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Japan lifts travel ban on 106 countries — but don't pack your suitcase just yet

April 10, 2022
3 min read
Japan lifts travel ban on 106 countries — but don't pack your suitcase just yet
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There aren’t too many countries that have deployed tighter COVID-19 travel restrictions since the start of pandemic than Japan has.

But now, after two years of marooning itself to international visitors, the Land of the Rising Sun is lifting its entry ban on 106 countries including the U.S., U.K., France and Canada.

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Currently, visitors from 106 countries will be able to enter Japan provided they can show a negative test within 72 hours of departure and have received a third dose of the vaccine.

But there’s a catch: while the inbound visitor cap has been boosted — up from 7,000 to 10,000 a day — foreigners traveling for tourism will still be denied entry to the country, with only business travelers, foreign students and researchers able to take advantage of the new ruling.

Japan, which has seen 6,887,421 infections and 28,528 deaths due to COVID-19, is still keeping the doors shut to tourists. Visa exemption agreements that Japan had in place with select countries are still currently suspended.

“In reality, there will be no change to who can enter Japan,” one government official told the Japan Times. "There won’t be anyone new who will be able to enter Japan as a result of this change.”

(Photo by Sorasak via Unsplash)

Last week, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno had hinted at a change in border policy, saying that "Japan plans to increase international movements of people in stages by taking into account the infection situation at home and abroad and border control measures that other major nations have taken," but as yet there's still no word on when international vacation travelers can visit.

Related: How to learn if your flight has been cancelled - even before the airline does

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The Foreign Office states that: "You may apply for a visa to enter Japan for business, study or purposes other than tourism."

Right now, foreign nationals who do qualify for travel, including family members of Japanese nationals or business travelers, have to take a PCR test 72 hours before departure and then face a seven-day quarantine period when inside the country. Check the latest rulings before you fly.

Back in February it was reported that Japan may open up to international tourism sometime this spring. And while any hope of visiting for its famous cherry blossom season (March to May) has probably now wilted, there's every chance the latest changes could signal a shift toward international tourism before you know it.

Japan might not be saying sayonara to travel restrictions just yet, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
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  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
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  • Annual Fee is $250.
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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees