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The latest holiday rules explained as tour guide requirement is axed

Holidays to Japan are, little by little, returning to normal. First it was announced that its pre-departure Covid-19 test requirement would be dropped for fully vaccinated travellers and, now, as of 7 September, tourists from the UK can visit without a guide.

The cap on daily arrivals has increased from 20,000 to 50,000 and holidaymakers can see the country on a package tour.

Japan began a phased reopening in June, since which foreign tourists have been able to travel to the country on group trips or private tours. Independent travel will still be off the menu, but this update makes Japan that bit more accessible to Britons.

About 300,000 British travellers visited Japan annually pre-Covid. For those wishing to return or who want to grasp the chance to see it after more than two years of closure to tourists, we explain the latest rules.

What are the rules for holidays to Japan?

You can now take a holiday to Japan as part of a package tour. Travellers from all countries will be accepted.

Visitors will still require tourist visas as Japan’s waiver system was suspended during the pandemic. Package travel providers should assist with the process of getting a visa.

Here are the first steps for planning a trip to the country:

  • Book a package tour 
  • Apply for a visa: 1) Your travel agency will obtain the certificate for registration to the Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS); 2) Apply for a visa at an embassy/consulate with the ERFS certificate. 

The stipulation on package holidays is to ensure that the holiday provider helps you with obtaining a visa, offers advice on travel in the country, and guidance if you should test positive for Covid-19 while in Japan.

The japan.travel/en/practical-coronavirus-information/”>Japan National Tourism Organisation offers further information.

Do I need to be fully vaccinated?

You can visit Japan with proof of full vaccination (which includes a booster, under its rules) with the final dose received at least 14 days before entry to Japan. AstraZeneca is not accepted as a valid booster for travel to Japan. If you have received the required Covid-19 jabs, you do not need a test to visit Japan.

The UK NHS Covid Pass can be used as evidence of your vaccination record.

Can I take a Covid-19 test to enter Japan?

Travellers who are not fully vaccinated according to Japan’s rules can enter with a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours before departure. The proof of negative test result must have been signed and stamped by the laboratory where it was carried out. covid-19/border_test.html”>See the full requirements.

These rules apply to visitors aged 18 or over; under-18s who are not fully vaccinated can follow the same rules as adults so long as they are accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent.

More from Travel

Are there any Covid rules in Japan?

Guidance on social distancing, mask-wearing and other precautions is still in place in some public areas and on public transport.

Additionally, the package tour stipulation for foreign tourists means that you must stay in pre-planned accommodation, which prevents more spontaneous trips once you are in the country.

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