I never would have ever thought that I could go to Japan in 2022! I am back from my family visit and I already miss the time that I had in Tokyo, Tottori, Osaka and Kyoto! I went to Japan for two weeks during Golden Weeks (collection of four Japanese national holidays within seven days) from April 24th to May 7th. It was a very stressful time because I had a full agenda, nevertheless, it was quite nice and very unique to experience Japan totally without tourists! So Japan has one of the most stringent travel restrictions in the world since the pandemic. Travel for tourism is still not permitted, expect you have a Japanese passport, family members in Japan or if you travel for business or school purposes. BUT, there is hope that Japan aims to reopen international tourists soon (they say June 2022)!
Before I could travel to Japan, I had to prepare a lot of (exhausting) paperwork:
– You have to download and complete an App called “MySOS”. Fast Track is a new service offered by the Japanese government for arrivals to Japan. This app allows you to handle airport quarantine procedures in advance, so you can save time and hassle, before entering Japan. The colour of the screen needs to be either yellow or green (Green is highly recommended!).
– You need a negative PCR test result before your flight to Japan (within 72 hours of departure). Make sure to fill in the special Japanese form from the test center, which is called “Certificate of Testing for Covid-19” (link below). You have to show it at the airport, otherwise they do not let you on the airplane!!
– You need to fill in a questionnaire based on the provisions of Article 12 of the Quarantine Act. You will find the link below. However, we did not have to show/hand it over to anybody.
– As soon as you arrive, you have to pass a number of milestones at the airport. We arrived at Tokyo Haneda Airport, where we had to answer some further questionnaires and we need to show the completed “MySOS” registrations to the staff.
– Last but not least, you need to do another PCR test (Saliva) at the airport.
– The whole process until you receive the final test result (you need to wait at the airport until your registration number will be shown on a screen = negative test result) took us around one additional hour. Depending on the traffic and the completeness of your MySOS app/documents, it can take even up to three or more hours!
– When your final PCR test result at the airport is NEGATIVE, you can enter Japan (quarantine might be required depending on your vaccination status and country). Since I have been vaccinated three times (booster) and came from/live in Switzerland, I did not need to quarantine.
– When your final PCR test at the airport is POSTIVE, you have to quarantine for 7 to 10 days (depending if you have symptoms or not).
Japanese Border Measures
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare:
Certificate of Testing for Covid-19 (form):
Questionnaire based on the provisions of Article 12 of the Quarantine Act (form):
So arriving in Japan was quite a struggle but overall I am happy that everything went well. I still cannot believe that I have been in Japan the last two weeks! It still feels like a dream! So talking about the general (covid) situation in Japan, there are literally zero tourist, which was so awkward! Especially in Tokyo, I did not see many – some students and that’s it! In Kyoto and Osaka I saw a few more tourists (especially Asian like Chinese or Korean) but the majority were still locals. For the first time, especially when I wore a mask, I did not feel like a Gaijin lol (foreigner). There were quite a lot of locals travelling during the Golden Weeks, which is a series of four public holidays closely spaced together during the end of April and beginning of May (I totally forgot the Golden Weeks when I booked my flight to Japan). Especially Kyoto was crowded at record levels, because the government allowed travelling within Japan for the first time in three years without being under the cloud of a state of emergency or other travel restrictions due to the pandemic.
You still need to wear a mask in Japan, both indoors and outdoors. I had to get used to it again, because all COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Switzerland, but thanks to the amazing choice of masks in Japan (there are soooo many different types, colours and variations!) I quickly forgot that I am wearing a mask. It did not bother me at all.
Japan changed a lot since my last visit in 2019. Sadly, due to the pandemic, many of my favourite (fashion) stores have closed or having a break at the moment. Many other shops that I loved do not exist anymore… Nevertheless, there were a lot of new ones that opened in the fast few years and all the constructions sites that were in Shibuya and Harajuku are done. Both stations got a brand new look (Shibuya is still renovating some parts) and I really enjoyed the Shibuya Scramble Square / Shibuya Sky (will post about it soon), a new 360 degree observatory right on top of the station. One of the most exciting news and project that I am most looking forward to this year is the Ghibli theme park! It will open in November 1st 2022, so I definitely have to plan a trip to Aichi prefecture the next time.
Enough of talking, now let me show you a quick glimpse of what I did in Tokyo ^_^!
Japanese Border Measures as of April/May 2022
You have to complete the MySOS app and
do a PCR test (special form) before your flight to Japan!
PS. You can now do the custom declaration via “Customs App”, which is super convenient!
My Accommodation during my stay in Tokyo
I usually stay @ Gotanda Mystays but this time it was:
Shinagawa Prince Hotel (Arrival)
ART HOTEL Nippori Lungwood (Departure)