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Japan Has Officially Reopened to Tourists From Down Under — But Only As Part of Package Tours

To make the trip, you'll need to wear masks everywhere, have private medical insurance to cover your visit and be chaperoned during your whole stay.
By Sarah Ward
June 10, 2022
By Sarah Ward
June 10, 2022

Maybe you're desperate to hit up a Super Nintendo theme park. Perhaps you've always wanted to walk across Shibuya's famous scramble crossing. Or, you might just want to sing karaoke in a ferris wheel. Whichever applies — and if you'd prefer to scope out the Studio Ghibli museum, wander through a kaleidoscopic maze of digital art, or hit up all the izakaya or ramen joints possible, too — travellers from Australia and New Zealand now can on a trip to Japan.

Before the pandemic, Japan had cemented itself as a favourite holiday destination for tourists from Down Under, but making the journey has been impossible for the past few years due to both local and Japanese border restrictions. Then, back in May, the Japanese government started trialling letting strictly controlled package tours — including with Aussies — into the country. Now, from Friday, June 10, it has broadened its entry rules and reopened to visitors from a heap of nations, albeit still with strict requirements in place.

So, if a Tokyo trip has been at the top of your post-restrictions bucket list, that's now a possibility. The huge caveat: you can only head to Japan as part of controlled package tours. That means that travellers from Australia and NZ will need to be visiting with organised tours in conjunction with travel agencies, and must be chaperoned during their whole stay.

Visitors also need to test negative to COVID-19 before leaving for Japan, wear masks everywhere — including outdoors — and have private medical insurance to cover your trip. And, physical distancing, sanitising and washing your hands frequently, and minimising time in shared dining areas is also required.

The changed rules place Australia and New Zealand into the 'blue' band of countries under Japan's new border entry system, alongside 50-plus other nations. That's the highest tier, above yellow (which has vaccination and testing requirements) and red (which has even tighter vaccination and testing rules).

In total, folks from 98 countries can now head to Japan — but there's also an entry cap of 20,000 people per day.

Japan has reopened for package tours from 98 countries from Friday, June 10. For further details about visiting Japan and its border restrictions, head to the Government of Japan website.

Published on June 10, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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