Tourists travel to Japan after COVID-19 restrictions lifted, expected to provide major economic boost -- Oct 12

Eager to admire colorful foliage, eat sushi and go shopping, droves of tourists from abroad began arriving in Japan on Tuesday, with the end of pandemic-fighting border restrictions that had been in place for more than two years.

About 32 million tourists visited Japan in 2019, before COVID-19. Their return is welcome for good reason. Many will have more spending power because the Japanese yen has declined in recent months in value compared to the U.S. dollar, the euro and other currencies.

The only protocols left for entry are that you must be fully vaccinated with one booster or have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure. Virtually all visitors from the U.S., the rest of Asia, Europe and South America who fulfill those requirements won’t have to quarantine.

Visitors may have to adjust to face masks, worn by most Japanese just about everywhere outside their own homes. Many stores and restaurants require customers to wear masks and sanitize their hands. Some establishments still close early, or have shuttered completely.

But bookings from abroad with Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways Co., or ANA, have already jumped five-fold compared to last week, while bookings of flights out of Japan have doubled. ...continue reading