What You Need To Know To Visit Japan

Japan’s reopened to international travelers, so prepare for the trip of a lifetime

The Vacationeer
Aerial view of lush, tropical islands of Kerama in Okinawa, Japan

Japan is poised to be one of the hottest travel destinations of 2023 as it reopens its borders to international travelers. If you’re itching to explore Japan’s iconic cities, majestic landscapes, beautiful beaches and incredible cuisine, it’s time to explore this beautiful country. Here’s what you need to know before you book your tickets to help you navigate the updated travel policies, so you can focus on planning the perfect itinerary.

Traditional Japanese temple and garden in Kyoto, Japan 

Before You Go

Vaccine Requirements

Tourists can travel freely around Japan. But before you can enter, you must be fully vaccinated (booster included) or have a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of your departure flight. Children are exempt from the COVID test requirement if traveling with fully vaccinated parents, regardless of whether the child is vaccinated.

If you’re entering Japan from a direct flight from China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), you must submit a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours before departure, regardless of vaccination status. You may also have to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the airport.

Check Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website regularly for updated official policies.


Japan has allowed visa exemptions for short-term stays (less than 90 days) for 68 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. This means one less form for you to fill out beforehand.

Sunayama Beach in Japan on a sunny day 

To help ease the immigration paperwork process, Japan created Visit Japan Web, a way to prepare your information before arrival and speed up the immigration and customs process. It's as easy as creating an account with Visit Japan Web, entering details about your passport and trip details and uploading your vaccination certificate or test results. Once you’ve submitted your application, you can access a QR code, which you can show during the immigration process. Visit Japan Web even lets you access a special lane at the airport and further expedite the process.

Complete your application at least six hours before entry. However, visitors are encouraged to submit as soon as possible because of the expected volume of applications.

Planning Tips

Here are a handful of tips to help you plan and travel stress-free in Japan:

  • Book your plane tickets and accommodations quickly since spots fill up fast. You’ll also want to reserve spots for high-demand attractions, like the Ghibli Museum and Katsura Imperial Villa.
  • Taking the train? Japan’s iconic shinkansen (bullet trains) are accessible to travelers thanks to the Japan Rail pass. Purchase the pass online, make train reservations in advance and pick up your pass and tickets once you’re in Japan.
  • Japanese businesses and restaurants mostly use cash, so exchange currency for yen in Japan for the best rates.
  • While the Japanese government has lifted mask mandates, you may still be asked to wear a mask in shops or restaurants and find locals wearing them out and about.
  • Make the most of your trip and dive into Japanese culture through unique travel experiences, such as local tours, traditional tea ceremonies and cooking classes.

Where To Stay

Use Hilton Honors™ Points to stay in Japan’s hottest cities, like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Stay at The Bay Forest Odawara, a Hilton Club, conveniently located between Tokyo and Mount Fuji. Or, for a tranquil island escape, relax on the sandy shores by The Beach Resort Sesoko, a Hilton Club.

Read “I Took An Unforgettable Trip To Hakone, Japan — Here's What You Need To Know” to see what one Hilton Grand Vacations Owner loved about his recent vacation.

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The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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