Japan to allow “non-escorted package tours” from 7 September

From 7 September, Japan will remove the chaperone requirement for tourists and scrap pre-departure testing, as it inches towards reopening.

Japan’s never-ending charade of will-they-won’t-they looks set to continue, as the country announces a further easing of tourism restrictions effective 7 September 2022. 

First, the bad news: free-and-easy travel still won’t be possible. If you were hoping to book your own ticket, fly to Japan and start exploring at your leisure, you’ll still need to wait.

The good news, if it can be called that, is that Japan will no longer require escorted tours. Tourists will be allowed to purchase nonguided packages from a tour operator, without constant supervision from a handler ala North Korea. 

I suppose that’s somewhat better, but I can’t be the only one frustrated by all this edging. 

Japan further eases tourism restrictions

Japan will remove the requirement for tour groups to be constantly escorted

International tourists to Japan are currently required to be part of an organised tour group, following a fixed itinerary and accompanied by a tour guide from entry to departure. The guidelines are 16 pages long, which hint at how far this arrangement is from business as usual. 

From 7 September 2022, Japan will scrap the requirement for constant supervision. Tourists will be able to purchase “nonguided package tours”. It’s not clear at the moment what exactly that means, but what’s clear is that free-and-easy is not on the cards just yet. 

What I envision is buying a tour package that comes with admission to several attractions, with dining, accommodation and transport arrangements included as well. It’s highly unlikely that travellers will be permitted to book their own flights or hotels, which is bad news for miles and points users.

I don’t really see the public health angle to this, so all I can surmise is it’s a measure to placate local tourism operators.

In other tourism-related developments, Japan will end its pre-departure test requirement for vaccinated and boosted travellers from 7 September 2022 as well. 

Travellers from Singapore do not require on-arrival testing or quarantine

On arrival in Japan, the relevant testing and quarantine measures depend on your 14-day travel history and vaccination status. 

Singapore is currently classified as a Blue List country, which does not require on-arrival testing or quarantine, regardless of vaccination status. However, if your 14-day travel history cuts across various categories, the restrictions of the strictest one will apply. You can view the categorisation of countries here. 

Blue List

🔵 Entry Measures for Blue List
VaccinatedOn-Arrival TestQuarantine & Post Arrival Test
NoN/AN/A
YesN/AN/A

Yellow List

🟡 Entry Measures for Yellow List
VaccinatedOn-Arrival TestQuarantine & Post Arrival Test
NoPCR3-day home quarantine + PCR or 5-day home quarantine with no test
YesN/AN/A

Red List

🔴 Entry Measures for Red List
VaccinatedOn-Arrival TestQuarantine & Exit Test
NoPCR3-day hotel quarantine + PCR
YesPCR3-day home quarantine + PCR or 5-day home quarantine with no test

At the time of writing, Japan has suspended visa-free entry, and all tourists will be required to apply for a visa. 

Conclusion

When?

Japan will further ease its tourism restrictions from 7 September, scrapping pre-departure testing and the requirement for a continuous escort throughout the stay. A package tour and visa are still required, however.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the reopening we were all hoping for. But airlines seem to be betting it happens soon, and I mean, that’s got to be the next step right?

Right?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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phister

This endless cockteasing from Japan is just frustrating at this point. Will take my tourist dollars elsewhere tyvm.

Josh

Japan’s tourism sector is less than 1% of their GDP, i’m sure they are missing you so badly

Last edited 29 days ago by Josh
phister

Are your feelings hurt Josh? Do you need a hug from teddy?

Josh

Not really, just laughing at how you think Japan cares where you spend your few dollars lmao

phister

Cope harder weeb

GROW UP

Grow up.

weeb

Imagine criticizing a government for putting what its own people wants ahead of what foreigners want.

kopi lim

Haven’t you been living in Singapore long enough?

Macdonald

grow up

kopi lim

Hello retard, it was 7.x% in 2019. Might want to get your facts right before you mouth off, even on the Internet. Oh wait I forgot you’re mentally deficient.

James Quek

Let’s hope we have the real good news soon as there are talks about this happening in Nov/Dec 2022.

Derek

Do you think its risky to book 12mths ahead on SQ saver points and speculate that leisure travel restrictions will all be relaxed by then? Am thinking it will be sooo hard to book on saver points once Japan fully opens.

James Quek

I will go ahead since there is travel plan in 2023.

Falco

There already are no saver redemptions available for 2023 for Japan…

Ronald

Well,at least theres some progress,with some restrictions
Waiting for the day when they finally decide to open up fully

Mark

These measures are now so far removed from anything to do with health, the rest of the world can only laugh at the sheer stupidity.

Mike

No one’s forcing you to go. There are 195 other countries in the world you can choose from

Ah long

Good Lord Mike why are you such a loser

Mike

Cause I don’t believe in pointless whining when there are countless other options available

Mark

Actually, I never said anyone was forcing me to go. In fact, I never said I even wanted to go. So your comment was pretty irrelevant really. What I said was, that their policy is so far removed from anything to do with health, that you can only laugh at the sheer stupidity – a comment which says nothing about my desire or intent to go or not to go. So I was not engaging in “pointless whining”. I was noting the sheer stupidity of their policy. No more. No less.

phister

What can you do Mark, some people are just too sensitive and/or quick to look for trouble on the Internet hahaha

jeff

its the politics. pm approval ratings are falling post abe (RIP) and population in general does not want jp to open up. even if generally polite sgporeans are amongst the most preferred tourists for them.

tikopeh

what the hell is non escorted package tours

結婚旅行キャンセル

That’s the thing, no one fucking knows because the Japanese government never gives full details on their travel programs until last minute. It’s driving me insane; my honeymoon flight is booked for October and I’m unable to make plans for my honeymoon or to instead spend time with friends and family because they have to make slow changes and never be clear with the information they give, and since the trip is two months long I need to use miles to afford all those hotels. I’m also reading articles in Japanese about how they want to get wealthy tourists into… Read more »

Andrew

Needs a little more detail…. Japanese travel agency are quoting people a minimum 10,000 Yen/day/pax levy. So not only do you have to book your itinerary though them where you must only do at that time what is on there, you also have to book your hotel, etc. on top of that. I’ve seen some quotes today on the “tourist tax” at up to 25,000 Yen/day. For all those complaining, this is similar to the updated tour package rules for Bhutan (I’ve been to both countries). Therefore this will only insure high value tourists are able to enter and keep… Read more »

Ozma

Do you have some specific articles I could read about this daily tax? I spent a couple years before COVID saving up to take a month-long trip to Japan in 2020, which obviously never happened. Unfortunately, while I managed to never spend any of my Japan Trip fund, and even managed to set aside more money, there’s no way I could afford an extra $3000+ dollars being tacked on to the cost of the trip. 🙁 Realistically, I suppose I’m not the lucrative traveler Japan is trying to attract. I wouldn’t have stayed in fancy hotels, or eaten at expensive… Read more »

Calven

Spore Japan Embassy has except visa application for Individual for less than 30 days sightseeing tour.
The form required did not specify you must book thru a travel agent, just your detail itenery and hotels needed.
However all appointments for visa application has been filled till late October.

Jepunkia

Eh … don’t give ppl false hope leh. There’s only “Package Tour (30 Days)” visa application if that’s what you are referring to; see https://www.sg.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/phased_measures_for_resuming_cross-border_travel.html. Visa with special exceptional circumstances need to meet the following requirements which is not applicable to independent tourists: https://www.moj.go.jp/isa/content/001361129.pdf.

If you are referring to this Visa to Japan page (https://www.sg.emb-japan.go.jp/itpr_en/visa_documents.html), take note of this line in RED “For visa application procedures during COVIDー19 period, please click here“.

It’s quite clear that you have to book through a tour agency irregardless: https://www.mlit.go.jp/kankocho/page03_000076.html. Period.

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