Japan Travel Restrictions:
A Comprehensive Guide to COVID-19 Measures, Visas, and Entry Requirements

Are you planning a trip to Japan? As a US citizen, staying up-to-date on health and safety advisories and travel policy is essential to ensuring a safe and enjoyable journey.

This article will provide helpful information on Japan's current COVID-19 measures, health and safety guidelines, visas and visa-free travel, border measures, and entry requirements, as well as a list of official resources where you can find further information to travel with confidence.

What are the US government's restrictions on travel to Japan?

Is it safe for US citizens to travel to Japan?

What are the current COVID-19 restrictions in Japan?

What are the Japanese government's restrictions for US travelers?

What types of visas are available for US citizens?

FAQs on Japan travel restrictions

Always travel well-informed with CIBTvisas

What are the US government's restrictions on travel to Japan?

The US government, including the State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), may provide travel advisories and guidelines on border measures for US citizens visiting Japan. Reviewing these resources before planning your trip and staying informed about any specific warnings or recommendations before you enter Japan is strongly recommended.

Is it safe for US citizens to travel to Japan?

Yes. The US State Department currently gives Japan its safest rating. As a Level 1 country, it calls only for ordinary travel precautions.

Following its peak COVID-19 border measures, Japan has reopened to travelers from all countries or regions which were previously authorized to travel there, including the United States. As of April 29th, 2023, all border and quarantine measures used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are lifted.

Still, you should stay informed on the current health warnings, COVID-19 travel regulations or any new quarantine or border measures by following official channels and following guidance from the appropriate authorities.

As a seismically active country, Japan can experience natural disasters like earthquakes and tidal waves. Other weather-related risks include Typhoons. Travelers should stay alert to warnings while in Japan, have a contingency plan in place for emergencies, and follow the guidelines of the local authorities.

Travelers should also familiarize themselves with local laws and conditions that may differ from home before they enter Japan. Get more details about safety and security while traveling to Japan from the US State Department here and here.

What are the current COVID-19 restrictions in Japan?

Please note that this information is subject to change. For the latest on Japan health restrictions and requirements, always check government sites directly as noted below.

From April 29th, 2023, travelers and returnees are no longer required to present a valid vaccination certificate or a COVID-19 negative test certificate to enter Japan. Previous provisional measures, such as random sampling tests for travelers arriving from certain countries, have been replaced with testing on arrival only for those displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

While the government of Japan has lifted previous COVID-19 border measures, it is always advisable to follow general health and safety guidelines, such as practicing good hygiene, wearing masks in crowded places, maintaining social distancing, and staying updated on local requirements. Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has up-to-date information on border and quarantine measures related to COVID-19.

What happens if I get sick in Japan?

It is vital to seek medical attention immediately if you feel ill during their trip. Japan has a robust healthcare system, and medical facilities are well-equipped to handle emergencies. Ensure your medical insurance or travel insurance covers medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation in Japan.

What are the Japanese government's restrictions for US travelers?

The government of Japan has no specific restrictions for US travelers. However, monitoring the latest developments and referring to the official websites of relevant ministries and authorities responsible for handling COVID-19 outbreaks is crucial. Consult our list of official and otherwise helpful resources below.

Provincial travel restrictions

Traveling near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is not recommended due to ongoing risks of radiation exposure. The Government of Japan has some travel limitations and cautions for areas surrounding the plant. Most of the Fukushima prefecture is open for travel and considered low-risk. Travelers can find updated information on radiation levels and Fukushima revitalization here .

Restrictions at Japanese airports and ports of arrival

Airports and ports that previously suspended international flights and cruises, such as Narita International Airport, are reopening after the Japanese government lifted COVID-19 measures. However, confirming the operational status of your intended arrival airport or port is advised before arriving in Japan.

Be prepared for potential health screenings upon entry if you display symptoms.

What types of visas are available for US citizens?

If you plan to stay in Japan for more than 90 days or engage in activities not covered under the visa exemption arrangements, you may need to apply for a visa. The types of visas required for US citizens include COE (Certificate of Eligibility) applications for extended stays in Japan, visas for news media related activities, visas for attorneys attending depositions, and diplomatic/official mission or transit visas.

The appropriate visa category depends on the purpose of your visit. Be mindful that travelers using short-term tourism-visa exemptions are not allowed to do any work while in Japan.

Can US citizens travel to Japan without a visa?

Yes, US citizens can enjoy visa-free travel to Japan for tourism or limited business purposes (without remuneration) for up to three months (90 days).

The Japanese government resumed visa-exemption arrangements for US citizens on October 11, 2022.

What is the processing time of a Japanese visa for US citizens?

The processing time for Japanese visas can vary from five business days to a month, depending on the type of visa, the details of the individual traveler, and the workload of the embassy or consulate.

You should apply at least one-and-a-half months before your planned journey, as Japanese embassies and consulates do not accept expedited visa applications. Plan accordingly regarding visa validity: Visas expire within three months of being issued, so you should not apply too far in advance.

Do I apply for a Japan visa in person or online?

You can apply for a short-stay, one-entry tourist visa to Japan online. Still, most visas require a visit to the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate in the US. Since only some states have a Japanese consulate, you might need to travel to submit your application. Hiring an agent to file your visa application can save time and money.

The passport you use to apply for a visa should have at least one blank page remaining for a stamp and must match the one you use when traveling to Japan. You can't travel with a visa issued for a passport you’ve previously reported lost or stolen, even if you later find it.

How much does a Japanese visa cost for US citizens?

The Japanese government has arrangements with the United States to waive visa fees for US citizens. US residents should check whether Japan has a similar visa-fee waiver agreement with their country of origin.

The cost for a visa to Japan varies depending on the type. Securing a visa requires a fee of up to US$44 for a double- or multiple-entry visa paid to the Japanese government, in addition to CIBTvisas’ handling fee.

Japan visa fees must be paid in cash when the visa is ready. Since policy and pricing changes can occur with little notice, check the details with the Japanese embassy or consult an experienced CIBT specialist for the most up-to-date information before filing.

Note that Japan will not accept travel-visa applications from US B-1 or B-2 visa holders.

FAQs on Japan travel restrictions

Are US citizens allowed to travel to Japan?

Yes, Japan is open to travelers from the US. The visa-exemption arrangements, which were previously temporarily suspended to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, have been restored. US travelers can visit Japan for tourism or limited business for up to 90 days without requiring a visa.

Do US citizens need a visa to travel to Japan?

US citizens can travel to Japan for leisure or business without a visa for up to 90 days, though visas are required for those traveling to conduct business with paid activities. Attending a conference or meeting business partners is acceptable for visa-free business travel, but visiting Japan to sell items or services, or to work, requires a visa.

Those traveling to Japan to study for a short course of less than 90 days do not require a visa. Travelers planning extended stays, traveling for media activities, seeking employment, and other purposes will need a visa.

For US residents who are nationals of other countries, the applicable visa rules depend on the land that issued their passport.

Is a Japan visa-free for US citizens?

In addition to the visa-exemption arrangements for short-term travel, the Japanese government has also implemented measures to waive visa fees for US citizens. US residents may have to pay for a visa, depending on their nationality. The Japanese government has similar visa-fee waiver arrangements in place with other countries.

In addition to mandatory government fees, CIBTvisas charges amongst the industry’s lowest handling fees. The final cost for your visa will be displayed in your shopping cart.

Where can I find updated Japan travel restrictions?

US citizens planning to visit Japan for short-stay tourism can do so with previously established visa-exemption measures. A negative COVID test or proof of three doses of a COVID-19 vaccination are no longer required, but conditions can change. Check for the latest information and general travel advisories from the US State Department before your journey.

US citizens can contact the nearest US embassy or consulate in Japan for assistance in an emergency. Travelers can also enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which allows the US embassy in Japan to send important updates and notifications about safety conditions in the country.

Am I allowed to bring prescription medication into Japan?

Japan restricts the entry of some prescription medications. Arriving in Japan with medications like Adderall may be considered a criminal offense. Other medication may require proof of a doctor's prescription.

Travelers who rely on certain medications should carefully review the requirements for carrying over-the-counter and prescription drugs to Japan and make the necessary arrangements for prescriptions before their trip.

Do I need to wear a mask in Japan?

Masks are no longer required, though they may be recommended. US travelers to Japan may see people wearing masks when traveling through crowded environments. This was a health measure first adopted during the SARS outbreak, which has become part of everyday life in many Asian countries.

Where can I find updates on Japan travel requirements?

The official websites of Japanese government ministries, Japanese authorities, the Japanese embassy, and the US State Department will provide the most reliable and up-to-date information on border measures, visa-exemption measures, health-screening procedures, and any provisional measures that arise.

Travelers should check our list of resources for further information and details before taking international flights and entering Japan.

Online resources for travelers to Japan

Here is a (non-comprehensive) list of resources that travelers to Japan may find helpful:

Always travel well-informed with CIBTvisas

Before planning your trip to Japan as a US citizen, it's crucial to stay informed about the current travel policies, COVID-19 measures, and visa requirements. By keeping yourself updated and following the guidelines provided by relevant authorities and local police, you can have a safe and memorable trip in Japan.

An experienced visa specialist can help you navigate the complexities of border-crossing requirements. Contact CIBTvisas for a quote today.

Anzen'na ryokō — safe travels!

Stay Up To Date

Stay up to date on the latest travel news from the experts at CIBTvisas.

First Name: 
Last Name: 
Job Title: