Travel With Confidence
Thinking about a holiday to Japan in the post-pandemic world? You’ve probably got a few questions — and we don’t blame you. This is new territory for a lot people, and we’re here to help you navigate this often-changing landscape.
First, let us say this: we will never send you to Japan unless we believe that it is absolutely safe to do so.
We spent the pandemic doing everything we could to prepare the way for a safe return to travel, and even now we are constantly adjusting our protocols in keeping with the latest health and safety advice.
You’ll find the answers to some frequently asked questions below, but if you don’t find the information you need here, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].
How safe is Japan?
Japan has fared much better than most countries during the coronavirus pandemic, with infection and death rates remaining remarkably low without the need for a nationwide lockdown. Many people (including us) have speculated that the reason for this may be Japanese culture itself. Non-contact greetings such as bowing are commonplace as opposed to shaking hands. Wearing a face mask when you’re sick is usual practice, and public cleanliness is already extremely high. Perhaps most importantly of all, Japanese culture emphasises personal social responsibility, which means that people tend to “do the right thing” without having to be told. Whatever the secret of its success, Japan is one of the safest places in the world when it comes to Covid-19.
Am I going to be welcome in Japan?
In short, yes. Tourism is an important part of the Japanese economy, and we know from friends, partners and our own experience on the ground that many businesses are itching to welcome guests again.
We’re positive that if you follow all the latest safety advice and wear a mask, you’ll be very welcome in Japan. You can check the latest Japan travel requirements and travel etiquette here.
How are you making your trips Covid-secure?
Throughout the pandemic, we have been busy auditing our hotels, restaurants, and activities to ensure that we only work with those who adhere to the highest safety standards. For many businesses in Japan, that’s only slightly more stringent than their usual, excellent levels of hygiene — so it hasn’t been much of a learning curve! At the absolute minimum, all our partners in Japan:
● Adhere to the latest advice from the Japanese government
● Have put in place enhanced cleaning measures
● Follow official guidelines for appropriate use of PPE
● Have trained staff in Covid-19 safety protocols
If you’d like more detailed information, we are following the guidelines put forward by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which are based on the latest advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What is accommodation like in Japan post-Covid-19?
Since we only work with hotels that meet the highest safety standards, expect thorough cleaning measures, staff wearing masks, plenty of sanitising stations and (in many cases) contactless check-in and check-outs. As we mentioned before, these are things that most Japanese people have been doing for years, so it won’t feel a whole lot different from usual!
Is it safe to use public transport?
Japan’s public transportation is world-famous for its lightning-like efficiency, so it’s no surprise that trains and stations have been quick to introduce enhanced cleaning measures and ventilation systems. If you want to see what Japan Rail has been doing to make train travel safe, check out the JR East website.
We believe that the risk of using public transport in Japan is low, and so our trips continue to make use of it. Nevertheless, we’ve adjusted our itineraries to remove unnecessary journeys and avoid busy periods, and we request our customers to adhere to mask wearing and hand sanitising guidelines.
How easy is it to get hold of PPE in Japan?
Disposable and washable face masks, and hand sanitisers are readily available from any of Japan’s ubiquitous convenience stories, but we recommend that you bring your own supply of sanitiser and reusable masks just in case (and to minimise waste). If you’re joining one of our Small Group Tours, your tour leader will be able to provide spare masks and sanitisers if necessary.
How have your tour leaders been trained for post-pandemic travel?
We are proud to say that our tour leaders have taken the challenges of post-pandemic travel in their stride. Your tour leader will have completed up-to-date Covid-19 safety training, and will know exactly what to do if a group member begins to show symptoms of coronavirus. They’ll also be informed of all the latest local guidelines and restrictions, and provide regular safety briefings throughout the tour so that you know exactly what the requirements are.
What if my trip includes an activity I'm not comfortable with?
Just as with our hotels, we only work with experience providers who meet our high standards, and we’ll never recommend an activity that we deem to be unsafe.
That said, not everybody has the same level of comfort — and that’s OK. If you’re travelling on a Small Group Tour and would like to opt out of a shared experience, that’s totally fine. Your tour leader will have plenty of alternative suggestions for how to spend your time. If you’re travelling on an independent trip, your travel consultant will be able to discuss the specifics of any activity before you decide to book it to ensure you’re both comfortable and confident.
What happens if I get Covid during the trip?
Should you contract coronavirus during your travels, you will have either your tour leader or our 24/7 customer support team available to assist you. We have protocols in place to ensure that any testing, self-isolation, or doctor visits will be conducted to ensure everyone’s trip is as smooth and safe as possible.
Do I need to do anything before I travel?
Please check the latest Japan entry requirements here.
How will all this affect my experience of Japan?
Mostly, the differences you’ll notice are small things that we’ve already become used to in our daily lives. You’ll see widespread mask-wearing (outside as well as inside), sanitation stations at entrances and exits of buildings, and regular contactless temperature screening at airports, tourist sites, hotels and restaurants. Other than that, things will feel much the same as usual — and with the benefit of fewer tourist crowds.
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