Sebastian recently wrote about his awful Japan entry experience through Tokyo’s Haneda (read more here). A few friends have recently had hour+ long immigration lines due to an insufficient number of employees processing arrivals.
I arranged a visa to enter Japan in September (read more here) and entered in October before masses were again let in. My most recent arrival experience was on January 13, 2023, through Hokkaido’s New Chitose Airport, which is close to Sapporo. The experience overall was smooth.
Visit Japan Web
Japan instituted a new web app called Visit Japan Web that visitors must use to prove their vaccination status (you need to have THREE jabs to be considered fully vaccinated) or upload proof of negative test before travel.
Japan Launches “Visit Japan Web” That Incoming Passengers Must Use From November 14, 2022
You can use it for required immigration and customs forms to speed up processing at the airport.
I uploaded the vaccination QR codes (I have them saved on my laptop due to having needed them on previous trips) and manually had to input the vaccination dates (readable from the codes).
You can alternatively upload proof of a negative test.
I uploaded the documents, and it took a couple of hours for the confirmation email to arrive.
As I was flying to Sapporo from Singapore, I decided to fly on a direct Scoot flight (never previously flown on this LCC owned by Singapore Airlines) in Premium Economy. The price was very reasonable, but the onboard product was crap.
The check-in agent wanted proof of vaccination, and I merely showed her the Blue screen from the Visit Japan Web that she accepted.
Note that there were notices not to take photos, so some of mine are a bit blurry, and I didn’t take as many as I otherwise would have.
Not sure why there were chairs in the hallway leading to the QR checking stations. Perhaps for arrivals from “dirty” locations (read China).
There were also lanyards that I can recall from entering Chile and Hong Kong.
Everyone had to take the right path then.
When you do the health questionnaire on the Visit Japan Web, you are issued a Blue, Yellow, or Red code.
Those with Blue or Yeallow could take the left path, while those with Red had to take a right.
The line was further divided for those having Blue (left) and Yellow (right) codes.
Your Blue registration is checked and confirmed.
You are then given the health Card information and can proceed to immigration.
There were no lines in the immigration hall, as I was one of the first who exited the plane. Some agent training was ongoing, and they were looking at the maximum allowed period for my stay.
And off I was to the luggage carrousel.
Scoot is not as good for luggage delivery as Singapore Airlines, where priority bags always come off first. With Scoot, the first bags off were employees’.
I am not sure what is the benefit of the customs registration online when you then need to wait for one of the automated customs stations to become free to enter some of your information + scan your passport and then proceed to customs inspection; that is exactly like the one before (they have a look at your passport).
The entry experience in Sapporo was very smooth compared to what Sebastian experienced in Tokyo in late December and a friend of mine earlier this month.
I feel that the current health check process is overkill and likely unable to cope with a more significant number of incoming passengers than Japan is currently experiencing.