After two and a half looong years, the Japanese government finally announced that from October 11, 2022, you don’t have to be on a tour or book your tickets through a Japanese travel agent or get a visa, as long as you can prove you are vaccinated and boosted!*
If you’ve been itching to go to Japan, now’s the time to get a trip in the works. The exchange rate is the best it’s been in thirty years, the tide of incoming tourist crowds won’t reach its previous peak for a year, and Japan dishes up glorious sights and events all year long.
For those of you who are ready to hop on a plane the minute the country opens…
Here are some killer events that take place in October:
The Bakeneko Ghost Cat Parade
Festival of 10,000 Lanterns (Oeshiki Ikegami)
Vast vistas of blooming cosmos flowers
If you can stand to wait until November, you can see the weird world of bonsai chrysanthemums!
Not to mention the other crazy chrysanthemum displays all over Tokyo during the month of November
The best leaf-viewing spots in Tokyo are predicted to be at their peak around November 29.
And some of them are lit up at night!
But if you’re the kind of traveler who prefers to anticipate your trip and plan ahead…
Here’s how to pick the best time to see everything you’re dying to see, with weather notes:
And here are my favorite festivals and events, by month:
Once you’ve chosen your dates, what else do you want to see while you’re in Tokyo?
And if you’d like to see all the off-the-beaten-path places I take my friends to see when they’re in town, here’s a link to The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had:
And if you’re looking for spectacular places to visit beyond Tokyo…
Every month I put out an e-magazine called Japanagram.
If you subscribe (it’s free!), every month you’ll get a spectacular Beyond Tokyo destination (with directions on how to get there), a Japan Home Cooking recipe, features on seasonal secrets, explanations of baffling Japanese stuff, and a chance to win some choice Japan swag. It’s free, and I’ll never share or sell your info (plus, of course you can always unsubscribe <sob!>) Click here to start getting it:
And finally, from me to you, safe & happy travels!
*They haven’t published the exact guidelines for incoming tourist visa travelers on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website yet (although that’s the page to check, once they do), but the prime minister announced that visitors from 70 countries will no longer have to apply for their 90-day visas before entering Japan (there will be a list on that MOFA site) as long as they are vaccinated and boosted. Until now, the only vaccines accepted for visa approval were Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax, Astra-Zeneca, Janssen, and Bharat Biotech, but it’s still unclear if this new decision will deny entry to those who are vaccinated with other brands. It has also been hinted (but not confirmed) that visitors may be able to show a certified negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of landing instead of proof of vaccination. Again, the MOFA website is where that information will be posted.
The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon
“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist