Japan to reopen to foreign tourists from June 10, but only to those on organised tours

Up to 20,000 daily travellers will be able to visit the East Asian country that has been sealed shut for more than two years

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Japan will reopen to international tourists for the first time in more than two years on June 10.

Travellers keen to visit the land of the rising sun will be able to do so again but only if visiting on organised package tours and accompanied by tour guides.

The news was announced by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on Thursday.

With some of the world’s strictest Covid-19 measures, Japan has been sealed off to much of the world since the onset of the pandemic.

“We will resume accepting tourists on package tours with guides from the 10th of next month,” Kishida said in Tokyo.

“Step by step we will aim to accept (tourists) as we did in normal times, taking into consideration the status of infections.”

He also announced that International flights will be allowed to resume to Hokkaido and Okinawa from the end of June, reported local news outlet NHK.

Border entry measures mean that only 10,000 overseas visitors can fly to the East Asian destination each day, currently only applicable to business and student travellers and those participating in organised government tours.

This visitor cap will increase to 20,000 from June 1, and the country will being accepting foreign tourists within the new quota nine days later.

International visitors will need to be fully vaccinated to visit, including having had a booster dose of a recognised Covid-19 vaccine to travel to Japan.

First international test tourists land in Japan

The first groups of tourists arrived in the country earlier this week as part of the government's small-scale test tours planned as part of a gradual reopening.

Seven US tourists, six from Hawaii and another from Los Angeles, are some of the very first international tourists to arrive in Japan since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The visit is designed to allow the government to assess health and safety protocols for travellers ahead of the wider reopening. Only travellers from the US, Australia, Thailand and Singapore are eligible to visit on these test tours which take in about 12 of Japan's prefectures.

Once a bright spot for Japan, the tourism industry has plummeted thanks to the country's strict border measures with only 250,000 foreign visitors in 2021 compared to nearly 32 million in 2019.

Japanese authorities have ambitious plans to attract up to 60 million annual foreign tourists by 2030.

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