After two years of shutting its doors to foreign tourists amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the Japanese government, at long last, is taking its first cautious steps to welcome them back.
Two weeks from now, if all goes as expected, you could be on your way to Tokyo.
Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida announced last week that Japan could reopen his country to vaccinated foreign tourists as soon as June.
If it happens, Japan will be the last of the so-called G-7 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — to lift its emergency ban on foreign tourist visits to combat the Covid-18 pandemic.
There are some caveats.
Mr. Kishida gave no firm date for letting international tourism resume. Japanese media reported that the government will likely wait to check Covid infection levels in the country following the recent Golden Week holiday, which ran April 29-May 5. If they see a spike in infections, the reopening plans could be put on hold.
Further, even tourists are allowed back, it’s expected to be in a relative trickle at first while they monitor the impact of foreign tourist arrivals on Covid infections.
Still, it’s the first hopeful news that travelers — and the Japanese tourism industry — have had in two years.
Japan is one of the world’s most visited countries for its natural beauty, its blend of ancient tradition and cutting-edge technology, and its food — no surprise, since Tokyo has more Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris.
When Japan tourism does resume, it will be bolstered by non-stop airfares from the US West Coast currently running for less than $700 in Economy, including on Asian airlines with reputations for world-class in-flight service, such as Singapore Airlines. And both Western-styled hotels, traditional inns known as ryokans and onsen hot springs are anxious to welcome back their foreign guests.
So stay tuned, dust off that passport — and watch for a special announcement from Trips by Greg for a special tour later this year to the Land of the Rising Sun.