Last updated August 18, 2021

The country of Japan lies at the intersection of modern cutting-edge technology, evolving pop culture and thousands of years of tradition. Whether you're a foodie, history buff, techie, nature lover or all of the above, the four main islands of the Land of the Rising Sun have something to offer everyone—and often leaves a lasting impact on those who make the journey.

Japan Travel Insurance Isn't Mandatory, but it's Highly Recommended

Although Japan doesn't require you to purchase health insurance before entering the country, it's still a smart idea to purchase a travel health policy. There are a number of travel insurance plan for Japan for you to choose from based on your needs and coverage.

COVID-19 in Japan

As of August 2021, the U.S. Department of State has placed Japan at a Level 3, meaning that you should reconsider travel if you have a trip to Japan coming up. On July 8, 2021 Japan declared a state of emergency due to recent COVID-19 surges. To be safe, avoid all travel to Japan. If you must travel to Japan, however, the Centers for Disease Control strongly recommends that you are fully vaccinated from the virus. Visa-free travel is currently placed on hold. Travelers who may qualify for an exemption to Japan' strict entry controls should contact their nearest Japanese Embassy or consulate for more information.

If you have to visit the country, consider Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) insurance so that you may recoup some of your costs if you need to cancel, postpone or cut short your original travel plans for any reason, including COVID-19-related concerns.

If travel is a must, here are some precautions to take:

Before you travel:

  • Get tested with a viral test 1 to 3 days before your trip
  • If you were exposed to COVID-19, are sick, or test positive for the disease, do not travel
  • Follow all entry requirements for Japan and be sure you have all required documentation

During travel:
  • Wear a mask
  • Practice social distancing protocols
  • Wash your hands often
  • Be vigilant. If you experience any symptoms take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you

After you travel:
  • Get tested 3 to 5 days after you return to your home country
  • Stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days
  • If you don't get tested, it's best to self-quarantine for at least 10 days

Traveling from the United States:
  • If you have a return flight to the U.S., you must get a viral test in Japan no more than 3 days before your flight, and the test results have to be negative
  • Keep your test results on hand in case you're asked for them
  • Follow all United States guidelines and airline protocols

Health & Safety Tips

Japan is regarded as one of the safest countries for both residents and tourists, with low crime rates and safe streets. No country is perfect, however, and you should be sure to exercise caution in crowds and protect your belongings at all times. When possible, avoid traveling with all of your cash and credit cards on you at once and keep an eye on your phone, camera and other electronic items.

Scams are some of the most common crimes seen in Japan, so keep your guard up and be careful when giving your credit card as payment or if someone offers to take a photo of you on your phone. Bar scams are also a common occurrence in Japan and mostly target tourists.

People may try to befriend you and lure you into a bar or restaurant, before racking up a massive bill and skipping out, leaving you responsible to pay for everything. Lastly, watch your drink at all times in bars and clubs as spiking drinks for the purpose of theft is becoming more common.

Necessary Vaccinations & Other Health Notes

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for Japan: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza.

Some prescription medications that are common in the United States are illegal in Japan, even if you have a valid prescription. Be sure to do your research to make sure you are not packing prohibited substances into the country and remember to declare any and all medications to customs upon arrival.

Visas and Documentation

Japan allows visitors from a select 68 countries, including the United States, to enter the country visa-free for periods of 90 days or less. It is always required, however, to have a valid passport to enter the country. Read this article to see if you need a visa to visit Japan.