By: Jessica Campos
Since June 10, Japan has opened its borders for some foreign tourists after 2 years of being closed due to COVID-19.
However, this opening has generated many doubts among our users of the Traveling Line who want to know the country of the Rising Sun, since one of its conditions is that tourists travel in a group with an agency registered in the program and depending on the color of country that they have, it will be necessary to quarantine or be vaccinated.
Due to the above, we have decided to create a small guide with the information obtained up to this moment. However, if you plan a trip to this country, we recommend that you keep up to date with the restrictions since they change frequently.
How do I know if I can travel?
According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Welfare of Japan, the tourist opening will be in phases and in the initial the only travelers who have a greater possibility of entering are the nationals of the blue color group. However, apart from your country being in blue, you need to meet other requirements that we will explain later.
What is that about colors and how do I know which countries belong to which group?
Japan decided to group the countries in 3 different colors: blue, yellow and red. In this page you will find the countries that are in each group.
If your country is in yellow or red, we recommend that you be aware of the restrictions and phases as these are expected to change in the future. If your country is in the blue color group, congratulations! you are one step closer to being able to travel.
What vaccinations do I need to travel to Japan? Do I need to quarantine?
Once you have located the color of your country, you need to review this table since in it you will find if you need to quarantine and if you need a vaccination schedule.
All travelers who want to go to Japan (regardless of phases and group colors) need to present a negative test valid for a maximum of 72 hours before their flight.
The accepted tests are:
- Smart AMP
The data that the tests must have to be valid are:
- Full name (as it appears in the passport).
- Date of Birth.
- Test method for COVID-19.
- Date and time of sample collection.
- Name of the medical institution.
- Date of issue.
Be careful, all the information must be in Japanese or English. Before booking your appointment for the test, we suggest you check that the laboratory in question can issue the results as requested.
The vaccines approved by the Japanese Government can be found at the following link: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/covid-19/border_vaccine.html .
If your vaccination schedule is not accepted because you were given other vaccines or you still haven’t completed it, don’t worry. Remember that depending on your group color you may not need to quarantine or do a short quarantine.
If you are in the blue group, you may or may not have an approved vaccination certificate as you will not quarantine or need a test upon arrival in Japan.
The vaccination certificate must be in Japanese or English, in case your certificate is in a language other than the previous ones, it is necessary to make a certified translation into Japanese of it. To learn more about certified translations, we suggest you contact the Japanese consular representation in your country.
Do I need to travel through a tourist agency?
At the beginning of this guide, we told you that apart from having an approved vaccination schedule and belonging to the blue group, it was necessary to meet more requirements. In order to travel as a tourist, you need to do it through a guided tour package with a travel agency.
However, not all tourist agencies can offer you a tourist package that complies with the regulations required by the country.
The requirements are as follows:
- The guided tour must be organized by a travel agency based in Japan and that at the same time complies with the registration proposed by the Japanese Government.
- The travel agency has to register you in the Health Confirmation System for Immigrants (ERFS, for its acronym in English). But in case you want to register we share where you can do it https://entry.hco.mhlw.go.jp/ although of course, we recommend that your agency do the registration so as not to make mistakes because the ERFS is a very important document for your trip.
- During your entire stay in Japan you must be accompanied by a driver or an assisted guide. Some agencies will offer to accompany you from your country but others will do so when you arrive at the airport. It is mandatory that you are always with your travel group and the guide.
Now, which agencies can offer you their services. Unfortunately there is no official list by the Japanese National Tourism Organization, however, at Alan around the world we began to investigate safe or reliable agencies with which you can approach.
Researching on the internet we found that there is the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA) which is responsible for regulating the tourist services offered to travelers who decide to venture into that country. In this page https://tour-quality.com/en/search.html#title_tos you will find the tour operators accredited by JATA.
Now all you have to do is approach the agencies to find out if they can offer you a trip as stipulated by the reopening of Japan. We recommend you quote and compare prices with several travel agencies to obtain the best ones.
Travel agency, being in the blue group and having a negative test is the only thing I need to travel?
No, you need to meet more requirements.
Once you obtain the ERFS, you need to go to the Embassy or Consular representation of Japan in your country to process the tourist visa. Due to the pandemic, the visa exception was suspended, so everyone who wants to travel must apply for a visa.
If you are from Mexico, in this page you can check where you have to process your visa and in This other the documentation to obtain it.
Before your trip, you need to download the app “MySOS” On your cellphone to answer the questionnaire and record the negative result of your COVID-19 test that you must take before flying.
Also, you must enter the page of Visit Japan and fill out the Customs and Immigration form to obtain a QR code that will facilitate your entry into the country.
And finally, it is necessary to take out travel insurance that covers COVID-19 and is valid in Japan for the amount of money requested depending on the things you do on your tour.
Now yes, you are ready to travel!
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