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Japan fully reopens to Australian tourists

written by Adam Thorn | October 11, 2022

VH-QPJ took the first batch of Aussie athletes to the Tokyo Olympics last year (AOC)

Japan on Tuesday finally relaxed its strict COVID-19 rules to allow tourists to visit the country without a visa.

Previously, the country capped visitors at just 50,000 a day and asked arrivals to arrange their travel through an authorised tour operator.

The opening is hugely significant for Australia’s industry, with Brisbane Airport claiming Japan is the top travel destination searched for by Australians on Google over the past 20 years.

New arrivals can now organise their travel independently but must be either triple vaccinated or present a pre-departure COVID-19 test.

Qantas currently offers flights three times weekly from Sydney to Tokyo (Haneda), and will fly from Melbourne four times weekly in 2023 and three times weekly from Brisbane on 1 December.


The Flying Kangaroo will increase its services from the NSW capital in November, while Jetstar has already resumed Cairns to Narita and Osaka flights and Gold Coast to Tokyo Narita Airport.

Virgin will launch its rival service to Japan in March next year but has already opened it up to reservations.

Air New Zealand currently operates three non-stop flights between Auckland and Tokyo each week. Frequencies will increase to six times a week from 12 December before returning to a daily service from 13 February.

Air New Zealand general manager Scott Carr said “Following the news that Japan’s border will reopen to tourists, we saw a strong uptick in interest and bookings from Kiwis. No surprise there, given Japan is often top of people’s travel bucket lists.

“Attracting Japanese tourists to New Zealand is also our focus with plans in place to market New Zealand as a key destination for Japanese.”

The airline said in 2019, Japan was New Zealand’s fifth largest international visitor market, with 100,000 visitors spending around $277 million in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Qantas and Jetstar are enticing Australians to fly to Japan by making every economy seat available as a ‘classic flight reward’ over a six-week period from 11 May to 20 June 2023, meaning loyalty points can be used to purchase seats.

All economy seats on Jetstar flights between Australia and Japan between 11 October to 30 November 2022 will also be available as ‘classic flight rewards’.

Queensland’s Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said “Pre-COVID-19, for the year ended December 2019, Japan represented the third largest market by expenditure and fourth largest by visitation to Queensland. In that year Japanese visitors totalled about 219,000 generating $459.7 million in overnight expenditure and an average length of stay of 15.8 days.”

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Comment (1)

  • Hayden


    So, Virgin is going long haul again?

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