It’s about to get a lot easier to visit Japan.
According to the Japan Times, current covid restrictions on international travel are set to be relaxed on Oct. 11. Right now the only way to get into Japan is to book through a Japanese travel agency. Japan has also kept a capacity limit on how many international travelers are allowed to be in the country each day. Both policies are scheduled to end on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at which point residents of countries that typically didn’t need visas for temporary travel in Japan will be able to once again schedule their own independent trips without an agent. They will need to show proof of being triple vaccinated, though, or pass a covid test before being allowed into the country. The cap on visitors is also being eased out, so if you wanted to party in Tokyo with, say, your 50000 closest friends, you’ll be able to make that work as of the 11th.
This has been a long time coming. Japan has maintained its foreign travel ban longer than most countries—a decision that absolutely makes sense given how the coronavirus continues to mutate into new and more easily transmissible variants. Still, it’s been over two and a half years since most of the world has been able to easily visit Japan, so there’s obviously pent-up demand to visit one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries on the planet. I mean, they’ve had a Super Mario theme park up and running at Universal Studios Japan for over a year and a half, with all of us Nintendo and theme park fans in the States only able to watch videos of it on YouTube. I’ve got to think every U.S. flight to Osaka will be full of Mario stans on Oct. 11.
This would be an especially good time for Americans to tour Japan, as the yen is weak against the dollar at the moment. It’ll cost less than usual for all of us here in the States to pop over the Pacific and hang out in Japan for a bit. If you go, though, be respectful and wear a mask whenever possible. They may not have legally enforced policies about masking, but it’s still widespread throughout the country, and it’s just the polite thing to do.