Teach Abroad

Yes, You Can Travel to Japan Right Now — Teach, Intern, and Study in 2022

Japan is one of the handful of countries maintaining COVID restrictions, so is it possible to travel there right now? Learn about the latest guidance for teaching, studying, and traveling to Japan as a tourist in September 2022 and beyond.

Women dressed in traditional Japanese clothing stand and smile outside.

COVID travel restrictions have left many of us scratching our heads over the past two years. With the ever-changing rules, it’s hard to keep up with which countries are open for study, work, and tourism.

Japan has maintained fairly strict border control since the pandemic began but the government is moving in a positive direction toward easing restrictions. This is good news for travelers like you hoping to travel to Japan in 2022.

Read on for the answers to all of your questions about travel to Japan, including current entry requirements.

Is Japan open to individual tourists?

People walk through an airport terminal in Narita, Japan.

Yes! You can travel to Japan as a tourist but with a few catches. You will need to book a self-guided package tour, apply for a visa, and meet the COVID entry requirements.

What is a package tour?

Since Japan reopened its borders, tourism has looked a lot different than it did before COVID. Until further notice, individual tourists will need to book a government-sanctioned package tour.

Package tours required in Japan started out as guided but now can be self-guided. So, what's the difference?

  • Guided: tour companies arrange all aspects of the trip and you are part of a tour group for the duration of the visit
  • Self-guided: companies arrange accommodation and flights but travelers are free to explore on their own without a guide

The rationale behind this is that the government wants to know where tourists are in the event they get sick and they want someone (the tour company) to be responsible for coordinating quarantine and testing.

The bottom line: Unfortunately, as of September 2022, those hoping to spontaneously backpack and hostel hop across Japan are not allowed to do so. However, tourists who book a self-guided package tour are free to travel to Japan if they meet the entry requirements.

For detailed information about guided vs. self-guided package tours, read on here: What’s the Difference Between Guided, Self-Guided, and Independent Travel?

When will Japan be fully open to tourists?

Although the Japanese government is pushing to eliminate daily tourist entry caps and visas, this may not take effect until October 2022 or later. For now, the above restrictions and entry requirements must be followed to enter Japan.

Can I study abroad in Japan?

A woman wearing a backpack sits on a chair in a library.

Absolutely! Students were welcomed back into Japan as of fall 2022. If you plan to study in Japan, you must be fully vaccinated against COVID and follow current entry requirements.

Read more: How to Study Abroad in Japan in English

Can I teach in Japan right now?

English teachers are currently welcome to enter Japan if they hold a long-term visa. Applications for the JET Program for teaching assistants will also open as usual in September 2022 for the 2023 school year.

Check out these programs recruiting English teachers:

Read more: What are the Qualifications to Teach in Japan?

Can I work or intern abroad in Japan right now?

Japan is open to travelers coming for work or internships!

Generally, foreign interns who use a program provider for placement come to Japan on a tourist visa that is valid for 90 days. If the internship lasts longer than three months, interns are required to leave the country and re-enter which will reset their visa for another 3 months.

If you are traveling to Japan for work or to intern, you will be subject to the same entry requirements as tourists.

Be sure to keep in close contact with your employer, host organization, or placement provider in case regulations for workers or interns change.

Read more: How to Get a Job in Japan

What are the COVID entry requirements to Japan?

Two women with face masks serve a customer at a street food stall.

Japan’s previous color-coded country classification system has been dropped and now visitors from all countries are free to enter the country. Whether you are planning to study, intern, or come for tourism, you will need a visa and proof of full vaccination status.

Visas

  1. Before applying for the visa, entrants will need to be registered by their "receiving organization" (package tour operator, employer, etc.) online through the Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS).
  2. The certificate will be sent to you and will need to be included with your visa application.
  3. Gather your other documents and apply online through the eVISA system.

Tourist visa processing is taking between 5-7 business days but there could be delays as more applications are submitted due to the easing of restrictions.

Students will also need to present an ERFS certificate with their student visa applications.

Vaccination against COVID

Anyone entering Japan with a full vaccination certificate (three doses or more) are not required to submit proof of a negative COVID test 72 hours before arrival.

If you have not been fully vaccinated, you will need to complete a pre-departure COVID test 72 hours before departure.

For up-to-date information, stay informed through the Japanese Consulate in the US and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Plan for Japan in 2022

A man rides a bike on a street with bright neon signs in Japan.

Although it might take a little extra planning and paperwork, traveling to Japan in 2022 is possible! Make sure to do your research and stay organized – if you do, you’ll be studying, interning, and teaching in Japan in no time!