- Travel Japan in 2022 – Bad Idea?
- If you can enter Japan, should you still visit in 2022?
Travel Japan in 2022 – Bad Idea?
As of August 6, 2022, there is still travel restrictions for entry to Japan.
It’s required to obtain visas before visiting Japan now, so it is not as easy as before.
And, the visa is not for everyone yet. This is what the government website says.
- (2) Foreign nationals newly entering Japan for a short-term stay for tourism (only when a travel agency among others organizing the trip serves as the receiving organization of the entrants)
Basically, you are not allowed to enter for tourism unless you are in the group for a tour by travel agencies. Also, some countries are not allowed even in this category.
Travel to Japan from the US
If you are from the United States, it is allowed to travel in tour and “Regardless of the vaccination status of the entrants/returnees, on-arrival test, home quarantine and other measures are not required.” according to the government website. However, I know for the most of you group tour is not realistic. You might want to wait until the whole visa process is removed.
Travel to Japan from Canada, United Kingdom, Australia.
The restriction is the same as the visitors from United States. Only business and study purpose with support of Japanese local party (including foreign companies in Japan) is allowed to travel individually, and tourism is only limited to group by agency.
Why So Strict?
Then, why Japanese border control is so strict right now? Is Japan going to close forever like Edo period?
It includes my personal opinion, but Japan has a significant amount of seniors and the government is afraid of losing their support. However, Japan is shifting to a tourism-friendly country and it’s a important policy of the government to increase the number of foreign tourists. So probably before long, the border will reopen little by little.
If you can enter Japan, should you still visit in 2022?
Actually there are good points and negative aspects for traveling to Japan right now, and I’m a bit moving to “no” right now looking at the current situation in Japan. Here is why.
Merit of coming early after border is open.
There are some merits if you come to Japan early. The biggest benefit you can get is that you can see many top tourist spots without crowds. It’s been 2 years and I’m kind of used to the situation that there aren’t many people in major sight seeing spots. However, I remember how busy everywhere was before 2020. We had to wait in the long line or even hours to get on cable car in mountain, get Goshuin “temple’s stamps” at temples in Tokyo. The earlier you come, less crowds you see.
Problems I find – Mask
It’s not mandatory, but Japanese people are still wearing mask even outside. It’s required to wear mask in any shops, restaurants and on public transportation. If your country is already free from mask, you might feel uncomfortable about this circumstance in Japan.
You might not able to get medical support
When I went to Okinawa in 2020, I had a severe headache and went to the hospital near the airport, but I was denied as the hospital was full with local patients. Tokyo is quite an open place for foreign visitors, but you still might see some difficulty to see a doctor in case of emergency. As being said that, if you have worry about your health condition or senior travelers, or if you are traveling with someone with physical concern, you might want to wait until the hospital system goes back to normal a little more.
Tokyo is ok, but is the countryside the same?
If you visit Japan now, I recommend you to visit mainly Tokyo or other larger cities. My friend visited the countryside and found out people are still overly cautious about getting COVID, and she saw some people covering their mouths as soon as they saw her walking the street without a mask. She was quite offended. It’s still getting better than 2020. A person visited restaurant in countryside in Tohoku was told to hide the car in backyard because they didn’t want other village people to see that someone from Tokyo is eating at the restaurant. The country side has its beauty, and I like to see it too, but maybe better to wait a bit. The countryside I mean is more an area with rural area, and not where the major hot-springs or beach resorts are.
Prepare Japanese Yen.
As the interest rate stays low in Japan in comparison with other countries, Japanese Yen is record level cheap now in this past 20 years. It’s been stable that you get around 110 Yen per 1 US dollar, but now you get 130-135 Yen. That is a big saving especially if your budget is big. We don’t know if Japanese Yen goes cheaper or goes back to expensive again, but if you want to take some advantage of this cheap Yen, you can exchange some US dollars to Japanese Yen and hold cash. Cash is still available anywhere in Japan.
The famous YouTuber Pew Die Pie just moved to Tokyo and is enjoying his life, so if your passion for Japan is something strong and probably you come here often in the future, I think you can go as soon as the border is completely open. But if this trip will be once in life time maybe, you can enjoy more of Japan without any restrictions in 2 or 3 years later even though we have no idea what will happen in this world. I’ll keep posting about Tokyo and Japan’s travel information, so please add this page to bookmark.
Even if you come to Japan soon or later in the future, prepare your trip by reading my Complete Travelers’ Guide to TOKYO Japan.
If you wonder which seasons are the best time to come, this article might help. The Best and Worst Season to Travel to Tokyo.
Border measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19): https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html