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Kyoto Coronavirus Update: Japan Lifts Travel Restrictions [LATEST UPDATE]

Updated: Aug 17


Image Courtesy of Richard Schneider / Flickr

Japan is finally opening its borders to international travelers, although there’s a caveat. This move to ease international travel is only applicable to four select countries.


In addition, the government has lifted restrictions on cross-prefecture movements.


As of June 19, 2020, there are only 900 active cases in entire Japan. Coronavirus cases in Kyoto Prefecture hit 360 confirmed cases — of which 340 have recovered.


Japan is now closing to beating the novel coronavirus. Does this mean it's safe to travel in Kyoto and other prefectures and ready to fully lift travel restrictions?


Related: Staying Safe While Traveling in Japan


Japan Travel Restrictions


Per Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s most recent announcement, Japan will ease its entry ban on four countries that have the coronavirus under control. These include New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Other countries will be eased later on as the situation gets better.


Only citizens from these four countries on business travel going to and from Japan will be allowed. And they have to test negative for the novel coronavirus and use a smartphone app to track their location history. Foreign travelers who are in these four countries will NOT be allowed entry.


Related: COVID Safe Tours in Japan


Japan Open Borders


As of June 19, 2020, Japan has lifted all coronavirus-related restrictions on domestic travels. This means locals can now cross prefectures without restrictions. For indoor and outdoor events, the government is now allowing up to 1,000 people to gather.


But what about foreign travelers? When can you expect to enter Japan? If you are not a citizen of any of the four countries mentioned, it might take some time before the government will lift travel restrictions on your country, especially if you are countries that have still high cases of COVID-19.


Travelers from the United States and China are likely to be the last to be allowed entry, according to Nikkei Asian Review Japan.


Here’s the complete list of countries subject to Japan’s temporary entry ban:



When Can I Travel to Japan?


If you are from the aforementioned countries, you might ask, “When will Japan travel restrictions be lifted for people in your country?”


There’s no definite answer to this question. But one thing is for sure — the government is now easing travel restrictions to locals and some select countries. This means if it’s going to be smooth-sailing and successful, then foreign travelers shall be allowed next.


For now, visa exemptions are still suspended.


Related: When Can I Travel to Japan?


If you are a local traveler, you can now freely cross prefectures as mentioned. Most parks, museums, temples, and other facilities in Kyoto have now been opened. These include Kyoto Imperial Palace, Nanzenji Temple, Ryoanji Temple, Nijo Castle, Sanjusangendo, Katsura Villa, Toji Temple, Tofukuji Temple, Ninnaji Temple, Toei Eigmura, Shugakuin Villa, Sento Palace, Kyoto Tower, Kyoto National Museum, Sagano Railway, Kyoto Aquarium, and Kyoto Railway Museum.


Note, however, that these establishments are operating with limited capacity. Most might not be able to handle an unlimited number of visitors.

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