Japan to allow visa-free, independent tourists

Japan will resume visa-free entry for individual travelers on Oct. 11, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Thursday in New York, bringing its border rules close to pre-pandemic norms for the first time in about two and a half years. japan tourist visa

“We will remove the cap on the number of people entering the country, and will resume accepting individual travel and visa-free travel,” Kishida said.

At present Japan only allows package tours, and requires visas for all visitors, in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. Daily arrivals have been capped at 50,000. But this has made the country more and more of an outlier, as most other economies have fully reopened to tourists.

Starting on Oct. 11, short-term visitors will no longer be required to apply for tourist visas. Before the pandemic, Japan allowed visa-free short-term travel from people from 68 countries and regions, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the U.S. And with no need to book tours through travel agencies, it will be easier to visit.

The Japanese government hopes to boost the economy through inbound tourism, taking advantage of the weak yen. The currency is hovering around 24-year lows, touching 145 per dollar at one point, which makes Japan a more attractive destination for international travelers.

Before COVID-19, Japan accepted a record 31.8 million visitors in 2019, making it one of the most popular destinations in Asia.

Thanks to its cultural resources and airport infrastructure, Japan ranked No. 1 on the World Economic Forum‘s latest Travel & Tourism Development Index, released in May. japan tourist visa

Holiday destination Japan

As inbound tourism is regarded to be especially promising, various measures were devised to make inbound travel more attractive and to improve the experience of foreign visitors. This included steps to ease travel visa requirements for visitors from numerous countries, creating more airport landing slots, and providing easier hotel billing codes, to name just a few. Consequently, the number of international visitors coming to Japan  increased significantly in the past decade prior to the pandemic. Further strategic objectives included, among others, plans to facilitate shopping tourism and to become a hub for international conferences. Japan seems to be in a unique position when it comes to welcoming international tourists. From its wellness and relaxation offers to high-quality products and services, from vibrant metropolises filled with cultural activities and attractions to remote hiking tracks and scenic nature settings – Japan has a diverse range of tourism activities to satisfy every traveler.

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