Traveling to Japan and Hawaii: Health Considerations

Currently, there are no COVID-19 testing, proof of vaccination, or quarantine requirements to travel to Japan. However, the U. S. Government highly recommends that all U.

citizens check the official website for the latest information and updates. Members of the military and their family members with SOFA status should contact their chain of command directly for guidance and to follow the processes described in the Foreign Authorization Guide. U. citizens do not need visas for short-term visits (up to three months) to Japan as tourists.

However, due to the complexity of travel regulations and restrictions, which can change at short notice, travelers should carefully review the information available from the Government of Japan before planning a trip. Those who are unsure if they are eligible to travel should contact the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for additional information. Military travelers arriving in Japan under the Status of Forces Agreement should check with their chain of command to ensure that they understand the applicable requirements before starting their trip. The Embassy's ability to intervene on behalf of travelers who are denied boarding at their boarding point or denied entry upon arrival in Japan is extremely limited, and travelers who are denied entry to Japanese ports of entry are likely to be immediately disembarked on flights back to the United States. Travelers entering Japan can use electronic customs declaration doors (electronic gates) for customs clearance, reducing contact between people.

It is recommended that travelers learn more about this program before arriving in Japan by visiting the Japan Customs website. Citizens should also carefully review the information on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) website, which provides official guidance. Although COVID-19 testing is not required to enter Japan, a non-exhaustive list of some COVID-19 testing centers can be found on the Embassy's website in case travelers need to be tested to travel to other countries. Those who need to carry more drugs or medical devices than approved by the MLHW must obtain a “Yunyu Kakunin-sho” (import certificate) before traveling and present it along with the prescription to a customs official upon arrival in Japan. All travelers entering Japan with a prescription medication, including medications that are not restricted in Japan, should consider bringing a copy of their doctor's prescription, as well as a letter stating the purpose of the medication. It is important for all travelers to carry their passport at all times during their trip to Japan as it is a legal requirement and local police can ask to verify your identification.

Your passport must be valid throughout your stay. If you plan to travel to other countries during your trip, be sure to check the validity of the passport and the visa requirements of each country. The Embassy is ready to help U. citizens replace lost or stolen passports and will work with them to replace their passport as soon as possible; however, our ability to issue passports outside of our working hours is extremely limited. The Embassy has compiled lists of resources that may have the answer you are looking for, such as Tokyo Metropolitan Government's disaster prevention information website with information on how to respond to a natural disaster in the area.

More information can be found on our website regarding visas for Japan and immigration information visas for U. citizens who want to travel, study or work in Japan; however, while we include general information on visas for U. citizens, Japanese Government is the highest authority on visas and citizens without a work visa cannot work in Japan. The Japan Immigration Services Agency has established comprehensive information centers and consultation centers to handle telephone, face-to-face and email inquiries in Japanese and in foreign languages; contact information for these centers in different prefectures can be found here. The above information is general information provided by relevant local authorities and is subject to change at any time with little or no notification; those who wish to obtain additional or more personalized information should contact the appropriate local authority.

Health Considerations

Japan is free of canine rabies; however, rabies can still be present in wildlife species, especially bats.

The CDC recommends getting vaccinated against rabies before traveling only for people who work directly with wildlife such as veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists or laboratory workers who work with specimens of mammal species. It is also important that travelers have travel insurance before they travel abroad in order to cover healthcare costs abroad. Recently, Japan has relaxed its border measures allowing visitors to enter without obtaining a visa; however tourists who choose not take into account existing rules and regulations (which are often difficult to enforce) seem selfish and egocentric. Previously, strict quarantine was required for any traveler coming into Hawaii who had not submitted a negative test or proof of full vaccination before their flight; while hospitals still have capacity health officials are asking people continue wearing masks in Hawaii.

Derrick Barile
Derrick Barile

Friendly music junkie. Wannabe bacon specialist. Amateur tv advocate. Typical social media practitioner. Proud travel geek.