One of the slowest countries to reopen, Japan is now letting in visitors—under a few conditions. You’ll need to come with an approved tour group and keep your mask on, but for the first time in two years, foreign tourists can travel to the island country.

For the first time in two years, Japan has provisionally opened its borders to foreign tourism. And only about 1,500 hundred people showed up. 

That’s not even five percent of pre-pandemic rates. In 2019 and the years leading up to it, foreign travelers had been visiting Japan in droves. That year, 31.9 million people came to experience the island country’s sushi, onsen (hot springs), and unique history and culture before the world entered lockdown. 

Tourism had been on an upward trajectory too, increasing steadily over the course of the decade. And right now, with the yen weaker against the dollar than it has been in years, the usually-expensive country is relatively affordable to visit (if you don’t factor in the high cost of airfare)—so you’d think it’d be an ideal time for a trip to Japan.

But now, foreign entries—including those traveling for work or school—are capped at 20,000 a day. And there are other rules. Tourists are only allowed from 98 countries that have been deemed to be at low risk for spreading infection, and travelers must apply for a visa at a Japanese consulate (no more picking up a tourist visa at customs). You must have private insurance for COVID-19, be part of an approved guided tour group, and wear face coverings indoors and on public transportation.