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Japan lifts COVID-19 restrictions, tourism resumes

Tourists can resume visiting Japan after 2 years of strict COVID-19 restrictions. Here’s what you need to know about the updated policies

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Foreign travelers arrive at the Haneda International Airport in Tokyo.

Foreign travelers arrive at the Haneda International Airport Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in Tokyo. Japan’s strict border restrictions have been eased, allowing tourists to easily enter for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent tourists are again welcomed, not just those traveling with authorized groups.

Eugene Hoshiko, Associated Press

Japan is reopening its borders and opening the door for tourists, according to The Associated Press. The country previously limited daily arrivals to 50,000 people and limited entries based on circumstances.

Visa free tourism resumed on Tuesday. Previously, tourists needed a visa for short visits, but now the country will only require passports to enter the country, according to the U.S. Embassy.

Tourists began to arrive in the Tokyo airport on Tuesday after more than two years of restrictions.

Japan announced the new policy back in September, according to CNN. Japanese Prime Minster Fumio Kishida announced that along with lifting restrictions the country would be offering domestic travel discounts to encourage citizens to take advantage of travel business that suffered during the pandemic.

Japan still continues to require proof of vaccination or a pre-travel test for unvaccinated individuals for adults, as well as a test for children 6 to 18 traveling with an unvaccinated guardian, per the U.S. Embassy.

Travelers might have to adjust to wearing mask if they pay the country a visit. The Associated Press reports that most Japanese citizens still continue to wear masks. The U.S. Embassy encourages travelers to wear masks, as it would “reflect poorly on the international community” to not conform to the country’s standards.