We’re all excited that Japan is open now for more snow travellers. However it’s easy to be confused by all the current new rules.
As of September 7 the country has changed traveller rules and lifted foreign tourist caps from 20,000 a day to 50,000 a day and removed the proviso of a travel guide to visit the country. Making sense of all restrictions and visas can be daunting, especially the “must book through Japan travel agent” element.
The team at MySnow Holidays have made it easier with a five step guide to getting yourself on the fast train to Japow.
The good news is MySnow Holidays has teamed up with licensed travel agents in Japan to offer independent non-group ski holidays to Japan from 7 September 2022 for the 2022/23 ski season.
Step 1. Understand the new rules
Australian residents are eligible to apply for an ERFS and tourist visa for Japan if an Australian travel agent books the customers flights and an Australian travel agent books the customers land package through a licensed Japanese Travel Agent.
Step 2. Booking your Japan Ski Holiday
It’s so much easier to hand over the reigns to an Aussie travel agent to take care of everything. You’ll need to look at the following elements for your ski/board holiday in Japan.
|Flights||Mandatory||Must be booked by an Australian Travel Agent|
|Accommodation||Mandatory||Must be included in the MySnow Package which will be booked by a Japanese Travel Agent|
|Transfers, Lift, Lesson, Hire, Activities||Optional||Can be added to the itinerary or booked locally|
|Travel Insurance||Mandatory||Must be valid for the entire duration|
|ERFS||Mandatory||Must be booked with the land package for selected operators|
|Japanese Medical Insurance||Advised at time of booking||May be mandatory based on each Japanese travel agent|
When you make your booking you’ll then be sent a consent form for local Japan government guidelines. This must be signed as per Japan rules.
You’ll need to ensure you have Japanese medical cover designed to cover travellers while in Japan, in the event they test positive for COVID-19.
If the traveller tests positive, they will contact the Japanese travel agent, who will contact the Japanese Insurer, to make the necessary arrangements. This Insurance may not be offered by all Japanese Travel Agents. This medical cover should be purchased in addition to general Travel Insurance.
Step 3. Apply For The ERFS Certificate
This is where having a team like MySnow Holidays in Australia will really help as they guide you through the process.
Once the flights and land package are booked through a travel agent, the flights will be sent to the Japanese Travel Agent who will apply for the ERFS on the customers behalf.
To receive a tourist visa from the Japanese Consulate, the ERFS (Entrants, Returnees Followup System) has to be established. This process is to be arranged by a Japan based travel agent (land operator), through the team at MySnow Holidays.
The Japan based travel agent needs to make the ERFS application, arrange the documentation, and manage the customers itinerary throughout their time in Japan. The Japan travel agent agrees to be responsible for the clients COVID safety procedures that need to be managed and documented throughout their stay in Japan.
Cost of the ERFS: Up to AUD$300 per person to process & manage the ERFS and associated responsibilities, paid to your Australian Travel Agent. This fee is non-refundable under any circumstance.
Step 4. Apply for a Tourist Visa directly
Until Japanese borders fully return to normal, the visa waiver program has been suspended by the Japanese Government. To get into Japan for the purposes of tourism, customers will have to get a visa from a Japanese Consulate in their home country. Once the ERFS is issued, Australian citizens must apply for a Japanese Tourist Visa that lasts 3 months from date issued. The approval may take up to three weeks.
To book, the customer must contact their local consulate to make an in person appointment
Step 5. Prepare for travel
As of September 7th, 2022 those who have been triple vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer have to submit a negative PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure. Those not triple vaccinated will require a negative PCR result 72 hours before their flight to Japan.
Once in Japan travellers must have access to a smart phone, with a data plan, as the Japanese travel agent must communicate with the travelling party through the duration of their trip.
If a customer tests positive for COVID, and if Japanese medical insurance has been purchased, the Japanese travel agent will liaise with the Japanese medical insurer and the Australian travel agent to make the necessary arrangements.
More questions (and answers)
If I have booked my flights directly with an airline, can I book with MySnow Holidays and get an ERFS?
MySnow Holidays are not able to assist customers that have not booked their flights with a AFTA or IATA accredited Australian travel agent.
If I have booked my own accommodation, can I apply for an ERFS?
MySnow Holiday are not able to assist customers that have not booked their accommodation as part of a MySnow Holidays package through a Japan Travel Agent.
What does ERFS stand for?
Entrants, Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS). Refer to Step 3.
What is the purpose of the EFRS?
The Japanese Travel Agent that issues the ERFS, is taking responsibility for the whereabouts for the customers while in Japan and to assist with the necessary arrangements if a customer tests positive for COVID.
Can MySnow Holidays offer any hotel in Japan?
No, the team can only offer hotels that are able to be booked by our partner Japanese travel agents. With the current restrictions the team have access to about 70% of their usual hotel inventory.
Need more? Contact the team at MySnow Holidays.
*This information is to be used as a guide only based on MySnow Holidays interpretation of the information released by the Japanese Government. MySnow Holidays take no liability for any change in policy or information contained in this document, or their interpretation of the information currently available to the public as of September 7, 2022.