Things to Know Before You Travel to Japan During COVID-19

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It’s still been difficult to travel freely since the border is mostly closed for international travelers in Japan. But you may think hopefully there is a possibility that you can travel again sometime this year if you get vaccinated while taking some precautions during your trip. 
So, we are writing this article for those who are planning to visit Japan in the near future and curious about how people cooperate with the situation in Japan, and what to follow as a tourist. 
We also introduce a fun story that spread all over Japan which became a symbol of the pandemic in Japan. Keep reading and here are the things to know before traveling to Japan during COVID-19.

Who can travel to Japan?

Japan has strict travel restrictions with 159 countries/regions on the prohibited list. Foreign nationals who have stayed in any of the following countries listed below will be denied to enter Japan. (As of June, 2021)

AsiaBangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste
North AmericaCanada, United States of America
Latin America and the CaribbeanArgentine, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela
EuropeAlbania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyz, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Vatican
Middle EastAfghanistan, Bahrain, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
AfricaAlgeria, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central Africa, Comoros, Cote d’lvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

For details, please take a look at the following page: Border enforcement measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

Restrictions and requirement for travelers

  • All the international travelers will be obliged to submit a certificate of negative test result which took place within 72 hours of departure. Otherwise you will not be permitted to enter the country. 
  • If you don’t have a certificate on your departure, you will not be allowed to be on board. 
  • Answer the questionnaire before entering the country and submit it to a quarantine officer at the airport (show them the issued QR code). 
  • For 14 days after your arrival, you will not be allowed to use any public transportation such as train, bus, tax, and airplane. 
  • For 14 days, a healthcare center will contact you on either phone call or email to check up on your movements and health conditions every day. 

Please check the official announcement and the updated information(Click “英語版” for English information) before planning your trip. 

Travel etiquette during COVID-19

These things we mention below might be no different from what you do in your country, but here are the travel etiquettes to follow in Japan.

Always wear a mask 

It’s a common manner for all the countries at the moment, but keep your mask on literally all the time. Japan is more strict about wearing masks, especially in big cities like Tokyo.  Even when you are waiting for your order at the restaurant, or when you enter the store, put your mask on so that everyone can feel comfortable at the place.  

Refrain from talking on public transportation 

In Japan, it’s known that people are very quiet on public transportations. It’s rarely seen that people talk on the phone or talk loudly on the trains. And people are more conscious now for those who would talk on public transportations, so it’s better to keep it in mind that you should refrain from talking when you use public transportation.

Train Kyoto

Wash your hands frequently 

Every time when you come back to your hotel room from going out, and before eating, wash your hands thoroughly. Sanitize your hands before getting in the store and restaurant, usually there is a hand sanitizer at the entrance.

Avoid the crowded time and place

When you travel to Japan, you might think you want to visit the most popular tourist attractions in Japan, but Japan has more to offer, and more to discover. You can decide the destinations based on our list of hidden places in Japan, or nature spots for hiking and outdoor activities to avoid the crowd. If you want to visit popular places such as Fushimi Inari in Kyoto or Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, it’s better to avoid the peak time at least. Visit Fushimi Inari in the early morning or Shibuya Crossing in the weekday afternoon. Research well before you go and choose the quiet time to visit. 

Fushimi Inari Kyoto view

Monitor your health 

It’s important to monitor your health before going out exploring. If your body temperature is higher than 37.5℃ (99.5℉), you should stay home. Many facilities and restaurants will not allow you to get in when the body temperature is high according to the guideline. And of course, if you don’t feel well, get some rest and better not to go outside for the sake of other people.  

Don’t shake hands and keep the distance 

In Japan, it’s not common to shake hands and hug or kiss on the cheek with friends and family. It is even said that’s probably the reason why Japan has lower cases of COVID-19 compared with some other countries. Especially during the pandemic, it’s better to avoid shaking hands as you are already accustomed to. And when you are queuing up, keep your distance between people, often there are social distancing markers on the foot at supermarkets or shops.

Talk less at the restaurant 

In many small restaurants, they will ask the customers not to talk during a meal or ask them to talk less. And sometimes suggested wearing a mask when you speak and putting it off when you eat and repeat. You also will be asked to check the body temperature and to put a hand sanitizer before entering the restaurant.

restaurant in japan

Cashless options in Japan 

Japan has limited options for cashless. But in a big city like Tokyo, and convenience stores, you can still find some places you can pay with cashless ways. Major cashless options here are credit cards, IC cards (prepaid transportation cards such as Suica), and mobile apps such as PayPay, Rakuten Pay, LINE Pay, and Apple Pay.

Amabie, the symbol of the pandemic in Japan 

There is a unique trend that gets popular during the pandemic in Japan. Have you heard of Amabie? It’s one of the Japanese Yokai, Japanese ghosts/monsters from old folklore. Originally, Amabie is the mermaid-like Yokai who was said to have appeared in Kumamoto prefecture in 1846.  It made a prophecy for good harvest and at the same time warned of plague in the area and told a villager to show the picture of Amabie to people in the area to prevent the pandemic. Last year, the images of Amabie went viral on social media, and there are many products featuring Amabie sold. It became a symbol of the pandemic over 170 years later since the first appearance in Japan, in a hope to ward off the coronavirus like it did in the Edo period.

Hotels to stay during quarantine

There are some hotels that allow travelers to stay during their quarantine.
Here are some recommendations which are conveniently located near the airports.
*Please always check the updated information with each hotel

Near Narita Airport 

Near Haneda Airport 

Japan Wonder Travel Tours

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency offering guided tours in Japan. From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we will organize the best tours for you! If you want to explore around Japan to learn more histories and backstories of the area, our knowledgeable and friendly guide will happily take you to the best spots! Also, we can provide you with any assistance for your upcoming trip in Japan, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions/need some help!

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Happy travelling!

Stay informed of the best travel tips to Japan, the most exciting things to do and see, and the top experiences to have with the Japan Wonder Travel Newsletter. Every week we will introduce you to our latest content.

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