POLICY

Tourism with COVID in Japan

By Staff Writer
October 14, 2022
After nearly 2 and a half years of strict COVID-19 restrictions, Japan has finally announced it will allow visa-free, independent  tourism and abolish its daily arrival cap from October 11. With the number of COVID infections decreasing, several prefectures across Japan are easing restrictions and COVID prevention measures employed in restaurants. Japan will also launch a nationwide travel discount program, called the "National Travel Support", which is expected to be key to the revival of the tourism industry.
A Japanese passport and a COVID app
The National Travel Discount, available to Japan residents only, will provide the equivalent of up to ¥11,000 (US$77) in discounts and coupons per traveler per day, which can be used for meals, shopping and accommodation expenses. In this system, where the national government subsidizes the costs borne by prefectural authorities to implement the programs, the 47 prefectures will be allowed to suspend the program depending on the infection situation. Prefectural governments will be able to determine how long the program will run or whether to implement it at all. For this reason, there is the possibility that it may not be launched simultaneously across the country.
A small girl with her mother boarding an airplane
In Yamagata Prefecture, the prefectural government has decided to expand the "Yamagata Autumn Travel" program, which is currently limited to residents of Hokkaido and the Tohoku region, to the rest of Japan.

The discount rate is 40% of the fare. The maximum discount is 8,000 yen per person per night for "travel products" using railroads and airplanes. The discount is up to 5,000 yen per person per night for "lodging only" and "one-day trip". In addition, local coupons worth 3,000 yen on weekdays and 1,000 yen on holidays will be issued. The conditions for use of the coupons are that the applicant must have completed three rounds of vaccines or have a negative test result.

Residents of the prefecture who travel within the prefecture are eligible for the coupon even if they have been vaccinated twice. The campaign period is until December 20 and may be extended.
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