Japan reopens its borders to visa free travel

Air New Zealand has seen a huge surge in interest to travel to Japan as the country rolls out the welcome mat to tourists.
11 October 2022

Air New Zealand has seen a huge surge in interest to travel to Japan as the country rolls out the welcome mat to tourists.

Today, Japan resumes visa-free entry enabling free independent travel for the first time in over two and a half years with the country lifting its border restrictions for visitors who have been triple vaccinated or take a pre-departure Covid test. The daily entry cap has also been removed.

Air New Zealand General Manager Longhaul Scott Carr says Japan is hugely important to New Zealand and to Air New Zealand.

"Kiwis have been flying to Japan on our aircraft since 1980, and over the years have built up a real affinity and affection for Japan. We kept flying to Japan during Covid – to maintain connectivity and keep New Zealand exports moving to this important market, and we are extremely excited to be able to fly customers to and from Tokyo again.

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

In 2019, Japan was New Zealand's fifth largest international visitor market with 100,000 visitors arriving from Japan. Those visitors spent around $277 million in New Zealand, supporting local tourism and hospitality industries. Most Japanese visitors travel directly to New Zealand on Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand operates three non-stop flights between Auckland and Tokyo each week. Flight frequencies will increase to six times a week from 12 December before returning to a daily service from 13 February. Pre-Covid, Air New Zealand operated 13 return flights to Japan every week through New Zealand's high season.

"Japan is also a key market for our exporters. In the last year we carried 3.6 million kilograms of fresh produce and meat into Japan – with capsicums, tomatoes, beef and lamb and seafood being top exports.

"The reopening couldn't be better timed for Kiwis wanting to get up to Japan with autumn being a major tourism season, and the All Blacks playing Japan on 29 October. The ski season which falls over the New Zealand summer is also fast approaching.

"Japan is a real wonder to visit, regardless of when you go. Whether its Kyoto turning golden in autumn, winter skiing on the slopes of Hokkaido or catching the Sakura (cherry blossoms) in spring, there's always something to see and do. And the Japanese are wonderfully consummate hosts and of course, the food is amazing."


Whether you want to get lost in Japan's past, soak up the high-energy nightlife or traverse Tokyo for some of the world's best shopping, this metropolis of over 37 million people has all the experiences you could imagine.

Getting around is a breeze: there's no such thing as a train running late in Tokyo. And once you're ready to experience somewhere new, hop on the shinkansen - the bullet train - and you'll find yourself in Kyoto, Hiroshima or Kanazawa in no time at all.

Best time to go

March and April are popular months to visit as the plum and cherry blossoms come out. May is the locals' favourite season. The rainy season comes in June before the summer heat of July and August hits. September provides some welcome heat respite before the beautiful October and November months bring the autumnal display that precedes a winter that is known for its clear dry blue-sky days, and of course skiing and onsen.



Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.

Email: media@airnz.co.nz │Phone: +64 21 747 320│Twitter: @AirNZMedia 

About Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand's story started in 1940, first taking to the skies between Auckland and Sydney on a flying boat - a Short S30. Known for its warm Kiwi hospitality, today, the airline has 98 operating aircraft ranging from Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and Airbus A320s to ATRs and Q300s, offering customers comfort in the latest most efficient jets and turboprops. It's a modern fuel-efficient fleet with an average age of 6.7 years. Air New Zealand's global network of passenger and cargo services centres around New Zealand. Pre-Covid, the airline flew more than 17 million passengers every year, with 3,400 flights per week. Air New Zealand was recently named the World's Safest Airline by the Australian rating service AirlineRatings.com, highlighting the airline's laser-focus on safety. This year, Air New Zealand won Best Corporate Reputation in New Zealand – 8th year in a row.

Air New Zealand has a well-connected domestic business, connecting customers and cargo to 20 different regions around New Zealand. Internationally, the airline has direct flights to major cities across Australia, Asia, the Pacific Islands and the US, and through its strong relationships with alliance partners, offers customers more choice and convenience to connect further afield to hundreds of destinations. Air New Zealand has a particular focus on sustainability and its Sustainability Framework  helps guide the airline's efforts in tackling some of New Zealand's and the world's most complex challenges. Airpoints, Air New Zealand's loyalty programme, is seen as the most valuable loyalty programme in New Zealand with 3.5 million members. It allows members to earn Airpoints Dollars™ and Status Points for VIP benefits in the air and on the ground. Air New Zealand aircraft are proudly identified by its distinct tail livery of the Mangōpare, the Māori symbol of the hammerhead shark which represents strength, tenacity, and resilience.


About Star Alliance

Air New Zealand is proud to be a member of Star Alliance. The Star Alliance network was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to the international traveller. Its acceptance by the market has been recognized by numerous awards, including the Air Transport World Market Leadership Award and Best Airline Alliance by both Business Traveller Magazine and Skytrax. The member airlines are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines, THAI and United. Overall, the Star Alliance network currently offers more than 18,500 daily flights to 1,321 airports in 193 countries.