Can I Travel To Japan This Summer

Japan has been a popular tourist destination for decades, with its modern cities, traditional temples and diverse natural scenery. At present, with the spread of COVID-19, Japan’s strict policies on foreign tourism has meant that for much of the last year, there’s been no possibility of traveling to Japan. However, there is a possibility that Japan may resume tourism for the summer of 2021.

Whether or not it is safe or desirable to travel to Japan at this time, remains a hot topic amongst tourists and medical professionals alike. On one side, in Japan the vaccination rollout has been slower than most other developed countries, meaning the risk of actually having a vacation there is higher. On the other hand, Japan is an ultra-modern culture that practices strict hygiene and currently has the leading preventive and mitigation technologies in the world.

The Japanese government also announced a program of special measures called Go To Travel, to support the tourism industry during the pandemic. This could include discounts on travel and accommodation. The government’s intentions are to restart tourist activities this summer, and would need to lay out a plan for controlling the pandemic that would involve temperature screening, testing, and other precautionary measures.

Despite that, it is still unclear if the Japanese government will go ahead with such a plan, let alone allow foreign tourists to travel to Japan, and so it is still too early to make definite travel plans. In order to do so, the situation will need to improve drastically, and Japan and travelers’ home countries will need to reach agreements on visas and quarantine.

For now, if you’re not already committed to traveling this summer it might be worth waiting until more is known about Japan’s plans and developments in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. So, if you want to know the answer to the question ‘Can I travel to Japan this summer?’, it’s best to keep up to date with Japan’s policy developments, as well as news on the global vaccine deployment, when making any travel plans.

Is Japan Safe to Visit Right Now?

Whether you should travel or not is ultimately your decision to make. A huge consideration is whether it is safe to travel there or not. The best advice is to stay up to date with the latest advisories from your individual country’s government to see if they would recommend such a trip.

Though Japan is considered comparatively safe from a health standpoint, they have been slowly increasing the risk levels. The risk level is currently in the ‘be careful’ range and is expected to stay there for the near term. But those who choose to travel should understand that there will be restrictions in place. For instance, the Go To Travel program will require anyone travelling to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travelling and a lab results certificate.

Even with this requirement, it is still sensible to take extra precautions such as obtaining a certificate that is applicable in Japan. Airlines might also require such documentation for international flights. Additionally, travelers should plan ahead and be aware of overnight stays or other details that may change. It is also advisable to get familiar about the culture and customs of the country you are visiting in order to create a great, stress-free experience.

Are Vaccines Required to Travel to Japan?

The answer to this is still uncertain as the situation is changing regularly. Currently, vaccines are not a mandatory entry requirement, however, travelers can have the option of presenting a valid certification of vaccination to reduce quarantine time.

In fact, Japan is currently developing its own kind of vaccine, which will be ready for use by the public by the end of 2021. As the vaccine becomes more common, the Japanese authorities may start to require travelers to be vaccinated before entry. Currently only essential travelers are allowed entry to Japan, which generally excludes tourists.

It is recommended to check the Japanese government’s website for the latest information on visas and vaccination requirements. For those who prefer to take additional safety precautions, they can get tested a few days before heading to the country.

What Travel Leeway Does Japan Allow?

Most importantly, international travelers must adhere to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Japan. This is due to the current risks of COVID-19, and is likely to be in place for some time. That being said, the Japanese government is establishing exemptions for quarantine time for travelers who can provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure to Japan.

This means that it may not take 14 full days to complete the quarantine process, depending on where the traveler is coming from and the results of the tests. Additionally, once travelers complete the quarantine period, there will be restrictions on movement and activities in Japan. For example, the majority of restaurants and bars will be closed and large gatherings will remain prohibited.

Also, if travelers find themselves in an area of resurgent outbreaks, they may be asked to limit their activities for a few weeks without being able to move freely around the country. Therefore, tourists should be aware of the restrictions, regulations and guidelines before they arrive in Japan.

What Types of Activities Can Tourists Do in Japan?

Although the majority of activities will be limited due to restrictions, Japan is still a great destination for tourists to explore. Tourists can view the impressive natural landscapes, visit iconic landmarks and explore the amazing culture of Japan.

The Japanese are renowned for their welcoming hospitality, so simple things like trying local sushi or visiting shops are enjoyable experiences in Japan. Tourists can also enjoy activities like scenery-viewing, spa treatments, and purchasing souvenirs from many shops.

The country is also home to a wide array of shrines, castles and temples that are considered to be world landmarks. Tourists can explore these places while learning more about the religion, art, and architecture of the Japanese people.

The Go To Travel program also offers discounted domestically-operated accommodation and over $30 per day rebate for travel expenses within Japan. This scheme covers transportation, such as rail and bus fares, and could be seen as an incentive to travel to Japan.

The Impact of the Pandemic on Tourism in Japan

It’s safe to say that the effects of the pandemic have been felt across all countries, including Japan. The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the tourism industry, with closed borders, restrictions in place and travel advisories. Japan’s inbound travel industry has been among the hardest hit and its economy is expected to suffer long-term effects due to the steep drop in foreign tourists.

Travelers and tourists hoping to come to Japan to experience its unique culture and admire its beautiful landscapes should be aware of the potential issues surrounding travel during the pandemic. This includes possible disruptions to flights, hotels being closed with staff on leave, and the effects of long-term border closures. The best advice is to stay informed and look for news from the Japanese authorities regarding when it will be safe to travel there.

What Should Travelers Be Aware of When Visiting Japan?

Apart from being aware of the current restrictions and travelers having to follow health and safety protocols when they enter Japan, travelers wishing to explore Japan should first do some research. Be sure to have copies of necessary documents (e.g. passport, visa, etc.) and consider purchasing travel insurance in order to be well prepared for the trip. Moreover, travelers need to be aware of the customs of the country they are visiting, the climate and the possible health risks.

Also, given the difficult situation, visitors might feel uncertain about whether it’s safe to visit Japan, and might wonder whether locals will be excited to see tourists coming to the country. The truth is, Japanese people are generally very friendly and warm towards visitors. The best way to enjoy your visit in Japan is by respecting the local culture, be aware of the restrictions and behaving in a responsible manner.

Is It Worth Visiting Japan?

There’s no doubt that Japan is a very special place. It’s a vibrant and historical country with unparalleled hospitality and warm people. It is no surprise that it is on the bucket list of many travelers from around the world. Though it has currently become difficult to explore it in the same ways tourists did before, there is still quite a bit to explore and appreciate.

In spite of all the difficulties created by the pandemic, as restrictions ease up and flights are on the rise, many plan to take a trip to Japan. Though the current situation in Japan isn’t ideal, the country has plenty to offer. If you understand the risks and are willing to take the necessary precautions, Japan can be a great place to explore.

Margarita Nelson

Margarita M. Nelson is a Japan-based writer and researcher. She has written extensively on the culture, history, and current events of Japan for various publications. She holds an MA in Asian Studies from the University of Tokyo, and is currently writing a book on the history of the Ainu people of northern Japan.

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