What You Need to Know about Traveling in Post-Pandemic Japan
In October 2022, Japan re-opened for unrestricted foreign tourism for the first time in two years (since the pandemic closed its borders). Tour operators are seeing a boom in visitors as pent-up demand has made the country a prime destination.
That said, there are still some differences in the tourist experience between today’s Japan and pre-2020. Here are the essential things you’ll want to know about traveling in post-pandemic Japan:
Americans must pre-register: Japan has ended the temporary visa requirement for American tourists, but incoming visitors still must pre-register via Visit Japan Web with proof of vaccination or recent test results. As always, travelers should be advised to check the US. Embassy in Japan website for any updates to this policy prior to travel.
Japan is easier on your budget than ever. While the dollar has retreated from a recent 30-year high against the yen, current figures of 130 yen to the dollar mean travelers will see in-country prices converting about 25% cheaper than pre-pandemic. That means more affordable shopping, dining, attractions, transport, and lodging.
The Japanese are still masking. While there is no official government mandate, visitors should be aware that many shops, hotel lobbies, transportation channels, and attractions continue to require masks.
Less crowding at popular attractions. China normally supplies about 60% of Japan’s tourism market. But for the Chinese, the return to travel has been slow to nonexistant. As a result, Japan’s visitor figures are still down. As long as this trend continues, tourists will enjoy smaller crowds and better pricing for popular cities and attractions.
For first-timers to Japan, a cruise circumnavigating the island allows you to experience the depth of culture Japan has to offer without constantly changing hotels, dragging luggage from one city to the next, and repetitive multi-hour train rides.