Australians can finally book a trip to Japan after two long years of the holiday hotspot being shut off to tourists. Japan had some of the world’s strictest border controls in place when Covid wreaked havoc across the world but after almost two-and-a-half years of locking out tourists, the nation is finally welcoming b ack tourists wanting to travel without a visa.

Aussies flocked to Bali once the Indonesian island opened its borders on March 14 but for those who have been in recent months, it’s no easy feat getting through customs. Countless exhausted and grumpy travellers regularly vent their frustration online and in person about waiting in hours-long queues at Bali’s Denpasar Airport as they line up to show their proof of vaccination and purchase their visas.

While there are still checks in place for travellers wanting to visit Tokyo, Osaka or the countless other popular destinations around Japan, the process of getting through the airport was significantly more hassle-free than that of Australia’s other favourite holiday spot Bali.

Before October 11, only those travelling in a registered tourist group were allowed into the Asian country. Japan also scrapped all of its entry caps after restricting visitors to 50,000 a day in September. Visitors to Japan must either have proof of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours, or show they’ve had three vaccinations, and are told to upload their personal details onto the Visit Japan Web page.

This streamlines the process at the airport, allowing travellers to land in Japan and be free of the formalities within minutes. Jetstar was quick to resume flights to Japan, with tickets for a direct flight from Cairns to Tokyo currently on offer for as low as $404.

Qantas offers direct flights to Tokyo from cities like Sydney and Melbourne while the Jetstar only offers non-stop routes from Cairns and the Gold Coast, three times a week.Jetstar’s Chief Customer and Commercial Officer, Alan McIntyre, said Japan was one of the airline’s most popular travel destinations before Covid hit  with 21.6 million Aussies and Kiwis travelling to the country every year.

A customs declaration also needs to be filled out online while those heading into Bali had to download the Peduli Lindungi app. However, landing at Japan’s Narita Airport is a different story  with most passengers in and out within half an hour.

‘As the only low-cost airline that operates direct flights between Australia and Japan, we have seen strong demand for our services since the government announced the lifting of entry requirements, showing that Japan continues to be a must-visit destination for Australians,’ he said.

But the meals are delicious, the chairs are large and spacious and there’s plenty of free food and alcohol to go around. The cost of Jetstar business also comes at a significantly lower price point than other airlines with the higher-end seats from Cairns to Narita costing as little as $1,139, and the same from Cairns to Osaka.

The kit includes an eye mask, socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, earplugs, hand cream and lip balm, and a Jetstar branded pen. This journalist was a guest of Jetstar. 

The Cairns to Narita flight is an easy seven hours but those looking for some extra comfort on the plane can splash a bit of extra cash on Jetstar’s business class option. While significantly more comfortable than an economy seat, it’s still business on a budget, and the chairs don’t lie completely flat.

‘Our Business Class offering is a great way for customers to enjoy a more comfortable travel experience at an affordable price, especially when compared to the cost of similar services with full-service carriers,’ Mr McIntyre said. Guests travelling on business will be able to check in 30kg of luggage, will be provided with entertainment and noise cancelling headphones, and their own amenity kit.


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