged with Visit Japan Web and you don’t need to use the MySOS app anymore.
Arriving in Japan
Once your flight lands, the only thing standing between you and a hot bowl of ramen is quarantine, immigration and customs checks. These could take a matter of minutes or over two hours, depending on how busy the airport is.
If you have filled in your details on Visit Japan Web then you don’t need to worry about the disembarkation and customs cards that are handed out on the flight, Visit Japan Web handles all of those.
First up you will show your Fast Track QR code as you get off the plane. If your screen is blue, you will be directed to a counter where a staff member will scan your code and check your passport. Those with red and yellow screens will be pulled aside so their details can be checked.
Next you go to immigration where your passport will again be checked along with the 2nd “Immigration” QR code. Expect the queue at immigration to be the longest.
Finally you pick up your luggage and go through customs. Some airports have implemented automatic kiosks that scan your passport, the 3rd QR code and take a photo of your face. At other airports the check may still be performed by a customs official.
This blog by a Singaporean traveller gives a good walkthrough of how the process worked in early November 2022.
Once you are in Japan
While travelling within Japan you are expected to follow the same measures we locals take to avoid spreading any infectious diseases. Broadly speaking, the current measures are:
- Wearing masks indoors and on public transport
- Regularly sanitise your hands
- Physical distancing
- Monitor your health
Taking your mask off
Currently, you are required to wear a mask when indoors and on public transport. Once outside you can take your mask off unless you are talking close to others. You are also allowed to take your mask off to eat and to bathe in onsen hot springs, although in these situations you should limit how much you talk while your mask is off.
What happens if I get sick?
If you develop Covid-19 symptoms while traveling in Hokkaido independently, you should contact the Hokkaido Foreign Resident Support Center which will help you get tested and advise what to do next. If you test positive you will need to isolate for at least 7 days, while close contacts need to isolate for 5 days. The Japan National Tourism Organization has more details, including a national hotline.
A local tour operator like Adventure Hokkaido is best placed to help you plan your dream trip to Hokkaido, we speak the language and can support you both in planning and once you are here.
Dreaming of a Hokkaido adventure?
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