Japan 2022/23 Travel plans and ideas.

M_G

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The bank I can deal with because that is the government telling them that gaijin money launder. The reult being they do not want to accept you payment of your tradies bill who has an account at that branch.
The bank stuff has been going on for years. Surprised you haven't had this before. I've had the bank contact me when someone has deposited as little as 2,000 yen. Friends in Joetsu get 45 minute interviews at the local bank when a deposit comes in and they have lived there for 25+ years. Utterly anal retentive.

Otherwise when I was there in April I didn't have any negative interactions with locals. Though fortunately I didn't have to brave the hell that is the Nagano immigration office.
 

Sandy

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We often ski in a group. Been doing group trips up to charmant and seaside for 15 years. You're not talking a conga line on the mountain and nobody has shared a gondie here in 2 years :)
Got my own restaurant and bar and I pre-book restaurants every year for groups. No drama there.
People will be bused to and from the airport. My mate owns the bus company. Easy
I always take full payment 60 days out. It would be full refund this year anyway if the tour can't go ahead.
Can't imagine the consolute being too busy in oz. Not sure if people are going to book something like this less than 10 days out either. It would be something planned out in September/ October.

Hopefully we don't need to do it but as I said, got to have a plan B. We are mostly full for the season already. I would just need to convince everyone to adjust dates to suit which I know a lot of them would.
Tour group wouldn’t be my preference however if I had to go on a tour group - TJ would be the way I would go. Having stayed with him before and enjoyed his hospitality it wouldn’t be anything like the cookie cutter J-tours you’d expect.

Good luck making the season work. (Still hoping for fully open borders - I wanna go get my skis.)
One probably spanner in the works..... I'm pretty sure the current tours must be conducted by a tour guide CERTIFIED by the Japanese (insert appropriate guiding association here). I looked at it years ago when I was running shopping tours in Tokyo.

You could run foreign guiding as long as it was part of a foreign tour pre-COVID, but the current tours must be run by Japanese certified tour guides iirc.
 
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skichanger

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The bank stuff has been going on for years. Surprised you haven't had this before. I've had the bank contact me when someone has deposited as little as 2,000 yen. Friends in Joetsu get 45 minute interviews at the local bank when a deposit comes in and they have lived there for 25+ years. Utterly anal retentive.

Otherwise when I was there in April I didn't have any negative interactions with locals. Though fortunately I didn't have to brave the hell that is the Nagano immigration office.
I have experienced bank stuff before but this was a whole nother level. I was told I was a criminal because I was a gaijin. And this was me paying a bill unlike your examples which are receiving money. 5 minutes before and 100 metres down the road in a different bank there was no problem paying bills.

Your situation is very different to mine.

It was not the staff at Nagano immigration. It was someone else waiting to be served. The place was almost empty less than 10 people including us. Apparently I had no right to be there taking the time of the staff. Bet they took more time of the staff time than I did.
 

skichanger

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One probably spanner in the works..... I'm pretty sure the current tours must be conducted by a tour guide CERTIFIED by the Japanese (insert appropriate guiding association here). I looked at it years ago when I was running shopping tours in Tokyo.

You could run foreign guiding as long as it was part of a foreign tour pre-COVID, but the current tours must be run by Japanese certified tour guides iirc.
I did try to make the point earlier that there is a good chance that the tours need to be arranged by licensed tJapanese ravel agents
 

Donza

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I did try to make the point earlier that there is a good chance that the tours need to be arranged by licensed tJapanese ravel agents
Imagine the documents!

Please fill this out in triplicate. Which we'll then photocopy.
Which we'll fax to another office who'll photocopy and fax to a bigger office.
Who will then file it.
 

Sandy

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One probably spanner in the works..... I'm pretty sure the current tours must be conducted by a tour guide CERTIFIED by the Japanese (insert appropriate guiding association here). I looked at it years ago when I was running shopping tours in Tokyo.

You could run foreign guiding as long as it was part of a foreign tour pre-COVID, but the current tours must be run by Japanese certified tour guides iirc.
I did try to make the point earlier that there is a good chance that the tours need to be arranged by licensed Japanese travel agents
Imagine the documents!

Please fill this out in triplicate. Which we'll then photocopy.
Which we'll fax to another office who'll photocopy and fax to a bigger office.
Who will then file it.
I looked at it, and it would be next to impossible to get the certification as a foreigner if you don't speak and write perfect Japanese.
 

Donza

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I looked at it, and it would be next to impossible to get the certification as a foreigner if you don't speak and write perfect Japanese.
Do they have a phrase for "make it as difficult as possible as no one wants to take responsibility"?
 

TJ

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Tour group wouldn’t be my preference however if I had to go on a tour group - TJ would be the way I would go. Having stayed with him before and enjoyed his hospitality it wouldn’t be anything like the cookie cutter J-tours you’d expect.

Good luck making the season work. (Still hoping for fully open borders - I wanna go get my skis.)
Champagne and cocktails type of tour :)
Yep hoping for normal travel but if not I'm putting all the pieces together for what would be an almost better option for crew. I get plenty of groups in each season and they keep coming back so I reckon I've got this.
 
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ratherb@thesnow

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Champagne and cocktails type of tour :)
Yep hoping for normal travel but if not I'm putting all the pieces together for what would be an almost better option for crew. I get plenty of groups in each season and they keep coming back so I reckon I've got this.
Watching with interest how this pans out for you, hope there are not to many hurdles, fingers crossed for your Tues meeting. If your successful then I hope some Myoko based personal follow suit, snowboarding with a tour group will be better than not snowboarding
 
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Kneelo

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Advice and discussion o learned friends.
@Donza and all. I hoped to catch donz in the park during your recent trip, we waved but no Bobs deck!
IF it’s opened, I am planning a 2-3 mth Japan trip for two. I do love early season Hokkaido, if it comes.
Requirements
-on snow everyday - obviously going for powder and side country. Split may stay here.
- 2 beddie accom, wifi for home office
- like to stay and absorb the locals, the area and most importantly the changing mtns thru the season
- happy to hire a car
- somewhat price conscious for the accom, after all I spend the aus 4 mths in the donza van park
- have spent a good chunk of time in Niseko, with a few day trips to the usuals, have not ventured to Furano or the centre/nth
- also having read a few chats in here, happy to hear about some Honshu possibles

If home by early March, the far sth coast is great for the Kneelo.
Thanks for any thoughts and help
 
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Budgiesmuggler

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Advice and discussion o learned friends.
@Donza and all. I hoped to catch donz in the park during your recent trip, we waved but no Bobs deck!
IF it’s opened, I am planning a 2-3 mth Japan trip for two. I do love early season Hokkaido, if it comes.
Requirements
-on snow everyday - obviously going for powder and side country. Split may stay here.
- 2 beddie accom, wifi for home office
- like to stay and absorb the locals, the area and most importantly the changing mtns thru the season
- happy to hire a car
- somewhat price conscious for the accom, after all I spend the aus 4 mths in the donza van park
- have spent a good chunk of time in Niseko, with a few day trips to the usuals, have not ventured to Furano or the centre/nth
- also having read a few chats in here, happy to hear about some Honshu possibles

If home by early March, the far sth coast is great for the Kneelo.
Thanks for any thoughts and help

Tbh I think this is a season for niseko - if Japan opens it’s gonna be empty.

Not many times you’ll get that at Niseko!!
 
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LMB

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Tbh I think this is a season for niseko - if Japan opens it’s gonna be empty.

Not many times you’ll get that at Niseko!!
Very true.

I’m also hoping for an opening and watching and waiting.

But I’m pessimistic.

However Niseko will be ready to roll if they open, with plenty of Gaij in the village you won’t be getting side eyes for being foreigner bringers of the Covid.
 

Jacksong

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Very true.

I’m also hoping for an opening and watching and waiting.

But I’m pessimistic.

However Niseko will be ready to roll if they open, with plenty of Gaij in the village you won’t be getting side eyes for being foreigner bringers of the Covid.
I wouldn't worry about side eyes anywhere unless acting inappropriately. Have noticed when sharing a gondola with Japanese during pandemic, they are not blabbering obliviously out of respect for others in a tight space (Japanese pre-pandemic would often chat a bit on gondola). Letting elderly ride a chairlift or gondola solo, usually they would ask the lifty anyway. Some people say they don't ever share chairlifts or gondolas in Japan but I don't find this true for me personally, especially on weekends/holidays. Japanese do seem to prefer a 'private gondola' but often the lifties have other ideas.
 
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2nd_String_QB

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I just got back from 2 weeks in Japan and thought I'd write a little about the experience and how it relates to the upcoming snow season 22/23.

First, we were travelling on a family/spouse visa, which was NOT easy to get. The consulate were doing them for free early in the year, but the week I finally got all the documents together, they started outsourcing it to travel agents, who then charge a $100 fee.

The documents required were not too hard, just time consuming. The family register from your local office in Japan being the big hurdle. How do you get a document only available in Japan, when you need to go to Japan? They let close family members collect it for you, but that in itself is not easy when the family are living all over Japan and no one within 90 minutes of the place. Add in a complete list of previous trips to Japan (30+ for me), vaccine certificates, proof of funds etc. One of those bureaucratic nightmares you get.

Next was the Japanese government mySOS system which records your vaccination and PCR test status. A lot of downloading and then uploading correct paperwork (for four people in our family). But once you get the blue screen of approval, everything goes smoothly at immigration. It says you may be tracked and contacted post-arrival to check on your 'welfare' but none of us ever got any calls. Seems like a box-ticking exercise to me. We only used one mini/portable-Wifi for all of us (not roaming) and this was fine. No one ever checked to see that phones had 24/7 connection for the tracking the app supposedly does.

Masks are everywhere in Japan. I'd say 99.9% level in shops and indoors, maybe a little less outdoors and at night on streets. Someone not wearing one really stands out. We arrived just as numbers were ticking up (there were 2000 cases in Tokyo the day we arrived, I think it was 30,000 or so yesterday).

The absence of tourists is really noticeable in places. Disneyland and other hot spots are very quiet and it seems to be having an affect on the economy. I noticed a lot of shops closed down in downtown Osaka. Major chains too. Uniqlo used to have a 4 or 5 storey shop with a huge number of multilingual staff in a prime spot in Shinsaibashi (Osaka) that is now gone. I noticed an increase in the number of hotels open in Tokyo, no doubt for the Olympics, that did not seem busy. We got a great deal for a couple of nights at a good business hotel in Ginza. 6000 JPY per person per night. With AUDJPY above 90.00 everything seems cheap!

Otherwise the lack of tourists was an advantage. Museums and places that are usually crowded were easy to get into. There was a Modigliani exhibition in Osaka and it was like we had it to ourselves at certain points. No doub some locals are enjoying this after many years of being overrun, especialy in places like Kyoto.

However the overall feel I got from locals was that they need and want to get back to having tourists return. Talking to locals and they seem to think what more can we do to suppress covid? And would increasing tourists make all that much difference at all? However, the people I was talking to are probably not the ones that need convincing. Hard to say but I think tourism will return late this year. Just my gut feel.

It was great to be back after 3 years and I sincerely hope everyone can enjoy it again soon. I would gladly go through all the hoops to get a visa again and will probably go again in January hoping ski resorts are operating at full capacity.
 

LMB

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I just got back from 2 weeks in Japan and thought I'd write a little about the experience and how it relates to the upcoming snow season 22/23.

First, we were travelling on a family/spouse visa, which was NOT easy to get. The consulate were doing them for free early in the year, but the week I finally got all the documents together, they started outsourcing it to travel agents, who then charge a $100 fee.

The documents required were not too hard, just time consuming. The family register from your local office in Japan being the big hurdle. How do you get a document only available in Japan, when you need to go to Japan? They let close family members collect it for you, but that in itself is not easy when the family are living all over Japan and no one within 90 minutes of the place. Add in a complete list of previous trips to Japan (30+ for me), vaccine certificates, proof of funds etc. One of those bureaucratic nightmares you get.

Next was the Japanese government mySOS system which records your vaccination and PCR test status. A lot of downloading and then uploading correct paperwork (for four people in our family). But once you get the blue screen of approval, everything goes smoothly at immigration. It says you may be tracked and contacted post-arrival to check on your 'welfare' but none of us ever got any calls. Seems like a box-ticking exercise to me. We only used one mini/portable-Wifi for all of us (not roaming) and this was fine. No one ever checked to see that phones had 24/7 connection for the tracking the app supposedly does.

Masks are everywhere in Japan. I'd say 99.9% level in shops and indoors, maybe a little less outdoors and at night on streets. Someone not wearing one really stands out. We arrived just as numbers were ticking up (there were 2000 cases in Tokyo the day we arrived, I think it was 30,000 or so yesterday).

The absence of tourists is really noticeable in places. Disneyland and other hot spots are very quiet and it seems to be having an affect on the economy. I noticed a lot of shops closed down in downtown Osaka. Major chains too. Uniqlo used to have a 4 or 5 storey shop with a huge number of multilingual staff in a prime spot in Shinsaibashi (Osaka) that is now gone. I noticed an increase in the number of hotels open in Tokyo, no doubt for the Olympics, that did not seem busy. We got a great deal for a couple of nights at a good business hotel in Ginza. 6000 JPY per person per night. With AUDJPY above 90.00 everything seems cheap!

Otherwise the lack of tourists was an advantage. Museums and places that are usually crowded were easy to get into. There was a Modigliani exhibition in Osaka and it was like we had it to ourselves at certain points. No doub some locals are enjoying this after many years of being overrun, especialy in places like Kyoto.

However the overall feel I got from locals was that they need and want to get back to having tourists return. Talking to locals and they seem to think what more can we do to suppress covid? And would increasing tourists make all that much difference at all? However, the people I was talking to are probably not the ones that need convincing. Hard to say but I think tourism will return late this year. Just my gut feel.

It was great to be back after 3 years and I sincerely hope everyone can enjoy it again soon. I would gladly go through all the hoops to get a visa again and will probably go again in January hoping ski resorts are operating at full capacity.
Thanks for sharing.
We keep hoping.
But without family there at this stage, hope is the best we have.
I could potentially try for a sponsored work visa, but I’d be pushing it uphill for that on a good year ( not enough years of teaching experience for me). Plus I don’t really want to work. Just play.
 
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Tonester

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Thanks for sharing.
We keep hoping.
But without family there at this stage, hope is the best we have.
I could potentially try for a sponsored work visa, but I’d be pushing it uphill for that on a good year ( not enough years of teaching experience for me). Plus I don’t really want to work. Just play.
can't you go back for essential work or repairs to your property?? seemed to work for the nsw government last year :confused:
 

LMB

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can't you go back for essential work or repairs to your property?? seemed to work for the nsw government last year :confused:
Yeah not an option because our apartment is managed. Might work for the lodge owners here, but not for apartment owners. Sadly.
 

tot

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Yeah not an option because our apartment is managed. Might work for the lodge owners here, but not for apartment owners. Sadly.
Might sound silly but perhaps "they" may not know its managed? Worth a try maybe..
 
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TACKIE

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If all else fails I will do a family exemption visa for all of Feb/march. Not supposed to do tourist things.....is skiing touristy.? Nah.
 

skichanger

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Perhaps.
But I’d rather do the right thing, and wait until it’s actually open to us. As tourists. If that means waiting another year, so be it.
If you can get someone to do the ERFS thing for you, will invite you and you have a valid business reason to go to Japan you can get a short term business visa. There is nothing wrong with doing that.
 

Sandy

Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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I just got back from 2 weeks in Japan and thought I'd write a little about the experience and how it relates to the upcoming snow season 22/23.

First, we were travelling on a family/spouse visa, which was NOT easy to get. The consulate were doing them for free early in the year, but the week I finally got all the documents together, they started outsourcing it to travel agents, who then charge a $100 fee.

The documents required were not too hard, just time consuming. The family register from your local office in Japan being the big hurdle. How do you get a document only available in Japan, when you need to go to Japan? They let close family members collect it for you, but that in itself is not easy when the family are living all over Japan and no one within 90 minutes of the place. Add in a complete list of previous trips to Japan (30+ for me), vaccine certificates, proof of funds etc. One of those bureaucratic nightmares you get.

Next was the Japanese government mySOS system which records your vaccination and PCR test status. A lot of downloading and then uploading correct paperwork (for four people in our family). But once you get the blue screen of approval, everything goes smoothly at immigration. It says you may be tracked and contacted post-arrival to check on your 'welfare' but none of us ever got any calls. Seems like a box-ticking exercise to me. We only used one mini/portable-Wifi for all of us (not roaming) and this was fine. No one ever checked to see that phones had 24/7 connection for the tracking the app supposedly does.

Masks are everywhere in Japan. I'd say 99.9% level in shops and indoors, maybe a little less outdoors and at night on streets. Someone not wearing one really stands out. We arrived just as numbers were ticking up (there were 2000 cases in Tokyo the day we arrived, I think it was 30,000 or so yesterday).

The absence of tourists is really noticeable in places. Disneyland and other hot spots are very quiet and it seems to be having an affect on the economy. I noticed a lot of shops closed down in downtown Osaka. Major chains too. Uniqlo used to have a 4 or 5 storey shop with a huge number of multilingual staff in a prime spot in Shinsaibashi (Osaka) that is now gone. I noticed an increase in the number of hotels open in Tokyo, no doubt for the Olympics, that did not seem busy. We got a great deal for a couple of nights at a good business hotel in Ginza. 6000 JPY per person per night. With AUDJPY above 90.00 everything seems cheap!

Otherwise the lack of tourists was an advantage. Museums and places that are usually crowded were easy to get into. There was a Modigliani exhibition in Osaka and it was like we had it to ourselves at certain points. No doub some locals are enjoying this after many years of being overrun, especialy in places like Kyoto.

However the overall feel I got from locals was that they need and want to get back to having tourists return. Talking to locals and they seem to think what more can we do to suppress covid? And would increasing tourists make all that much difference at all? However, the people I was talking to are probably not the ones that need convincing. Hard to say but I think tourism will return late this year. Just my gut feel.

It was great to be back after 3 years and I sincerely hope everyone can enjoy it again soon. I would gladly go through all the hoops to get a visa again and will probably go again in January hoping ski resorts are operating at full capacity.
I didn't have any issue with my wife getting a family visitor's visa.

The documents required were not too hard, just time consuming. The family register from your local office in Japan being the big hurdle. How do you get a document only available in Japan, when you need to go to Japan? They let close family members collect it for you, but that in itself is not easy when the family are living all over Japan and no one within 90 minutes of the place. Add in a complete list of previous trips to Japan (30+ for me), vaccine certificates, proof of funds etc. One of those bureaucratic nightmares you get.
I don't understand this bit at all....
You only need to get the invitor's Resident's certificate from the local ward office, so that's no big hurdle from the bureaucracy POV..... you get it by getting the invitor to send it to you after he/she gets it from the Ward office after showing their Resident's card, since you're visiting him/her.
No need for a complete list of previous trips to Japan for the invitee.

Around my area, mask wearing outdoors is running at about 60-70%.
 

2nd_String_QB

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I should've added that we live in Melbourne, so we had to get the family register (koseki tohon) from my wife's local office in Osaka when she last lived there (20+ years ago). Her parents moved away from there a long time ago. Luckily her Dad had some business close by one day and popped in to get it for us. Otherwise it was a 3 hour round trip for them. The local office wouldn't send it via email or fax as per 'their rules'.

The Melb consulate have changed their requirements slightly now, but we needed all those at the time (May).

Anyway, I hope it eases up soon with the visas for everyone. It wouldn't surprise me if they keep the visa requirement for a while to keep track of tourist numbers, rather than the automatic 90 day visa upon arrival.
 
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blueandwhite

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I've started researching alternative options to Japan. Will hold off on cancelling our bookings for a few more months in case things change but realistically even if tourists are allowed back in by January I'm starting to think the experience of both the travel into and around Japan and the holiday itself could be a bit onerous this season compared to somewhere like Europe or Canada.

Presumably you can transit through a Japanese airport without significant paperwork or problem so long as you stay airside? I'll probably look at adding an onward flight from Japan to Europe or North America as a backup option (which would then require a transit in a Japanese airport each way).
 
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Donza

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I've started researching alternative options to Japan. Will hold off on cancelling our bookings for a few more months in case things change but realistically even if tourists are allowed back in by January I'm starting to think the experience of both the travel into and around Japan and the holiday itself could be a bit onerous this season compared to somewhere like Europe or Canada.

Presumably you can transit through a Japanese airport without significant paperwork or problem so long as you stay airside? I'll probably look at adding an onward flight from Japan to Europe or North America as a backup option (which would then require a transit in a Japanese airport each way).
Plenty of videos of people (non tourists) flying ANA and JAL through Tokyo to the states and Europe.
The only difference is the lack of some lounge access due to low numbers of travellers.
 
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MisterMxyzptlk

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I pulled the pin on the weekend
Won't do a trip this summer school hols
If they did re-open I'd probably do a short notice trip with a mate in Feb
 

Sandy

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I've started researching alternative options to Japan. Will hold off on cancelling our bookings for a few more months in case things change but realistically even if tourists are allowed back in by January I'm starting to think the experience of both the travel into and around Japan and the holiday itself could be a bit onerous this season compared to somewhere like Europe or Canada.

Presumably you can transit through a Japanese airport without significant paperwork or problem so long as you stay airside? I'll probably look at adding an onward flight from Japan to Europe or North America as a backup option (which would then require a transit in a Japanese airport each way).
Yes, you can transit through Haneda & Narita without issue. Right now, they collect all transit passengers from the aircraft before allowing the arriving passengers to disembark, so they can herd the arrivals through the current COVID arrival procedure.
 

blueandwhite

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Yes, you can transit through Haneda & Narita without issue. Right now, they collect all transit passengers from the aircraft before allowing the arriving passengers to disembark, so they can herd the arrivals through the current COVID arrival procedure.
Excellent, thank you.
 

dmz

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Any recommendations for a Japan specialist travel agency? I normally never use them but cant be stuffed organising our next trip. Basically we fly into Haneda and stay one night, then bullet to Kyoto for a few days then bullet back to Tokyo. From there we fly to asahikawa for our ski trip. The ski bit is all organised.
 

Donza

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Any recommendations for a Japan specialist travel agency? I normally never use them but cant be stuffed organising our next trip. Basically we fly into Haneda and stay one night, then bullet to Kyoto for a few days then bullet back to Tokyo. From there we fly to asahikawa for our ski trip. The ski bit is all organised.
For season 2024?
You do know that Japan is closed to general tourism?
 

ratherb@thesnow

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Granted it’s just one individual opinion and with no connection to Government but it’s well researched and makes some sense,
Always good to have some hope

 

Medicine_Shoes

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Going by what I read on Japan travel groups on Facebook, half the people that have booked for Japan don't even know that they haven't opened for general tourism yet.
 

LMB

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Kiroro.
Who is hearing what?…
PB just told me that it’s a Club Med now and is marketed from Mid Dec for tour group travel…
I haven’t seen/heard anything. Anyone know what the goss is?
 

yourmate

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Kiroro.
Who is hearing what?…
PB just told me that it’s a Club Med now and is marketed from Mid Dec for tour group travel…
I haven’t seen/heard anything. Anyone know what the goss is?
Yes Its now a club med and open from December for over 12yrs only. Following year it will be ages 2+.
Im assuming they will allow outside skiiers........If that ever stopped it would be a massive shame as the back country access is incredible.
 
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Medicine_Shoes

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Dec 9, 2018
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Kiroro.
Who is hearing what?…
PB just told me that it’s a Club Med now and is marketed from Mid Dec for tour group travel…
I haven’t seen/heard anything. Anyone know what the goss is?

Insane prices. $2734 per person for 7 days. Also that's the special rate! Normal price you can add on another $1000.
 
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