Arriving in Tokyo during COVID-19
Last updated Oct 10th, 2020
Disclaimer: Rules suddenly change, so please always seek the official information provided by the Japanese Government
The latest announcement, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Effective Oct 1st)
"Phased Measures For Resuming Cross-Border Travel"
Testing at the airport
Since September 2020, a saliva testing replaced the PCR testing that took a few days for the results to come out.
However testing capacity is still limited so 2-3 hours is necessary after the plane arrives.
Use of public transportation not allowed
Your company/organization will need to arrange private transportation or you need to reserve yourself.
The MHLW (Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare) has a list of transport companies or travel agents capable of handling the transfer, though the information is mostly in Japanese only.
In general, the driver will be in the airport on the flight arrival and wait for the guest while the test results come out. In case the test results are positive, the cancellation charges will be waived.
The guest can communicate with the driver through WhatsApp, LINE or on the phone but their English capability may differ widely depending on the driver or company. It may be necessary to hire a separate English interpreter if it is predetermined that communication would be an issue.
Where to stay during the 14 day quarantine
Airbnb is likely the best option available if your host does not have housing arrangements. Tokyo hotel rooms are known to be small and uncomfortable for a two week stay.
It may be worthwhile to check whether the area you're staying is covered by Uber Eats. It is available in most parts of central Tokyo and quickly spreading to the surrounding regions.
No word on when tourists will be allowed in
So far the easing of the restrictions only apply for business travel, long-term residents and students looking to study in Japanese schools.
There was a report by the Jiji Press agency in early October that the government is targeting April 2021 as the initial timing for bringing back international tourists. They also hope to have some type of fast track program ready for the athletes and personnel that will be here for the Olympics which was pushed back to July 2021.
Despite public disapproval, the government fully intends on holding the Olympics in some way, even if the competition requires major downsizing.
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