Japan has some of the strictest travel restrictions in the world and it is currently not possible to visit unless you are a Japanese citizen or encounter a very small number of exceptions. However, there is hope on the horizon for tourists desperate to visit Tokyo’s neon-streaked alleyways and Kyoto’s temples. Here’s what you need to know.

Main photo: Tokyo International Airport (Getty Images)

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Who can enter Japan?

Foreign students and short-term business travelers from 106 countries and regions, including the UK, are allowed to enter Japan. If you fall into one of these categories, you will also need a visa, sponsored by a company or a university. There is currently a daily limit of 10.00 newcomers. Those residing in Japan, with a valid re-entry permit, are also allowed to enter the country.

Tourists are not allowed and Japan has suspended the usual visa waiver system, although Nikkei Asia reported the prime minister said the country would ease border controls in June.

What tests are required to enter Japan?

Any authorized traveler must take an approved Covid test within 72 hours of departure and obtain proof of a negative result. Before disembarking, you will also need to sign a written commitment and agree to abide by quarantine and self-isolation rules. You will need to complete a health form for a QR code.

Is quarantine mandatory?

Not if you can prove that you have been fully vaccinated (including a booster) at least 14 days before landing in Japan with AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson. It’s a different story if you’re not fully vaccinated: a seven-day stay in a quarantine hotel is required with the option to be discharged on the third day if you have a negative test result.

Itsukushima Shrine (Getty Pictures)

Are British travelers banned from entering Japan?

The country has imposed indefinite entry bans on more than 150 countries, including all of Europe and the United States.

When could this change?

In early May, during a visit to London, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hinted that the borders would open in June to tourists.

Nikkei Asia reported on it, saying: “We have now significantly relaxed border control measures, with the next relaxation taking place in June, when Japan will introduce a smoother entry process similar to that of other G7 members. ” No other details were given. The temperature contacted the Japan National Tourist Board for clarification.

The news was well received by tour operator InsideJapan.

“This is something we’ve been waiting for over two years and something that can’t happen soon enough,” said co-founder Simon King.

“While details and dates are yet to be confirmed, it looks like Japan is set to reopen to tourism in June. We have thousands of customers looking forward to travelling, and inquiries are approaching pre-pandemic levels. is the news we’ve all been waiting for,” he said.

Will I need a visa?

When the country reopens, you are unlikely to need a visa if you are coming from the UK for tourism; it is one of the exempt countries along with most of Europe and the United States.

Dotonbori, city of Osaka, Japan
Dotonbori, Osaka City (Alamy)

To be inspired

Planning another vacation?

take me there

Inspired to visit Japan but not yet booked your trip? Here are the best packages from BA Holidays* and Expedia*. And if you’re still unsure where you want to go or what type of holiday to book, contact us here and one of Designer Travel’s experts will contact you to help organize your perfect bespoke holiday.

Here is a selection of some of the best tours in Japan from our partners Times Travel*.