Land of the Sinking Yen: Japan Trip Planning

After 937 days of isolation, Japan is finally reopening to the world. Here's how I'm planning my visit.

After a long drawn out charade of will-they-won’t-they, Japan is finally set to scrap its remaining tourism restrictions and reopen its borders from 11 October 2022. 

Even though it’s one of the last major economies in the world to reopen, I don’t think Japan tourism officials will be losing too much sleep about wooing visitors back. The place practically sells itself, after all. Singaporeans are crazy for Japan; the running joke is that this December there’ll be more Singaporeans in Tokyo than Toa Payoh. 

Open again from 11 October

While I’d have very much loved to be among the first to witness the biggest reopening of Japan since Matthew Perry, I’ve got another trip to New York planned until 20 October. This means I’ll only reach Japan on the 23rd, but hey, I waited this long- what’s another 12 days?

And with the Japanese Yen plumbing new depths all the time, who knows. Maybe waiting a bit could make your trip ever so slightly cheaper.

🇯🇵  Land of the Sinking Yen
  • Land of the Sinking Yen: Trip Planning
  • Singapore Airlines The Private Room
  • Singapore Airlines SilverKris Lounge T2
  • Japan arrivals process
  • Tokyo EDITION Toranomon
  • ANA Lounge Tokyo Narita
  • ZIPAIR B787-8 Business Class NRT-SIN

Travel to Japan: Pre-Departure Checklist

🇯🇵 Summary: Travel to Japan
[From 11 October 22]

  • Download MySOS app (Android | iOS) and complete registration 
    • Register at least six hours before entry
  • No pre-departure test required unless unvaccinated
    • Unvaccinated travellers must take PCR test within 72 hours of departure
    • Unvaccinated children aged below 18 travelling with fully vaccinated parents will be treated as fully vaccinated
  • On-arrival testing not required
  • No mandatory travel insurance requirement
  • Visa-waiver scheme fully restored for Singaporeans and other nationals
Source

Visas

Japan has restored visa-free access for Singaporeans and nationals of 67 other countries, effective 11 October 2022. Singaporeans may stay in Japan for up to 90 days without applying for a visa.

Vaccinations

Japan has expanded its list of recognised vaccinations to include the full WHO Emergency Use List, which is good news for those who have taken Sinopharm or Sinovac.

Three doses of any of the following vaccinations, in any combination, will satisfy the fully vaccinated criteria (Janssen only requires two doses).

💉 Vaccinations recognised by Japan
[From 11 October 22]
  • AstraZeneca
  • CanSino 
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield
  • COVOVAX
  • Janssen 
  • Moderna 
  • Novavax
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Sinopharm 
  • Sinovac

Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 who travel with fully vaccinated parents/guardians will be treated as fully vaccinated (refer to the bottom of page 17 for the source).

Testing

Fully vaccinated travellers will not need to do any pre-departure or on-arrival testing. 

Unvaccinated travellers must present a negative pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of departure. Prices in Singapore start from S$50 per person. 

Cheapest pre-departure COVID-19 ART and PCR tests in Singapore

Unvaccinated children under the age of 18 who travel with fully vaccinated parents/guardians will be treated as fully vaccinated, and exempt from testing. 

MySOS

MySOS FAQs

Travellers to Japan should download the MySOS app (Android | iOS) and register in advance. The recommended window is within two weeks and at least six hours before arrival, but you can submit your registration as early as you wish.

The benefit of registering beforehand is getting access to Fast Track, which will save you some time on arrival. 

MySOS registration is fairly straightforward, but still a bit of a hassle since there’s so many steps:

  • Register account by providing passport number, date of birth and name
    • When prompted “do you use MySOS for the purpose of entering or returning to Japan” tap “yes”
  • Take a photo of your passport 
    • You’ll need to wait until this is verified by the MySOS team before progressing
  • Complete questionnaire
  • Complete pledge
  • Upload vaccination certificate
    • Upload the PDF generated by Notarise, or just take a photo of it

If you’re travelling with a child aged 12 years or under, you can register him/her under your MySOS app. All individuals aged 13 and older must have their own MySOS app. 

Successfully completing MySOS registration will give you a green or blue screen, which you will show on arrival in Japan.

In my experience, it took about 12 hours for my app to turn to blue after completing registration. 

Do note that if you’re a parent travelling with a child who is exempt from the vaccination requirement, your MySOS app screen will stay yellow. This is to be expected, as highlighted in 1-8 of the FAQs, and will not disrupt your entry into Japan. 

Flights

✈ Land of the Sinking Yen: Flights
SIN-NRTNRT-SIN
SQ638
Depart
: 2355

Arrive: 0800 (+1)
Cabin: Economy
Cost: 27,000 KrisFlyer miles + S$52
ZG53
Depart:
1510
Arrive:
2130
Cabin: Business
Cost: S$865

A few months ago, I made a speculative booking for a Japan Airlines Business Class award to Osaka via Tokyo (my plan was to ditch the domestic leg) through Alaska Mileage Plan. This cost just 25,000 Alaska miles + US$50 in fees, and I felt rather chuffed that the reopening date lined up nicely.

Then the MileLioness told me she could tag along for Japan, and everything changed.

As hard as I searched, I just couldn’t find an additional Business Class award for the dates in question. Eventually I bit the bullet and gave up my Japan Airlines Business Class seat for a Singapore Airlines Economy Class red-eye flight (that’s true love right there), which cost 27,000 KrisFlyer miles + S$52 per person. I suppose I should count myself lucky that I could find any award seats at all, given the pent-up demand for Japan travel.

At least the return journey from Tokyo will be much more comfortable. I’m going to be flying ZIPAIR for the first time, Japan Airlines’ wholly-owned low cost carrier with a unique Business Class product. 

ZIPAIR has installed JAMCO reverse herringbone seats on its B787-8s, in a 1-2-1 configuration with all-aisle access. These full-flat seats are 20 inches wide with 42 inches of pitch, upholstered in leather, and equipped with individual reading lights and chargers. 

ZIPAIR B787-8 Business Class | Photo: ZIPAIR
ZIPAIR B787-8 Business Class | Photo: ZIPAIR

Can you believe it only costs 78,660 JPY (S$786)? I had to pay a little extra for meals, checked bags and seat assignments (no, I didn’t spring for the menstrual panties), but even so the total damage was only S$865.

✈️ ZIPAIR Add-on Packages
 BizValuePremium
Seat Selection
Inflight meal 
Check-in Baggage 
23kg

23kg
Carry-on Baggage
+5kg
 
+5kg
Amenity Kit  

This looks to be a very interesting review, and I can’t wait. 

Hotels

🏨 Land of the Sinking Yen: Hotels
NightHotelPer Night Cost (Nett)
1-3Tokyo EDITION ToranomonS$698

On this trip I’ll be staying at the Tokyo EDITION Toranomon, Japan’s first-ever EDITION hotel. This 206-room property was designed by Kengo Kuma (the mind behind the Olympic stadium in Tokyo) and opened in October 2020, boasting a jungle-like lobby, luxury spa, three specialty restaurants, and outdoor terraces overlooking the Tokyo Tower. 

Tokyo EDITION Toranomon
Tokyo EDITION Toranomon
Tokyo EDITION Toranomon

Full disclosure: the stay is covered by HoteLux, a luxury privileges booking platform. I had a free choice of hotels, however, and the hotel is not involved in the review process. I chose EDITION because it opened during the pandemic and few people outside of Japan would have had an opportunity to stay. 

Getting a free HoteLux membership is simple if you have a World or World Elite Mastercard (and you most certainly do). Once registered, you can browse and book rates instantly through the HoteLux app.

HoteLux is offering a Stay 3 Pay 2 rate at the Tokyo EDITION Toranomon, which comes with standard luxury privileges benefits such as:

  • Daily breakfast for 2 adults
  • Room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • Early check-in and late check-out (subject to availability)
  • US$100 hotel credit
  • Welcome amenity

Other complimentary night deals for Tokyo are available at the following hotels.

Stay 3 Pay 2Stay 4 Pay 3
  • Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
  • Conrad Tokyo
  • The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho
  • The Capitol Hotel Tokyu
  • Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo Otemachi
  • Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo Marunouchi
  • Shangri-La Tokyo
  • Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
  • The Peninsula Tokyo
  • Palace Hotel Tokyo

Lounge

🍸 Land of the Sinking Yen: Lounges
AirportLounge
SINThe Private Room
SINSilverKris Lounge T2
NRTANA Lounge

While I’m not looking forward to a seven-hour overnight flight in Economy, there is a silver lining: before boarding, I’ll be able to eat and drink myself into a stupor at The Private Room.

The Private Room

Yes, The Private Room. As it turns out, the MileLioness and I are returning from New York that very morning on SQ25 in Suites (separate trip report coming!). Singapore Airlines grants arriving First & Suites Class passengers same-day access to The Private Room, which means we can go home first and return in the evening to enjoy the lounge before our 11.55 p.m departure to Japan.

I wrote a comprehensive review of The Private Room about a week after it opened, but figure it’d be useful to do an updated take now that it’s had a few months to find its feet. Recent reports say the menu has been expanded too, and I’ll be sure to check that out. 

Review: Singapore Airlines The Private Room, Changi Terminal 3

Singapore Airlines previously announced that it will be resuming check-ins and departures from Changi Terminal 2 on 11 October 2022, as well as SilverKris Lounge operations. So I’m also going to take the opportunity to drop by, if only to see what (if anything) has changed since pre-COVID days. 

SilverKris Lounge Changi Terminal 2 | Photo: KN Aviation

I know, I know. My expectations aren’t high. I distinctly remember the place being dark and cramped, and nothing compared to the beautiful new Terminal 3 lounge. But hey, at least now you’ll know!

SilverKris Lounge Changi Terminal 2

In Tokyo Narita, my Priority Pass Card will give me access to the following lounges:

  • ANA Lounge
  • IASS Executive Lounge
  • KAL Business Class Lounge

Based on the reviews I’ve read elsewhere, the ANA Lounge is your best bet. I’ve visited it before, but an updated review can’t hurt- especially since I imagine many of you will be using it on your upcoming trips to Japan.

Conclusion

It’s taken a while, but Japan is finally reopening to tourists (and I mean a proper reopening, not that organised tour group nonsense). I’ll be heading over in just a few weeks, and doing my best to provide insights on what you can expect.

What else would you find useful to read about in a trip report?

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

Similar Articles

Comments

24 COMMENTS

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

24 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JC

Looking forward to the review, especially of zipair! A note about the ANA lounge: I visited in September and both times the lounge was packed full, and a whole line of priority pass folks were turned away. You might have better luck at the other lounges

Falco

+1 on ANA – they are now closed often to Priority Pass due to overcrowding, though the service remains good. KAL is very decent, though opening hours quite limited! Zip is great in terms of service (JL group after all), though as with other Japanese airlines flying from Japan beware of going over the hand or check-in luggage limits. They will force you (my wife has experienced this) to purchase and/or repack on the spot. Also: no AV system (and don’t call it AV to a Japanese person 😉 ), but free relatively good WiFi. So comme ci, comme ca.

Happy Camper

Y’all may well be the first people to be traveling out of Changi in Y and yet get access to TPR! Bravo!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

Kenneth

Looking forward to your ZIPAIR impressions! I’m planning to ride ZIPAIR as well hopefully in November

WJW

I will be heading to Tokyo on Zip next week, not sure if Visit Japan Web registration is mandatory, but I have completed them anyway with 2 QR codes generated.

Shiro

I have just done the MySOS form. In my case (Android), I had to manually fill in my passport particulars. After that, there are some statements on covid related matters which requires agreeing to their measures, then it asked about whether a child < 12 y old is accompanying me, then asked for the app permission to access certain things eg camera access, location. Thanks for heads up of 12 hours lead time. Will check the app again to complete the registration.

Shiro

I saw that there are a few Priority Pass lounges at Narita. As I have 2 complimentary passes on DBS Altitude card, do I get to choose which one I want to go?

Anon

For tokyo’s lounges, why not u review one, and your wife reviews the other?

BSLTW

Congrats ! You passed the test.

Shiro

I am now filling up MySOS app after the system successfully scanned my passport, which was only a few minutes. I need help on “Information on staying in Japan”. That page gives me the impression that it is for isolation purposes. Do I need to fill that up? Are they just asking for my accommodation details in Japan, or is it not applicable? Should I leave it blank?

art

In addition to the visa free scheme, japan has also lifted suspension of visas issued before 2020 effective oct 11

James Quek

Any chance that MySOS app would not be required soon?

James

Curious, are you guys paying your hotel bookings now to take advantage of the low yen or sticking to the pay at checkout rates?

est

Yesterday i managed to redeem SIN-HND roundtrip economy saver and non-red eye! Flying on 16-23 Nov

Shiro

Can anyone who did MySOS app please help? My trip is next week. For question 2.1 it said “Enter the address of accommodation for isolation after arriving in Japan”. I left that whole section blank as it is not applicable, but was unable to proceed to complete the form as it lead me back to it.

JW19

Here’s to hoping that TPR brings back Dom. Very first world but a very pressing first world issue too. I’m flying in Dec so can’t wait to see what has expanded in the TPR.

Last edited 1 year ago by JW19
Zipuaire

Do you know if you can bring on food onto Zipair? Yoshinoya or sukiya sounds like a good alternative.

Gordon

I’ve been trying to find the Upload Passport Info on the MySOS web or app since this morning (10 October), and this feature doesn’t appear. Just wondering if anyone has had the same issue. Wonder if this requirement has changed in light of tomorrow’s opening?

Phister

Toranopokemon is almost SGD 700 a night? Holy shit balls that is rich.

Last edited 1 year ago by Phister
milegrinder

What will happen to our lug gages if we enter TPR upon arrival in SIN?
Please advise ty!

Eric

When will you be flying over? Looking forward to see your updates

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

Advertisment

Featured Deals

Advertisment

Follow us

7,110FansLike
10,311FollowersFollow

TAGS