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Japan Travel 2022


Tony Galiani

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On 1/29/2022 at 8:03 PM, mojo said:

Something about the UK.

It seems to be the attitude at Heathrow. You're always welcomed with sullen faces and general misery. I remember my wife always getting 20 questions coming back from a short family visit in Japan despite being with a British national and our children, having a spouse visa, (which are way more expensive than any other country) and having lived in the UK for over 10 years. I always cringed at Heathrow as it's the first thing that people see visiting the UK. Why would you want to come here?  Not a part of the UK that I miss.

 

Never had an issue when landing in Gatwick. They usually ask you if you've had a nice time. Much nicer experience but sadly no Japan flights unless you change somewhere in Europe beforehand.

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I remember transferring thru Heathrow like a decade back and being warned about this Uber restriction at Heathrow to only have a SINGLE, small carryon. Anything thing over either had to be thrown out or not getting on the plane. We had to march like a mile thru a huge shoppping mall that went on and on and on. It was like running a retail gauntlet, there was no direct path thru it all. I felt like I was trapped in an IKEA without the Sekret cut-thrus. When we finally got on our plane (after many staircases and 2 busses) about half the passengers had these enormous, I guess, duty free bags. That was why we were squeezed down to a single small carry on. I mean some of these bags were like a meter tall and had wheels on them! some took up a whole overhead bin. I think we were like 30 minutes of just trying to secure all these shopping bags. But of course we were happy our carry one could go on the floor! But again enormous chaos getting off the flight as everyone had to reconstitute their bags.

 

not a pleasant memory.

 

jeff

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I have the unfortunate pleasure of working at Heathrow and even arriving/departing as airline crew in uniform you're treated with the same amount of hatred as everyone else!

 

I've been following this thread closely...it's been over 2 years since my last Japan trip and was going almost once a month before that! The general feeling at work is that the far east is going to be closed for quite some time still. Worst thing is we'd planned an epic 10 day holiday to Japan for this month...oh well, there's always next year!

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TokyoImperialPalace

Heathrow Airport along with British Airways sustain the majority of their profits on shuttling business travelers between London and New York, and when you then add in the numerous other travelers between the UK and US it becomes clear why both Heathrow and BA are so poor - they take advantage of the near-monopoly on transatlantic routes. London to New York is only flown by: American Airlines, British Airways, Air India, Delta Air Lines, and Virgin Atlantic. AA and BA, Delta and Virgin, Kuwait and Air India are codeshares (but Kuwait is now banned from picking up passengers in London due to their policy of banning those with Israeli passports, so only Air India is flying the route now). AA and BA are both flagship tenants at Heathrow and JFK, so they have a upper hand in access to lounges and terminal facilities etc... They only care about these business class passengers flying between Wall Street and the City of London.

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railsquid

Oh jolly good, that should make it somewhat more practical to actually make a trip out of Japan, which I haven't done now for almost exactly four years, in the foreseeable future. Though given the uptick in Interesting Times being lived in, all bets are off...

 

The relevant MHLW page is: https://www.hco.mhlw.go.jp/fasttrack/

 

 

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JR East

About fast tracks, it really depends on airports. I remember, in Narita (2018), no fast track was offered but it was so fast in normal lane that not having it was not a drawback. On the other handside, in Instambul, despite the fast track exists, it was awfully slow for a reason I don't know.  

Edited by JR East
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railsquid

For clarification, this is about streamlining quarantine screening, so theoretically anyone with all the jabs and paperwork and apps (and not coming from the wrong country) can skip that step and go straight home for three days mandatory isolation.

Edited by railsquid
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Tony Galiani

I suspect I am not the only one hoping for the day these processes are streamlined or not needed anymore.  Just traveled internationally a few weeks ago and getting the testing before departure from the USA and before returning home was stressful and costly. 

Tony

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Tony Galiani

I have learned not to ready anything from Jeff around April 1st but made the mistake of looking at a couple of travel web sites today for Japan reopening news.  Not a great idea - ran into a few fake reopening articles.

Sora News did not offer a reopening date but did advise that - once Japan reopens - tourists will be required to eat Sushi daily, wear Geta sandals and a host of other requirements.  I suppose this is mildly amusing though YMMV.

https://soranews24.com/2022/04/01/after-reopening-japan-to-require-foreigners-to-eat-daily-sushi-to-revitalize-tourism-industry/

Ciao,

Tony

 

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Tony Galiani

Disappointing article in the New York Times this morning about Japan not likely reopening to tourists for awhile.  Definitely not before the election in June in any event.  I can't find fault with taking a cautious approach - it certainly worked well at my university - though Japan is one of the few places I want to travel to at this point.  I will just have to content myself with videos for the time being.  Working my way through more NHK Train Cruises shows recently.  Really enjoyed the one on the Aizu Line, particularly the photography segment.

Ciao,

Tony

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JR East
On 4/4/2022 at 1:56 PM, Tony Galiani said:

Disappointing article in the New York Times this morning about Japan not likely reopening to tourists for a while.  .../....

Ciao,

Tony

 

Without any controversy in mind, I think that Japanese people suffered a lot those 4-5 last years (before Covid lockdown) of the growing amount of tourists and this 'calm period' without tourist is satisfying lots of them.

 

Travelling frequently to Japan, I've learned how to behave in a country where group is more important than individuals and good manners is a 'must be'. Even as tourist, you're supposed to behave properly, at least not to be too 'barbarian'. It doesn't mean you've to cope with the million of unwritten rules, but at least to have the proper attitude, not making too many well-known mistakes.

 

I've noticed the increase of foreign tourists from 2000 (my 2nd trip to Japan) on and especially from 2013 on. Looking to the figures, roughly 4.75 Mio. people were travelling to Japan in 2000,  but the number increased from 10 Mio (2013) to roughly 32 Mio (2019). The sociology of travellers also changed to mass tourism coming with all the drawbacks of it. 

 

Of course, in the 2000, 'bad manners' were also existing (like shooting - without asking first - people in traditional wear or Maiko walking in a street), but due to the (relative) few number of tourists, the likelihood of facing that was low for local people. Some other 'bad manners' were not (or close to not) existing like opening a door of a private property to look behind the fence or shoot the inner garden. 

 

Mass tourism mathematically increased the 'bad manners'. This leads to strong visible changes such as prohibitions displayed on large panels (eg: photos in Gion even at night when it's raining and nobody is in the street). Anyway, I fully understand people rejecting tourism (tourist speaking loudly in calm streets, in metro, cellphones in Shinkansen etc ....). Meanwhile we were having the same issue in some part of Paris like Rue Crémieux crowded with tourists not respecting the place and its inhabitants. For that, the calmdown of Covid side-effects was seen as positive. 

 

Mass tourism also increased the number on disrespectful tourists. I remember stopping a f... stupid backpacker before he tried to carve something on a Torii wood pillar at Fushimi-Inari at the top of the hill. I let you imagine a "Bob was there 2018' carved on the perfect glossy of the vermillion Torii. 

 

Of course, this is of particularly noticeable on "high spots" of tourism in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Himeji, Miyajima etc ... and it's now the reason why I'm trying to stay away of those spots discovering some jewels where I'm the sole foreigner to be there (eg Kunōzan Tōshō-gū or the Fujisan Hongū Sengen-taisha with the Fuji water spring)

 

So it's also probably one of the reasons why the Japanese government doesn't want to reopen before the elections. 

 

Anyway, as soon as the borders are reopened, I'll travel again to Japan, bringing my daugther to discover this incredibly romantic country. 

 

JM

 

 

Edited by JR East
typos, adding links
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JR East
5 hours ago, railsquid said:

Well, the peace and quiet was nice while it lasted... https://news.yahoo.co.jp/pickup/6423083

 

Looking to the news (thanks Nord VPN for bypassing the Yahoo JPN controls) translated ... it's about immigrants, not tourists. It seems still in tourist ban mode

 

JM.

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katoftw

Looks more to do with easing restrictions of inbound travellers from previously restricted countries.

 

The comments section was funny read though. Looks to be mainly middle and late aged men making the same complaints we did about opening up borders again six to twelve months ago. There is a lot of 'stick your head in the sand and hopes it goes away mentallaty.

 

But any step taken towards being fully reopen will cause backlash from the vocal minority.  I'd expect more of these keyboard warrior blow ups every announcement along the way.

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railsquid
5 hours ago, JR East said:

 

Looking to the news (thanks Nord VPN for bypassing the Yahoo JPN controls) translated ... it's about immigrants, not tourists. It seems still in tourist ban mode

 

 

 

Yeah, reading beyond the headline (sorry it was late when I posted):

 

Quote

日本への入国をビジネスや留学などの目的に絞る措置は継続します。

 

"Entry to Japan will continue to be restricted to business people, students etc."

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katoftw

I read somewhere else the daily limit is increasing to 10K. Up from the current 7K.

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8 hours ago, railsquid said:

 

Yeah, reading beyond the headline (sorry it was late when I posted):

 

 

"Entry to Japan will continue to be restricted to business people, students etc."

 

Would that include people with job offers I wonder. Not that many companies are looking for overseas candidates at the moment.

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railsquid
1 hour ago, mojo said:

 

Would that include people with job offers I wonder. Not that many companies are looking for overseas candidates at the moment.

 

I haven't checked, but I'd guess that as prior to Omicron, anyone taking up non-short-term residence (study, jobs etc.) is included.

 

There is a fairly active Facebook group which might be useful: https://www.facebook.com/groups/returntojapan

 which is mainly concerned with the practicalities of testing and quarantine etc., but does seem to touch on visa issues as well.

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chadbag

We're hoping that by December they are accepting tourists again and are tentatively planning a trip then (since we have to request time off, etc -- tickets are reasonable but not cheap at the moment but are changeable and refundable with a feww [no fee for changing]).  My wife wants to see her sisters again -- she has not been there since before her mom passed on a year and a third ago.

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My company runs holiday time from September to September, so I need to use mine up before then. Might just book and risk it, given that ANA and JAL are offering free changes at the moment. The problem is, if you have to change the prices on the dates you want to change to might have gone up a lot. Refundable option is definitely better.

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katoftw

Refundable would be what I go for at this stage.

 

The main carrier between Japan and Australia just delayed their flights again until June.

 

I'm not planning on this year anyway, as it creates to much uncertainty. I am aiming for June or September in 2023.

Edited by katoftw
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chadbag

So I rolled the dice today and got tickets for December.  They are changeable without fee and refundable (with fee).

 

I've been watching ticket prices and prices have been slowly going up.  A lot of people think Japan will open up after the election (July?) or latest in September.  (Korea opened up right after their election) and there was a report just released by "high government advisors" in Japan that recommended opening up (gradually etc were the words)*.   I figured December is far enough away that if these rumblings and reports have any merit, it will have happened by then.  And if not, the tickets are changeable and refundable.  

 

I had enough Chase points to get all 4 (and still have points left) with points.  Not the cheapest tickets I've ever gotten but similar to what I paid 2010-2017 or so and those were not changeable/refundable(with fee).

 

*I am not great at the hidden meanings in Japanese business "speech" but I expect the true meaning is to tell the government to open up pronto.  But what do I know.

 

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I was thinking of doing the same thing with tickets for August. My work runs holidays from September 1st and I haven't used any this year, so I need to use at least 3 weeks before then, ideally 5.

 

I've been worrying about it too much, I'm just going to have to gamble with a flexible ticket.

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  • disturbman changed the title to Japan Travel 2022

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