After 2 years of strict COVID restrictions, Japan is welcoming back visitors again

Japan is welcoming back visitors again -- but for now, the country is only opening to packaged tour groups.
Published: May. 28, 2022 at 5:59 PM HST|Updated: May. 28, 2022 at 6:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After two years of strict COVID restrictions, Japan is opening its borders to visitors in June.

Tour companies said the country is only allowing groups of people with fixed schedules and guides.

Visitors from the U.S. will not have to show proof of vaccination or isolate.

Non-Stop Travel Managing Director Gene Miyake said they are still waiting for official government guidelines, but the fact that Japan’s leadership has decided to re-open to visitors is exciting.

“We’re thrilled,” said Miyake. “We just couldn’t be happier.”

So far, the tour company has a little over 1,000 people booked for a tour to Japan. He said there’s going to be pent up demand and suggests travelers book in advance.

“There’s only a finite number of airline seats that we block,” Miyake said. He added there’s a limited amount of hotels.

Doko Ga TV owner Pali Kaaihue said before the pandemic, he traveled to Japan at least once a month. He’s been trying to fly back over the last two years.

“I understand why they want to keep it to smaller tour groups, because there’s that level of control over it and safety,” said Kaaihue. “I think these are necessary steps to get back to where it was before just anyone could travel.”

“It can be quite frustrating but much thanks to everyone involved to [get] Japan to open up to this point.”

Earlier this week, six people from Hawaii became the first in a group of travelers to Japan.

It’s part of a pilot program that will help officials finalize details for packaged tours.

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