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Is Japan open to vacationers? It is the place Singaporeans need to journey


Some 49% of Singaporeans say they’re contemplating Japan for his or her subsequent trip overseas, based on the market analysis agency YouGov.

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Curiosity could also be even greater amongst younger residents. Some 68% of Singaporeans aged 16 to 24 years outdated indicated they’re contemplating Japan for his or her “subsequent trip,” in comparison with 37% of these aged 55 and older, based on analysis printed in Might.

Japan was the best choice amongst survey respondents by margin, with the second alternative, Taiwan, garnering curiosity from 39% of these surveyed. Some 26% indicated curiosity in vacationing in Malaysia, based on the outcomes, however this will have been affected by the survey query, which particularly requested about journey plans “by air.”

Nonetheless, Wanping Aw, CEO of the Tokyo-based journey company Tokudaw stated her firm noticed a big uptick in enterprise after Japan reopened its borders in June — with 50% of enquires and bookings coming from Singapore, she stated.

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Why Singaporeans like Japan

Japan has at all times been a preferred vacation spot with Singaporeans, stated Aw, particularly amongst those that desire a change of seasons.

Spring and winter are the 2 “peak seasons” for vacationers from Singapore, she stated: “They like cherry blossoms and snow so much.”

Singaporean dealer Alex Ng stated he’s planning a visit to Japan this autumn.

Wanping Aw at Shinjuku Gyoen, a preferred park in Tokyo. Aw, who’s Singaporean, has lived in Japan for 13 years.

Supply: Wanping Aw

A self-described “Japanophile,” Ng stated the nation strikes the “candy spot” between the acquainted and the unknown.

He stated Japan’s security, cleanliness and professionalism are like that of Singapore, as is the tradition’s adherence to social guidelines for the collective good.

“The trains aren’t happening strike whilst you’re dashing again from a day journey,” he stated.  “We really feel snug working in that construction. It is acquainted to how we reside right here, in all probability why most Singaporeans like Switzerland too.”

The meals can also be acquainted — rice-based with substances like fish, pork and tofu — however it “branches off from there in a myriad of fascinating instructions.”

Alex Ng stated most Singaporeans benefit from the intricacies of Japanese tradition. “It is cathartic and galvanizing to expertise it.”

Supply: Alex Ng

He stated he additionally appreciates the non secular variations between the 2 international locations.

“We’re lucky to have a variety of religions right here in Singapore,” he stated. However “Shintoism, which informs a lot of Japanese life and tradition — particularly their structure, aesthetics, cultivation and maintenance of pure areas — is pretty totally different from what we grew up round.”

And the cherry blossoms? “Lots of of years had been spent cultivating tens of 1000’s of cherry blossom bushes … for a couple of weeks of vibrant festivities yearly.”

“I’ve but to tire of the spectacle,” he stated.

Confusion abounds

Singapore is considered one of greater than 100 international locations and territories marked “blue” in Japan’s color-coded entrance classification system.

Vacationers from these locations aren’t required to take a Covid-19 take a look at or quarantine on arrival, or be vaccinated to enter. Visas and pre-flight Covid-19 PCR exams are required although, based on the web site for the Embassy of Japan in Singapore.

However the necessities past this have left many vacationers confused, stated Aw.

That is very true of the rule permitting vacationers to enter “solely when a journey company amongst others organizing the journey serves because the receiving group of the entrants,” as acknowledged by Japan’s Ministry of International Affairs.

Web sites like these use “language that talks in loops,” stated Aw.

Everyone seems to be confused and confused concerning the visa utility course of.

“And this misunderstanding is escalated with the truth that the Japanese embassies are utilizing the phrase — package deal tour,” she stated. This conjures up photographs of “30 to 40 strangers in a giant bus, happening a set route with a pre-fixed itinerary.”

However this is not correct, she stated.

One individual can ebook a “package deal tour,” she stated, including that she’s organized three solo journey bookings — together with one from Singapore — since Japan’s borders opened in June.

The time period “pre-fixed itinerary” can also be befuddling potential vacationers.

“Everybody appears to have the impression that they’ve to repair their itinerary all the way down to the hour or minute … that it’s troublesome to give you,” she stated. “However it isn’t as onerous because it appears.”

One other drawback — “everyone seems to be confused and confused concerning the visa utility course of,” she stated.

To use for a vacationer visa, vacationers must plan an itinerary and ebook their flights and lodging earlier than she will be able to course of their “ERFS certificates,” she stated, referencing an approval doc that guests want earlier than they’ll apply for his or her visas.

Solely Japanese firms can apply for the certificates, nevertheless vacationers can work via tour companies of their house international locations, who in flip work with their native companions in Japan, she stated.

As soon as an ERFS certificates is obtained, vacationers can apply for his or her visas, stated Aw.

Lastly, the chaperone

Along with working with an company, worldwide vacationers should additionally journey with a chaperone “always,” stated Aw.

Friends should pay for the chaperone, who’s an worker of the journey company, stated Aw. However on the upside, chaperones can help with issues like restaurant reservations and prepare schedules to make journeys run smoother, she stated.

A chaperoned journey is not a deal-breaker for Ng, nor are the remainder of Japan’s journey guidelines, he stated. Nonetheless he stated he would in all probability journey to Japan extra usually if the principles had been much less cumbersome.

For now, Ng stated he is optimistic.

“There is a good probability that Japan relaxes restrictions additional quickly, provided that elections are actually over,” he stated.

Ng stated he is secured his flights and motels — however not his visa — on the idea that, come autumn, the principles could also be totally different.

Aw stated many different Singaporeans are doing the identical factor. They’re planning, however pushing off the method to use for his or her visas “for so long as they’ll,” she stated.


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