Japan reopens to tourists - but with strict rules

Neasa Ronayne plans to visit Japan for the first time this year.

She has paid more than £3,500 ($4,390) for a 16-day tour, as under the country's Covid-19 restrictions she is not allowed to roam around on her own.

But Ms Ronayne, who lives in the UK, is still keen to make the trip.

"This will be my first time in Japan and also my first time in Asia. I am looking forward to it. I have been watching [Japanese reality TV show] Terrace House to learn some phrases," she said.

She is not alone. Several travel agencies have told the BBC they were seeing a jump in inquiries about holidays to Japan - although the country's strict regulations are still keeping some visitors away.

Japan has been largely closed to foreign visitors since 2020, as it implemented some of the world's toughest Covid-19 restrictions. And even now, as it opens its borders to tourists from nearly 100 countries and regions on Friday, it is putting new restrictions in place.

This includes the requirement for travellers to be part of a package tour. They must also buy medical insurance and wear masks in all public places, including outside.

Under the rules, tourists will also have to avoid the so-called "three Cs": closed spaces, crowded places and close contact settings.