Visas and Entry Requirements
Visitors to Japan from Australia, New Zealand, North America, Canada plus most European countries are routinely issued a 90-day tourist visa on arrival. Please visit the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html) to check to see if your country is exempt for applying for a visa in advance. Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller, and “Two Streets Back” cannot accept any responsibility if you are denied entry to Japan. It is important that you have a passport that remains valid through the time you stay in Japan.
(Updated: September 29, 2022)
We are delighted that the Japanese government has announced that, from the 11th of October 2022, travel restrictions for tourism will be further loosened.
Independent travel is now possible and package tour and group tour restrictions no longer apply. The cap on the number of daily arrivals will be removed, and ERFS certificates will also no longer be required.
Furthermore, visa requirements have been lifted for travellers from countries that previously had a visa waiver program with Japan. This means that for travellers from 68 countries, most restrictions have been lifted. This includes Australia, USA, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand.
View the full list of eligible countries here.
Remaining guidelines for travellers include:
An official certificate of vaccination showing that travellers have received a full course of vaccine and at least one booster shot of one of the COVID-19 vaccine types accepted by the Japanese government, which can be found here
A certificate of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure (must be a type accepted by Japan, which can be found here)
Travel insurance is compulsory for all international travellers joining a “Two Streets Back” tour. We require that the minimum you are covered for is medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers them for personal liability, cancellations, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. You will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company’s 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your tour manager.
If you have credit card insurance your tour manager will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank’s name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in Japan.
Japan is still predominantly a cash society, particularly outside major cities. Major credit cards are accepted at larger department stores, nationwide chain stores or large restaurants, although this is changing slowly. Ensure you carry enough cash to cover purchases during your stay in Japan.
Most Japanese bank ATMs do not accept overseas cards, however, cash from non-Japanese bank accounts can be withdrawn via the Cirrus and Maestro systems by direct debiting (as well as Mastercard and Visa cash advance). This is now available at all post office ATMs throughout the country, as well as major convenience store ATMs such as 7 Eleven, making it relatively easy to access cash throughout your journey 24 hours a day.
You will need cash to pay for any meals which are not already included in your tour, drinks with meals, snacks, souvenirs and any other personal items. We suggest around JPY5,000 per person, per day as a sensible figure – depending, of course, on your own personal spending habits.
Peak Travel Time
Japan has four very distinct seasons. Each season has its own beauty and attractions, including major travel seasons; Spring (March-April) for cherry blossoms and Autumn (October-early December) for bright rustic colors, when the weather is usually stable and fine. Religious festivals, fireworks, and highland hiking are in Summer (June – September) and the Winter snow season (December-February) also draw tourists. Weather conditions are not so ideal for travelling in summer due to its heat and humidity as well as the risk of Typhoons.
If you are travelling during the seasonal peak time of Spring and Autumn as well as national holidays, new year holidays and mid-August Obon holidays, there will be huge crowds at most tourist attractions and on all public transport. It’s common for there to be difficulties in securing train tickets at our usual preferred times, hotels become overbooked, traffic jams and changes to the itinerary without prior notice can be necessary. If you decide to travel during peak periods with a sense of adventure and flexibility and we are sure that your experience will still be rewarding and memorable.
Japan has four distinct seasons; weather and temperatures change with the seasons. March is the end of winter with daytime highs of around 15 degrees Celsius, but cold nights. There may be snow in the mountain villages. April is very pleasant, with daytime highs of around 15-20°C. Towards the end of May it can become quite hot at lower altitudes (up to about 30°C). The rainy season lasts from the middle of June through to mid-July. Mid-July to mid-September is very warm and very humid in most parts of Japan. You can expect daytime temperatures of about 15-20°C in October; days are often very pleasant and warm through into November. Short tropical cyclones can hit Japan between June and October.
Internet access is excellent in Japan, with one of the most developed high-speed internet networks in the world. Internet cafes and wi-fi hotspots are easily found in most cities and major towns. You can always access the internet in a western-style hotel in Japan, usually free of charge, while access may be limited at traditional Japanese Inns (Ryokan) located in the countryside or in the mountains.
If you don’t want to rely on free Wi-Fi during your stay in Japan, the best option would be to rent a mobile Wi-Fi router upon arrival, or in your home country prior to your departure.
Will My Mobile Phone Work In Japan?
Smartphones such as iPhones and Android phones will work in Japan. Depending on your network provider, you will ‘roam’ with either NTT Docomo or Softbank on their 3G or 4G networks. If you have an older ‘2G’ phone, it will not work in Japan.
Please note that SIM cards are not available in Japan from the major carriers, but a growing number of companies offer SIM cards that will work with unlocked overseas phones, tablets, or ‘MiFi’ personal WiFi devices. Most are data only, and will enable the use of internet, but not voice – you can send and receive emails, browse the internet, or use Skype, but not make or receive regular voice calls. When bringing your phone from home using your SIM card from home, you will be ‘roaming’. This can be very expensive. Sometimes our clients prefer to rent phones in Japan to avoid the quite high roaming charges that this can incur.
It is possible to rent Japanese mobile phones and have them ready when you arrive, usually at Haneda, Narita, or Kansai Airports. Many will give you the telephone number before you leave home so you can tell friends and family your number.
We do not have a direct partner, but the Japan National Tourist Organization provides some useful information on renting phones in Japan at the following link:
Vaccinations and Health
There are no specific immunisations or medications necessary for Japan. Speak to your family doctor or travel health professional for their latest advice. Maybe have a dental check-up as well -fillings coming loose or toothache can be troublesome while touring.
Water from taps in Japan is safe to drink, although bottled water is widely available if you prefer. Avoid drinking from streams and rivers.
There is no malaria in Japan; however mosquitoes can be a mild nuisance in the summer months. Bring insect repellent if travelling during this period. The risk of travellers acquiring other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever or Japanese encephalitis has been extremely low but does exist. Your family doctor or travel health professional will advise you.
We recommend you bring a copy of any medical prescriptions you may need to bring. Please note it is not permitted to bring into Japan any medicines containing pseudoephedrine or codeine.