Japan allows non-guided group tours

After maintaining some of the strictest Covid-19 border controls among major economies since the start of the pandemic, Japan has finally announced updates to its travel regulations. Foreign tourists will be allowed non-guided group travel, with a smoother entry process. 

Look forward to non-guided group tours & raised entry cap

Non-guided Group Travel - daily entry cap increased
Image credit: Mana5280

Earlier today, Prime Minister Kishida Fumio announced that Japan will allow non-guided package tours for visitors from all countries. This means that travellers will still have to purchase packages from authorised tour agencies, and keep strictly to the set travel itinerary instead of going off on their own to explore the country. 

The daily entry cap will also be raised to 50,000 people starting from 7th September – which is 2.5 times the current limit of 20,000.

Non-guided Group Travel - tourists at Asakusa
Image credit: TEDDY2 H

Japan reopened its borders on 10th June to travellers on guided package tours, but remained closed to independent travelers. Kishida said that the easing of border controls is intended to spur visits from people who are looking to visit Japan due to the favourable exchange rates now. 

Covid-test requirement scrapped for vaccinated travelers

Last week, Kishida also announced that from 7th September onwards, travellers who have received three vaccine doses would no longer be required to show a negative Covid-19 result to enter Japan. 

Visa waiver still up in the air

Non-guided Group Travel - visa and passport regulations
Image credit: Nicole Geri

With free-and-easy travel in sight, Japan would have to revise its visa waiver regulations soon. Japan halted visa waivers for applicable passport holders during the pandemic. 

Currently, Japan’s borders are only open to their own citizens, as well as people who are holding long-term and pre-issued tourism visas. 

Stay abreast of the latest Japan travel updates 

Non-guided Group Travel - plane flies over sunflower field outside Narita Airport
Image credit: @narita.airport_official

The easing of travel restrictions will be good news for both foreign tourists looking to explore Japan on their own, as well as Japan’s local economy. 

If you’re intending to travel to Japan, make arrangements ahead and keep yourself updated with our guide on visa procedures, apps to download and what to expect after you land. 

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Cover image adapted from: TEDDY2 H

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