Tokyo 2020 Olympics For Dummies
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The opportunity to see the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is a definitely a great opportunity! But remember, you’ll be traveling to a foreign country. If you have never been to Japan, you’ll need to make sure you’ve prepared appropriately. Keep these four things in mind.

Get the required vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that travelers be up to date on all routine vaccines before traveling to Japan. Examples of routine vaccines would be the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the chicken pox vaccine.

Additional vaccines may be recommended depending on what activities you plan to do and which areas of Japan you plan to visit.

In all cases, consult with your doctor to ensure you receive any necessary vaccines before your trip. More information about recommended vaccines can be found on the CDC website.

Bring your medications

Japan has somewhat strict rules when it comes to bringing medications into the country. In general, you can bring up to a two months’ supply of over-the-counter medication and up to a one month’s supply of prescription medication. However, there are several exceptions to this rule.

The first thing to note is that over-the-counter medications that have stimulants that make up more than 10 percent of the ingredients are forbidden. You’ll mostly see this with some allergy, sinus, and cold medications that are available in the United States. For example, Sudafed, a common decongestant, contains pseudoephedrine, which is considered a stimulant and is, therefore, forbidden.

Stimulant drugs such as heroin, cocaine, opium, and marijuana are strictly forbidden, even if they were obtained legally. You read that correctly. You cannot bring marijuana with you to Japan even if it was prescribed to you by a doctor. Other stimulants such as methamphetamines and amphetamines are also prohibited even if you have a prescription. These tend to occur in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sleep disorder medications.

Other types of prescription medications (such as narcotics), as well as medications where you need more than one month’s supply, will require a special permit called a Yakkan Shoumei. Applications for a Yakkan Shoumei should be submitted to one of the Narcotics Controls Departments (NCDs) in Japan at least two weeks in advance.

These regulations may change at any time, so check the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare website before your trip to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

For more specifics regarding medication restrictions, you can contact the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare by phone or email. Contact information is available on the website.

Buy travel and medical insurance

When it comes to travel, many people wonder whether they should buy insurance. However, before you can make a decision, you need to know about the two types of insurance: travel insurance and travel medical insurance. Yes, there is a difference (but most insurance options include both).

Standard travel insurance covers the financial investments of trips such as lost luggage, travel delays, and cancelled trips in certain situations (such as illness, a death in the family, or a natural disaster).

Standard travel medical insurance covers healthcare costs incurred while out of the country (for example, if you end up having to visit the hospital or need emergency medical evacuation).

If you were going on a last-minute or cheap domestic flight, you would probably pass on the travel insurance, because you don’t have a ton of money at risk and your normal health insurance plan should cover any potential medical emergencies.

However, for a trip to Japan, where you’ve invested a significant amount of money and your normal health insurance won’t cover you, you definitely should get travel insurance. Getting travel insurance will ensure that you don’t lose out on the thousands of dollars you likely spent on plane tickets, hotel accommodations, and Olympic event tickets.

Many large events have been cancelled to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. While no determination has been made, it’s a wise idea to buy travel insurance.

Many travelers turn to World Nomads or Allianz Travel for insurance as their policies offer both traditional travel insurance, as well as medical insurance. Also, check with your credit card provider. Many travel credit cards offer travel insurance and travel medical insurance as additional benefits.

Understand Japanese entry requirements

The good news is that if you’re a U.S. citizen and will be in Japan for less than 90 days (which you most likely will be), you won’t need a visa. Just be aware that all visitors entering visa-free will be fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival. More information on this can be found on the Embassy of Japan in the United States of America website.

If you’re not a U.S. citizen, you can check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website to determine whether you need a visa.

In order to enter the country, you need at least one blank page in your passport for the entry stamp and you must have proof of onward travel (proof that you’ll be leaving Japan), such as a booked flight.

Also, be aware that Japanese immigration officers have the right to deny you entry if you appear to have no visible means of support (no credit cards, debit cards, cash, or other means of supporting yourself financially), so make sure you have at least one of these with you.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Celeste Kiyoko Hall is dedicated to helping others learn about Japan and its culture. She served as a board member for the Midwestern Japan Student Association and as president of the Japanese Cultural Exchange Circle and continues helping others plan their trips to Japan through her travel website, Footsteps of a Dreamer.

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