FAQ for Travel to Japan on Oku Japan’s Special Opening Small-Group Guided Tours

FAQ for Travelling to Japan


Can I travel on one of your self-guided tours at this time?

Yes, since the October announcement from the Japanese government removing the previous restrictions, our self-guided tours are once again available to our guests. We are also able to accommodate your request for pre- or post-tour nights, as well as extensions for your trip.

Can I travel on one of your small-group guided tours without restrictions at this time?

Yes, since the October announcement from the Japanese government removing previous restrictions, it is no longer required to be fully guided from entry to departure or for the guide to be with you throughout the entirety of your tour. It is possible for you to enter Japan before or after the start of your tour, and make your own arrangements before and after our small-group guided tours.

Can I add pre- or post-tour nights to my tour?

With the changes to government regulation on entry into Japan, it is now possible to add pre or post tour nights to your tour, subject to availability.

Can I add one of your extensions to my tour?

With the removal of government restrictions on tours, it is possible to add one of our extensions to your tour, subject to availability.

The dates of your tour don’t work for me. Can I book a private departure of your tour? 

Yes, subject to availability, we will accept requests for private departures of our two special opening tour itineraries. Our sales team will advise you on the pricing for a fully private departure.

I like the tour itinerary, but I don’t want to travel with strangers. Can I have a departure for just me and my family, or for me and my friends?

Yes, subject to availability, we will accept requests for private departures of our two special opening tour itineraries. Our sales team will advise you on the pricing for a fully private departure.

I want to go to Japan but I don’t want to travel on your itinerary. Can you help me with a custom privately guided departure?

Custom tours require careful planning and preparation. At this time we can only accept requests for privately guided departures from 2023 onward, subject to the availability of accommodation and a guide. Other conditions may apply. Please contact us for details


What are the entry requirements for Japan?

For full details of entry requirements for Japan, see the details at the Japan National Tourism Organization here: 


Border entry requirements due to Coronavirus are subject to change. The most up-to-date information can be found at the website of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare here: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/covid-19/bordercontrol.html#h2_4

Supplemental information may also be found at the website of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs here: https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html

Currently, travellers need:

  • An official certificate of vaccination showing that travellers have received a full course of vaccine and at least one booster shot of one of the COVID-19 vaccine types accepted by the Japanese government, which can be found here


  • A certificate of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure (must be a type accepted by Japan, which can be found here)

You should also use Fast Track to register your details in advance for a smooth entry process. You can find details of the Fast Track system at Visit Japan Web. https://vjw-lp.digital.go.jp/en/. The new and updated Visit Japan Web has taken the place of the MySOS app for loading your vaccination or Covid-19 pre-arrival test details as of 1 November 2022.

I have been vaccinated against Covid-19. Do I still need to have a negative test before travelling to Japan?

No, if you have been vaccinated and received at least one booster, you are not obligated to undergo a PCR test. You must have a government-issued document showing your vaccination status. Please ensure your vaccine type(s) is/are accepted by the Japanese government. See here for details: https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page24e_000317.html 

Does the 72-hour window for the validity of the negative Covid-19 test begin from the time when my test was taken or when my result was received?

The 72-hour window before your departure for Japan begins from the time your test was taken.

What kind of Covid-19 test must I take for my test certificate to be valid? 

There are restrictions on the type of Covid-19 test valid for entry into Japan. Details of the test type and administration method for valid test types can be found on the website of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare here: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/covid-19/border_test.html

Can I just use whatever testing certificate my tester provides? Or are there special requirements?

The Japanese government strongly prefers entrants to have a test certificate in a prescribed format. Please print and bring a copy of this format to your test. You will find this certificate of inspection here: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/000799426.pdf

If your testing location can not use this format, your certificate must at a minimum include the following information in English or in Japanese:

  1. Name

  2. Date of birth

  3. Testing method for COVID-19

  4. Sample

  5. Specimen collection date and time

  6. Result

  7. Name of medical institution

  8. Date of issue

My country had a Visa Waiver program with Japan previously. Do I still need to apply for a visa to join your tour?

 No. We are happy to share that, as part of the Japanese government’s announcement regarding travel from October 11, 2022 onward, most visa waiver programs were reinstated. You can see the full list of countries here: https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/short/novisa.html 

What if I do not have proof of vaccination or a certificate of inspection that indicates I have tested negative for Covid-19?

You will be denied boarding by your airline and/or denied entry into Japan.

What is Fast Track? 

Fast Track allows you a means to pre-register your information within your Visit Japan Web account before your arrival in Japan for faster and smoother processing through quarantine screening, immigration, and customs. When all the information has been submitted and accepted, the bar above your QR code will be blue, which will indicate that you have registered for an account, and confirmed your vaccination certificate or confirmed your negative Covid 19 test result taken less than 72 hours before departure. Fast Track will also provide you with QR codes to show at each stage of your entry process (quarantine, immigration, customs) that provide the information you have submitted via the app.

How do I access Fast Track and how does it work?

Full details of the Fast Track app can be found here: https://www.hco.mhlw.go.jp/en/ 

How far in advance should I enter my information into Fast Track?

If you enter your information at least 6 hours before your scheduled arrival time in Japan, your review should be completed before your arrival. If possible, do try to submit your information far enough in advance of your departure in a quiet moment so you can be sure you are entering your details carefully and have time to register and create log-ins. We strongly recommend that you bring backup paper copies of your documentation for review should you have a technical issue with the app.

What do I need to use Fast Track?

  • A smartphone or device with wifi capability that can access Visit Japan Web and register your account

  • Your passport number

  • Your vaccination certificate or your negative Covid test certificate

What kind of insurance do I need to buy?

As part of our standard booking conditions, Oku Japan requires that you purchase travel insurance that covers you for personal accidents, medical expenses, and repatriation expenses, including helicopter rescue and air ambulance. You can find details of our booking conditions here: https://www.okujapan.com/about-us/booking-conditions

We will require information on your insurance before your departure for Japan.

We also recommend that you have insurance covering cancellation, loss of personal belongings on tour, and other expenses which might arise as a result of loss, damage, injury, delay, or inconvenience occurring to you. 

We strongly suggest that you purchase private medical insurance that includes coverage for medical expenses related to COVID-19 and has adequate coverage and services. Should you test positive for COVID-19, you may be required to self-isolate at your own expense and these costs are the responsibility of the traveller. 

Please note that there may be additional expenses to pay if we must organise any supplemental services such as guiding, accommodation, and transfers as a result of your illness. These expenses are the responsibility of the traveller.


What happens when I arrive in Japan?

When you arrive in Japan, access Visit Japan Web and follow the instructions provided to you, going through quarantine, immigration, and customs. There are separate QR codes you will be asked to display for each stage of your entry to Japan, and these are labeled in Visit Japan Web.

Please note that you will be fingerprinted digitally on entry to Japan.

After clearing customs, you’ll enter the airport. 

What should I do if I feel unwell, am exposed to someone with coronavirus before I travel to Japan, or test positive for Covid-19 before my travel to Japan?

Please contact us immediately and please do not travel.

What do I do if I feel unwell during my tour?

If you feel unwell and are on a self-guided tour, please notify us immediately. If you are on a guided tour, please notify your guide immediately. We will assist you with transport to a medical facility and will follow local government protocols for health and safety.

What are the expectations about mask-wearing on my tour?

It is important to wear a mask as a basic prevention measure against Covid-19. Your action will protect everyone’s health. You do not need to wear a mask outdoors when you are approximately 2 meters apart from others, or when you are not talking at a distance of fewer than 2 meters. You do not need to wear a mask indoors when you are approximately 2 meters apart from others and when you are not talking. In crowded areas - i.e. on public transport, you should wear a mask. In towns and villages, we will ask that you wear a mask both to protect yourselves and the community. When hiking on the trail, and when we are spaced at a distance of 2 meters, masks are not required.

What is the current etiquette for Covid-19 in Japan?

Mask-wearing has been common in Japanese society, long before the arrival of Covid-19. Typically the Japanese would wear masks if ill to avoid making others ill. Even though mask-wearing is not required in Japan, most people continue to wear masks. Government guidelines suggest that you choose shops or accommodations that have implemented health and hygiene measures. We have chosen restaurants and accommodations that do. Practice good health and hygiene measures such as wearing a mask and washing/sanitizing your hands frequently, even if you are vaccinated. Monitor your physical health daily. Seek to maintain physical distancing where possible.

How can I prevent the spread of Covid-19 at my accommodation?

Check your body temperature and sanitize your hands upon check-in at your accommodation. Refrain from talking when using public baths or onsen. Minimize your time spent in shared dining areas, particularly those that are not ventilated. Remember to wear masks at social gatherings. 

How can I prevent the spread of Covid-19 on public transportation?

Wear masks when using public transport. Improve ventilation as much as possible. Try to travel outside peak travel times. Try to refrain from talking when using public transport.

How can I prevent the spread of Covid-19 while sightseeing or shopping?

Try to travel outside of peak times and visit places that are not crowded. Keep your voice down in public places. Maintain physical distancing, even when outside. Sanitize your hands prior to and after touching products such as souvenirs in shops.

How can I prevent the spread of Covid-19 while drinking or dining?

Sanitize your hands before entering cafes, bars, and restaurants. Portion out services in advance when sharing food.