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Japan scraps COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements early – from 29 April

Japan is accelerating its move to pre-COVID border measures, ditching triple-dose vaccination requirements and pre-departure PCR testing from midnight tonight, 10 days earlier than expected.

Earlier this month the Japan Government announced that it would be ending its COVID-19 border restrictions from 8th May 2023, in concert with the virus being downgraded to a ‘common disease’ category the same day, restoring travel to and from the country to pre-COVID norms, with no testing or vaccination requirements.

Good news this week is that it has now been confirmed that the relaxation will now take place even earlier – from midnight on Saturday 29th April 2023 – a full ten days ahead of the original plan.


Meanwhile those arriving in Japan from China will no longer be subject to random on-arrival COVID-19 testing from the same date.

This will help ease congestion at Japan’s airports in time for the Golden Week holiday period, and restores travel to Japan to pre-COVID norms.

Current requirements for travel to Japan

Japan first reopened its borders to tourists on 11th October 2022, but the process wasn’t completely ‘free and easy’ like it was during pre-COVID times.

Currently, Japan still requires all inbound travellers to either have a pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of departure, or show proof of triple vaccination (primary course plus one booster dose), a strict requirement not imposed by many other countries.

Those inoculated with a single-dose vaccine like J&J (Janssen) require two doses in total – the primary course and a single booster dose.


Initially Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines were not recognised by Japan, but in the end all WHO-approved vaccines were then deemed acceptable.

Visitors are also asked to register at Visit Japan Web at least six hours before arrival in the country (optional).

Here’s the full current process and eligibility summary, which will remain in effect for arrivals until 23:59h Japan Standard Time on Friday 28th April 2023.

Eligibility & Process
Singapore Japan

  • Hold one of 68 nationalities for visa-free entry
  • Register with Visit Japan Web before boarding your flight, for a faster arrival process
  • Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with any WHO-approved vaccine, including a booster dose
  • If you don’t meet the fully vaccinated and boosted criteria, you must have a negative pre-departure PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before departure
  • Children aged 17 or under travelling with fully vaccinated and boosted parents are considered fully vaccinated and boosted, regardless of their actual vaccination status, and do not require any pre-departure testing
  • Children aged 5 or under travelling with unvaccinated parents are considered fully vaccinated and boosted, regardless of their actual vaccination status, and do not require any pre-departure testing
  • No further on-arrival or post-arrival testing or restrictions

COVID-19 border measures ending early

The above process will now end for arrivals from 00:00h Japan Standard Time on Saturday 29th April 2023, ten days earlier than originally planned, with pre-COVID requirements then taking effect.

“If you are boarding an aircraft arriving in Japan after midnight Japan time on April 29, valid vaccination certificate or pre-departure test is not required.”

Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

This includes the current restoration of Japan’s visa-waiver scheme for Singapore citizens and nationals of other countries as listed here.

Time to visit Kyoto again? Travel to Japan is now a pre-COVID experience. (Photo: Sorasak)

Those arriving in Japan from China, who previously required proof of vaccination and a negative pre-departure PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure, already had the testing requirement removed earlier this month, from Wednesday 5th April 2023.

Random on-arrival testing in Japan for travellers from China will also cease from 29th April 2023.

These travellers are now treated like any other international arrivals in Japan, and of course also benefit from the removal of all other COVID-19 border controls from 29th April 2023.

What about Visit Japan Web?

International arriving travellers heading to Japan are currently encouraged to complete the Visit Japan Web registration at least six hours prior to departure.

While this is not mandatory, it allows uploading of vaccination details, immigration and customs declaration online.

“Anyone entering Japan on or after April 29, 2023 will no longer be required to show a valid vaccination certificate or a test certificate obtained before departure.”

Visit Japan Web

It remains to be seen whether the Visit Japan Web form itself will remain, though this isn’t too arduous and in any event will be simpler without the need for any vaccination details.

Most travellers do currently use Visit Japan Web, because it is easier and quicker to obtain QR codes in advance rather than complete hard copy declaration forms and have vaccination records checked manually on arrival – but the process is not mandatory.


Since paper immigration and customs forms remain available, Visit Japan Web will also remain optional (if it remains in existence) from 29th April 2023, though it will only generate QR codes for immigration and customs declarations.

All Singapore – Japan flight options

There are currently a total of 122 weekly services between Singapore and Japan, 68% of the pre-pandemic total of 179 weekly direct flights.

Missing cities on the list compared to January 2020 still include Hiroshima (SilkAir) and Okinawa (Jetstar).

Here’s a summary of your options based on May 2023 schedules.

Singapore – Japan Flights
May 2023

Airline / Flight Number To / From Aircraft Days
SQ11/12 Tokyo
777-300ER Daily
SQ637/638 Tokyo
787-10 Daily
SQ634/635 Tokyo
A350 MH
SQ631/636 Tokyo
777-300ER Daily
JL35/38 Tokyo
767-300ER Daily
JL36/37 Tokyo
787-9 Daily
JL711/712 Tokyo
767-300ER Daily
NH801/802 Tokyo
787-9 Daily
NH841/844 Tokyo
787-9 Daily
NH842/843 Tokyo
787-9 Daily
TR808/809 Tokyo
787-9 Daily
TR898/899 Tokyo
(via TPE)
787-9 Daily
ZG53/54 Tokyo
787-8 Daily
Airline / Flight Number To / From Aircraft Days
SQ618/619 Osaka
787-10 Daily
SQ622/623 Osaka
787-10 Daily
TR818/819 Tokyo
787-8 Daily
Airline / Flight Number To / From Aircraft Days
TR892/893 Sapporo
(via TPE)
787-8 Tue, Thu, Sat, Sun
Airline / Flight Number To / From Aircraft Days
SQ656/655 Fukuoka
787-10 Tue, Thu, Sat
Airline / Flight Number To / From Aircraft Days
SQ672/671 Nagoya
787-10 Wed, Fri, Sun

Singapore – Japan award rates

Here are the latest KrisFlyer award rates between Singapore and Japan, when flying on Singapore Airlines.


KrisFlyer Redemption
Singapore ⇄ Japan
  Saver Advantage
Economy 27,000 45,000
Premium Economy 37,500 n/a
Business 52,000 70,000
First / Suites 77,000 120,000

SIA award space has been relatively scarce to and from Japan since the country’s initial October 2022 reopening, and especially in view of the fact that the airline has yet to restore full pre-COVID capacity to and from the country, though hopefully in the months ahead this can start to be resolved.

Some Singapore – Tokyo flights feature SIA’s popular 2013 long-haul Business Class seats. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Unfortunately Alaska Mileage Plan made a sudden no-notice devaluation of its awards on Japan Airlines last month, hiking the rate for Singapore – Japan trips in Business Class from a competitive 25,000 miles to 50,000 miles each way, a 100% increase overnight.


However, all is not lost for those holding an Alaska miles balance to redeem flights to and from Japan, with Cathay Pacific’s 22,500 miles rate in Business Class for flights via Hong Kong.

A Singapore to Sapporo award via Hong Kong will set you back only 22,500 Alaska Miles + US$86 on Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific is still a good use of Alaska Miles when flying to and from Japan. (Photo: The Points Guy)

Remember you can also use British Airways Avios points (including those transferred across 1:1 from Qatar Airways Avios points) to book oneworld awards to and from Japan with JAL.




Japan has maintained one of the strictest vaccination requirements globally for arriving visitors, imposing the rare requirement for travellers to have a booster dose on top of their vaccine’s primary series in order to be eligible for test-free entry.

Those unable to comply can still travel, but are subject to a costly pre-departure PCR test within 72 hours of departure.

These requirements will now be removed from midnight on Saturday 29th April 2023, ten days earlier than planned, restoring pre-COVID travel arrangements for visitors and returning residents.

Removal of these requirements should go a long way to boosting tourism arrivals in Japan, which was a US$36 billion industry before the pandemic, and also reduce congestion at the airport for arriving travellers.

Will you be planning a trip to Japan now that pre-COVID norms are coming into place? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)



  1. Not planning. The time to plan a trip to Japan was September last year, when hotels were dirt-cheap, and award flights plentiful. Have been and returned (during Cherry Blossom) last month, Let the masses return now at inflated prices – we will wait abt a year until everything settles down to go again.

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