HONOLULU (KHON2) — Japan finally reopening to travelers is the announcement that many locals have been waiting for.
The changes mean that the process of getting to Japan will almost be back to normal starting on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
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It was a long 32 months for locals who wanted to get to Japan. Non-Stop Travel said dropping the visa requirement for visitors means demand from Hawaii is about to spike.
“No more visas, it’s a big deal! It was like a three-week process to get a visa and starting October 11th, no need for visa, it’s a big day,” said Non-Stop Travel managing director Gene Miyake.
Travelers should note that there is still a vaccine requirement; Tourists will need to have been vaccinated and boosted to avoid a pre-travel test.
“So long as you have three vaccine shots,” Miyake said, “no more PCR testing.”
Japan is also lifting its cap of 50,000 daily travelers, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii said more flights in will mean more flights out.
“They’re abolishing the daily inbound cap to Japan, which means that more tourists can make their way to Hawaii too, so it benefits us both ways,” said Nate Gyotoku, JCCH president.
Gyotoku said many community members — including his family — are ready to fly out.
“Just from a soft poll of my friends and family, I know there’s a big demand to go to Japan,” he said.
Hawaii Tourism Japan said it is the perfect time to reconnect after an isolating two and a half years.
“The relationship between Hawaii and Japan is just so long and so strong and so culturally tied that it’s very nice to be able to have the two-way flow again, where we’re able to go and visit all the places that we love in Japan as well,” said Eric Takahata, Hawaii Tourism Japan managing director.
Non-Stop Travel said their New Year’s and Snow Festival tours are filling up fast and folks should even start looking ahead to March and April.
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“The best advice that I can give to KHON viewers is don’t wait,” Miyake said. “There’s only so many hotel rooms during cherry blossoms, there’s only so many hotel rooms during snow festival. If you’ve been waiting, don’t wait!”