Japan has reopened its borders to foreign tourists today (Friday) after more than two years of closure due to the pandemic.
Travellers from 98 countries, including the UK, will be allowed entry on the condition that they are on a fully-guided package tour during the first phase of reopening.
Guides and travel service providers will take responsibility for ensuring visitors comply with Covid-19 rules such as wearing masks.
Visitors will still need to obtain a tourist visa, after receiving a special confirmation from a Japan-based tour operator.
The daily entry cap has been doubled to 20,000, and all visitors must test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours prior to departure.
However, visitors from certain ‘blue list’ countries – including the UK and Ireland – will then be able to skip the additional test upon arrival as well as a previous three-day quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.
Separate rules apply for countries currently classified as ‘yellow list’ and ‘red list’.
Japan has also expanded the number of airports accepting international flights to seven, adding Naha in Okinawa and New Chitose in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) president Seino Satoshi said: “Despite the pandemic, we have worked with people in inbound tourism to prepare for its recovery.
“We will welcome the return of international tourists to Japan as the first step in the recovery of inbound tourism.”