Japan has announced it’ll reopen its borders to individual travellers and allow visa-free travel so BRB, I’m about to sling all of my leave on a cheeky four-week holiday.
The country has had strict entry requirements since the pandemic began two and a half years ago, making it difficult for tourists to scoot on over. It did loosen up restrictions earlier this year — but tourists had to travel as part of pre-packaged tours and also apply for visas.
Now, Japan will be scrapping those two measures and its daily arrival cap of 50,000 people. Before the pandemic, Japan offered visa-free travel for more than 60 countries, including Australia.
The main remaining requirement to enter the country? You’ll need to be fully vaxxed.
I’ll be making like Scott Morrison and avoiding work by booking a flight to Japan ASAP.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced the lifting of restrictions in a speech at the New York Stock Exchange.
“We are a nation that has flourished through the free flow of people, goods and capital,” he said, per the ABC.
“COVID-19 of course interrupted these benefits, but from October 11, Japan will relax border control measures to be on par with the US, as well as resume visa-free travel and individual travel.”
Do you hear that? It’s the end of Hot Europe Summer. Get me on a plane to the Studio Ghibli theme park.
Travel analytics firm ForwardKeys’ VP for insights Olivier Ponti told The Guardian that there’s currently a ton of interest in travelling to Japan.
“Searches for travel to Japan reached their highest point this year at the end of August,” he said.
And every single one of those searches was me at my desk wistfully looking at pictures of snow monkeys hanging out in the thermal baths at the Jigokudani Monkey Park.
View this post on Instagram
Oh, to be one of these lil guys.
With travel to Japan resuming from October, now is probably a good time to plan the solo trip of your dreams, pester your partner for a romantic holiday, or assemble your most organised group chat.