Disclaimer: For the time being, new entry of foreign nationals who have stayed in designated countries 14 days prior to the application for landing in Japan is denied unless special exceptional circumstances are found.
Are you an expat thinking of leaving Japan for a short while to visit another country or a Japanese returnee coming back from overseas? Either flying in or out of Japan, it is crucial that you are aware of set COVID-19 restrictions and measures required for pre- and post- departure.
Since we fully understand that it’s extremely time-consuming and energy-draining to search and gather all the information that is actually accurate and helpful, we summarized all the key points you need to know to help you prepare for your trip and make a stress-free transition.
Travelers must present a negative PCR test result conducted within 72hrs before departure, when traveling out of Japan to most destinations.
*Note: In some destinations, vaccination certificates are accepted as well.
All travelers must quarantine for 14 days at home, hotel or a designated location once returning to Japan.
You must sign a Written Pledge, download the designated mobile apps to send your location info and respond to video calls (you will randomly receive calls), and report your health condition via the app for 14 days after entering Japan.
If you are returning from one of the high-risk countries, enforced quarantine of 3, 6, or 10 days at a location designated by the Quarantine Station Chief is required. See the full list of the high-risk countries here (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan).
Now that you know the key points, here's more detailed guidelines on what you need to know when travelling to Japan.
You can do a quick-check for current travel restrictions of each country on this convenient world map by TravelCentre.
MHLW operates a platform "TeCOT" (New Coronavirus Testing Center for Overseas Travelers) for those who are leaving Japan. Once you create an account there, you can search and reserve medical institutions that can test for new coronavirus infections and issue a certificate in English. Not every country requires a negative COVID-19 test certificate, so make sure to check the specific requirements for your destination here. The test with an English certificate normally costs around ¥20,000 to ¥35,000 and your health insurance does not cover this cost.
Left: Certificate of Testing for COVID-19 Most destinations do not accept a certificate in Japanese, so make sure to pick a clinic that can issue one in English or other languages.
Right: Vaccination Certificate of COVID-19 This is the "vaccination passport" which the local municipalities started issuing on July 26. It is free; however, it takes around 5 business days for it to be issued. A certificate in English can also be issued at some clinics, such as the Woman Life Clinic in Shibuya city (English speaking staff available)
Get a certificate of negative test result conducted within 72 hours prior to departing from the country/region. Make sure to print out the valid format of the certificate requested by MOFA.
Secure a place to stay while in Japan that is designated by the quarantine station chief (it can be your home).
Secure a means of private transportation from the airport to the place you’ll be staying
*Due to the border control measures by the MHLW, you are not allowed to use any public transportation (trains, buses, taxis, domestic flights, ships, etc.) from the very day of your entry to Japan up till the completion of your 14-day quarantine period. You can use private transportations such as - limousine bus that directly takes you to 12 hotels in central Tokyo, Skyliner trains(designated car), rental cars, private vehicles, or you can request a flat-fare Uber Black ride via app upon arrival.
Download 3 apps (MySOS, Overseas Entrants Locater (OEL), COCOA) that are required upon entry.
Fill out a questionnaire and print or take a screenshot of a QR code (required to submit upon arrival) in advance .
PCR test at the airport upon arrival（Note that it takes around 1-3hrs from landing to existing the airport)
Sign and submit the Written Pledge and show the QR code from questionnaire to the Quarantine Station at the airport
If you are returning from one of the high-risk countries*, enforced quarantine of 3, 6, or 10 days at a location designated by the Quarantine Station Chief is required (Expenses for the stay at the designated location as well as 3 meals per day are covered by the government).
*If you’re arriving from a country listed under the section “3. Quarantine measures (New)” on this page, you are required to stay at specific designated facilities. i.e. If you are coming from Ireland, Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Thailand, Denmark, Philippines, some states in the US, you will need to stay for 3 days. This period is longer for countries such as the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. See the full updated list here (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan).
At this point, you might be wondering how strict the 14-day quarantine measures in Japan are. Check out our list of do’s and don’ts below that will help you stay out of trouble during your 14-day quarantine period.
Don’t ignore video calls and/or emails from officials
You rarely receive these calls if you timely respond to a check-in email every morning. It will likely be a very brief call to confirm that you are quarantining at home. Failing to report could lead to consequences explained in the “Make sure to report your whereabouts on a daily basis” section below.
Don’t move around using public transportations (stay inside as much as you can)
During the 14-day quarantine period, you are not prohibited from going out to fulfill your essential needs, including getting groceries and other necessities or going on a short walk in less-populated time of the day such as early morning. However, it is strongly advised that you will use online supermarkets or food delivery services during this period.
Make sure to report your whereabouts on a daily basis
If you fail to report your whereabouts and do not comply with quarantine protocols, your names and other personal information may be disclosed. If you are a foreign national, you may even have your residence status revoked. Be extra careful and cautious about this daily requirement.
Take advantage of food delivery services
Food delivery services like Uber Eats, Wolt and foodpanda are available in Japan too, so you can still enjoy different types of cuisine while in a quarantine. If you’re staying near the city center, you will have more options.
Enjoy virtual experiences
If you ever feel too dull staying inside and hope to take a good, nice break from your work, you should definitely look for virtual experiences. Since the rise of COVID-19 pandemic, more and more exciting virtual experiences have become available.
For instance, if you are a sake-aficionado, you might enjoy virtual sake tastings and brewery tours.
Note that these measures are constantly being updated, make sure to refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website.
To receive further information and tips for making your workation in Japan extraordinary, subscribe to our newsletter from here.