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Japan reopens to chaperoned tourists

International tourists registered on government-approved private tour groups can now visit Japan

Great news for Japan’s tour guides and operators: Japan has begun welcoming international tourists for the first time since it shut its borders at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 – provided they are accompanied by tour guides at all times.

A limited number of visitors from a total of 98 countries will be permitted to obtain a tourist visa, after receiving an ERFS confirmation from a Japan-based tour operator. The daily entry cap has been doubled to 20,000 visitors.

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Visitors will have their itineraries cautiously managed with guides and travel service providers taking responsibility for ensuring visitors comply with Covid-19 rules, such as wearing masks.

All those entering the country must test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to departure. Visitors from ‘blue list’ countries considered to pose less risk, such as the UK and Ireland, will then be able to skip the additional test upon arrival, as well as the three-day quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.

Separate rules also apply for visitors from countries currently classified as ‘yellow list’ and ‘red list’.

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Commenting on the development, Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) president Seino Satoshi said: “Despite the pandemic, we have worked with people in inbound tourism to prepare for its recovery. We will welcome the return of international tourists to Japan as the first step in the recovery of inbound tourism.”

As part of its reopening, Japan has also expanded the number of airports accepting international flights to seven, adding Naha in Okinawa and New Chitose in Hokkaido.

For more information, visit www.jnto.go.jp

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