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Japan to reopen to independent travelers and lift daily arrival cap (japantimes.co.jp)
232 points by weissbier on Sept 22, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 100 comments

Please don't link to a newspaper's tweet when they have an actual story: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/09/23/national/kishid...

The headline, "Japan to reopen to independent travelers and lift daily arrival cap," is also a more relevant framing, in that the "visa-free" part is a return to the pre-pandemic status quo, not some novel customs policy as some other comments are interpreting it.

Ok, we'll changed to that from https://twitter.com/japantimes/status/1572962383252934656 above. Thanks!

To fellow American HN people.

Right now USD/JPY is around 145, and it was about 100 in 2020, which means almost 30% discount for everything! (Please note that CPI of Japan is not so high)

Come to Japan, and enjoy!

USD/JPY purchasing power ratio change between 2020 and 2022 is even better than 30% because Japanese inflation is so low: https://tradingeconomics.com/japan/inflation-cpi

That's amazing. It was around 100 in 2000.

This is very useful to say!

I travel a lot, other people often act like "its an efficient market" with the prices of things (groceries, consumer electronics, rent) when currencies are changing fast, but from my experience there is usually a 6-12 month delay in prices of a region changing.

It's good, but it kind of sucks for locals who are competing for things like property etc already.

I guess such is life? Japan, all hail your new USD bearing overlords.

yes, unfortunately. From USD perspective, Japanese salary got 30% cut, which is ridiculous. it gets even worse if you take surging US CPI into consideration!

Nowadays, I cannot imagine having a trip to the U.S.

… and it was below 77 in 2012, ten short years ago.

Any advice or resources for someone seriously considering this?

SevenEleven ATMs generally take foreign interac debit cards if you need cash (yen). Most places accept credit cards. When given the option on the debit card machine to pay in yen or convert to USD / CAD etc always choose yen, to avoid high conversion rates charged by the processor. Allow your credit card company to convert to your home currency at a much better rate. Get a Japan Rail pass. Pack lightly and hit a Uniqlo on arrival. Call hotels to book rather than using western-based online booking platforms whose prices are a lot higher, or use Jalan.net. Remember you’re a guest in a foreign country, stay humble and be polite, it’ll get you further. Seriously, get a Japan rail pass. Get an esim for your phone upon arrival using an app like Ubigi or similar (1 month with 10gb for ~$20). Be prepared for reverse culture shock when you return home.

A lot of this advice is out of date.

- Most bank ATMs in Japan now accept foreign cards.

- Credit card acceptance remains low by international standards, although things have improved a bit with the "cashless" drive. Carry cash (yen), you'll need it at many restaurants and even some hotels.

- Most rail companies now sell discounted advance fares and LCC airlines are competitive as well, so a Japan Rail Pass is no longer the no-brainer it used to be, although it's still a good deal if you plan to travel a lot by train (say, Tokyo-Hiroshima and back).

- Instead of calling hotels, which will be a struggle because they often won't speak much English, use Japanese booking sites like Rakuten or Jalan.net, which have thorough coverage, the best rates and functional English interfaces.

Have a read through https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Japan, it goes into too much detail at times but is a pretty good primer for all the things in Japan.

Sorry, but it’s not out of date. Based on very recent extensive travel and living there. But yes of course there are additional places to get cash (yubinkyoku etc) and various rail passes. The JR pass really is a nobrainer though.

The JR pass really is a nobrainer though.

I really recommend doing the math based on your particular itinerary. I've been to Japan twice, 14 days each time, and, at best, I would have broken even on a JR rail pass based on the traveling did. For longer trips, like Tokyo <-> Sapporo airplanes are both quicker and cheaper.

It's more for flexiblilty and peace of mind, with a all-you-can-ride ticket, you can book all itinerary/reserved-seat tickets(when available) right when you land, and have the flexibility to bail on any single train connection when you couldn't make it, either because of emergencies, or you just like the place you're visiting so much that you'd like to move your tour schedule around a bit.

And it's not like you have to get the pass for all region, there are dozens of types of regional jr passes depending on the region you're visiting. Those are the ones that's of better value when travelling in-region, and covers most touristy places. Personally I'd say tokyo-wide, kaisai, and hokkaido are the ones that's pretty no-brainer when in those regions.

Another factor, travelling on the Shinkansen is an experience in itself. JR pass maximises your chance of experiencing the bliss of high speed rail.

Mizuho, SMBC, Aeon, MUFJ ATMs all accept foreign cards these days. Inaka Ginko still probably won't though.

I've been to Japan tens of times for work, family and holiday reasons, and I've never found a use case where the JR pass would have paid off for me. Then again, I tend to fly in and stick with a single region; if you're doing the tourist trail thing where you're going (eg.) Tokyo-Kyoto-Himeji-Hiroshima-Tokyo in a straight line in one week, than sure, it makes sense.

This is all great and relevant advice! I have actually considering moving there, any tips with respect to that? For example could I, as a US citizen, work remotely for a US company while living in Japan indefinitely (not necessarily permanently, but at least as an option)?

Visas will be your challenge. Unless you’re married to a Japanese person, it will be hard for you to get a work visa without being employed by a Japanese company. Any way to try to get around that is gonna be a lot of work (and a bit of money too).

However, if you wanted to take a 1 year sabbatical, you could get a job as an engineer with a Japanese company, work for a year, apply for fast track permanent residency at the end of that year (you’ll need to meet some education/income requirements), then go back to your old job remotely. There are software jobs that hire people who don’t speak Japanese.

Basically no. But if your company has a Japanese branch and is willing to transfer you there, then maybe. But be aware that visiting Japan as a tourist vs living and working there are very different experiences, and plenty of expats burn out within a year. Visit first, maybe do the digital nomad thing for a bit.

Thanks for the advice, visiting first would be my approach, but just trying to gather info as much as I can.

>For example could I, as a US citizen, work remotely for a US company while living in Japan indefinitely (not necessarily permanently, but at least as an option)?


You must have a work visa to live here, and you won't get that unless a Japanese company sponsors your visa. A US company can't do that for obvious reasons, unless it's a company with a Japanese branch office.

The only way to do what you ask is to get permanent residence first, but that means living here for a while on a work visa or spouse visa.

Also, on top of this, the US company may have issues with you living outside the US while working for them, but that'll be the case for any other country. This was discussed within the last week or so here on HN.

I figured that might be the case, thank you for the information. I think I would struggle to adjust to the Japanese work culture in order to establish residence within these constraints.

I also pretty much exclusively have software experience in government contracting so the jump to commercial would be pretty big too.

>I think I would struggle to adjust to the Japanese work culture in order to establish residence within these constraints.

Or you can work at an American company like Google (not sure if they're still hiring though; I thought I read they had a company-wide hiring freeze).

Just out of curiosity, why are you considering moving to Japan?

I am not trying to discourage you, but if you really want to live in Japan, you have to learn Japanese, which is not an easy language to learn, especially for English speakers, even if you live in Tokyo.

edit: wording

There's lots of English speakers in Tokyo who never learn Japanese at a conversational level.

> Get a Japan Rail pass

I am going next month, the Japan Rail pass sounds like a big saving, can I also use Shinkansen trains with the Rail Pass? Specifically the Tokyo to Kyoto route (JR central)?

Look carefully at it; probably you won't be able to use the fastest trains with the JR pass.

Also, if you're just going to Kyoto from Tokyo, it really is not worth it to get the pass. Just buy regular tickets. The pass is useful if you're doing a lot of train travel in a short time.

The not-fastest shinkansen is still pretty fast, and plenty of people enjoy the train for the experience.

That's fine, but if you spend more money to go slower, that's just stupid. The point is that the pass is a really bad deal, or at best, break-even, unless you're traveling a long distance and within a short-ish timespan. Tokyo-Kyoto is not a long distance and isn't worth the pass at all.

You can use the Kodama (all stops) and the Hikari (limited express) with a JR Pass. You'd have to pay extra for the Nozomi (superexpress).

Just use your own bank card from a major US bank at ATMs, they dispense cash extremely close to spot rate, compared to converting at a currency exchange place.

In Tokyo, hit up harajuku and omotesando for awesome fashion. I'm really curious how well those boutiques have survived (around the world hasn't been pretty over the last year).

but aside from that, Tokyo is a day trip for me, the real cosmopolitan action is in Osaka.

The airlines frequently have extreme discounts on tourist flights - similar to rail passes you need to buy these before you arrive in Japan.

As everyone has mentioned, the trains in Japan are wonderful, but if you get a tourist rail pass you might consider taking a long flight for your first leg (eg. Haneda to Hokkaido or Kyushu), then firing up the rail pass when you finish there and meander your way back on the train.

As a footnote, the rail pass is also good for a large number of bus lines, ferries, etc, so don't assume that you will have to stay in city centers.

Road trip across Japan is quickly moving to the top of my bucket list? Has anyone done it? How was it? Must see stops?

I've traveled extensively in Japan and very highly recommend it.

I especially recommend a long walk in rural or small-town Japan. Perhaps the best one-day option is the Yamanobe Road


which is breathtaking. You pass ancient tombs, temples, and shrines -- you will have beautiful mountains to your east and even more beautiful small towns to your west. If you've seen My Neighbor Totoro, imagine that it was brought to life and you got to spend all day walking through it. It's fairly easy to get to from Nara, Osaka, or Kyoto.

If you have more time, the classic long-distance walk in Japan is the Henro-michi in Shikoku, aka the Shikoku pilgrimage.


I did it on foot over 58 days, and it was absolutely the experience of a lifetime. Even if you don't have two months, just a few days on the trail will showcase rural Japan at its most beautiful, and the Japanese people at their friendliest and most welcoming.

Oh -- and I've driven in Japan, but you'll probably want to get around by train instead, the mass transit is the best in the world.

Yeah, there really isn't a good reason to drive unless you really want to go somewhere that doesn't have a train station. There are not all too many such places.

I'd also add a suggestion of renting a bike and riding the shimanamikaido from Hiroshima to get to Shikoku. You can also take a ferry and then bike back one-way from Shikoku to Hiroshima if you want. When I did it (2010) they only had "real" road bikes available from the Shikoku side for some reason, so when I showed up on the Honshu side I settled for a hybrid-ish mama-chari. I happened to have good weather (some time in July), made short stops at random shops on the islands along the way, and stayed a business hotel in Imabari for a couple of days, then rode back. https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3478.html

That trip started with attempting to walk to Nagoya to Osaka, but I only made it 50 miles before giving up and taking the train the rest of the way, because I tried to save some money and bought junk shoes that wrecked my feet. This was of course when the exchange rate was 78 yen per dollar, rather than 150 ;) That was really frustrating since it was only a few months after I ran the Tokyo Marathon, and I figured I could handle any kind of foot pain by then. Nope, don't compromise on shoes when you're thinking about trying to walk 30 miles a day.

Thanks for sharing. I did (hitchhiking/walking/bus) part of the Kumanokodo over a couple of weeks back in uni. Truly awesome experiences. Mt Koya (easily accessable by public transport from Osaka/Kyoto) is a real power spot for me.



Those two rural/small town walks you mentioned: can they be accessed without driving?

Yes. The Yamanobe Road is easier to get to, the endpoints are each close to train stations (Tenri on the north end, Sakurai on the south). These are well connected to Nara and Osaka. Alternatively, you can start at Sakurai and walk all the way north to Nara (about 30 km).

The henro-michi is harder to get to, because Shikoku in general is harder to get to. If coming from Kobe or Osaka, you'll probably want to take a bus to Naruto, Tokushima, or Takamatsu. (Naruto if you're starting from the beginning.) A bit more of a schlep, but still not bad.

If doing these walks, then not driving is a big advantage -- because you don't have to worry about where you parked your car! In particular, you don't need to end at the same place you began.

If anyone here decides to do henro, message me as we live on the path (Tokushima).

I would recommend you give https://www.youtube.com/c/AbroadinJapan a watch. Chris has been all over every Japanese prefecture multiple times, and he usually records places that aren't the kind of places you'd see on a quick Google Search or trip advisor.

He has biked across Japan in his season 1 of Journey Across Japan, he showcases all kinds of hotels, capsule hotels, Ryokans (Japanese inns), etc, in every video. It's just a great way to learn about Japan, it's culture, food, what dos and don'ts.

Kind of like a more modern Alan Booth? I read both The Roads to Sata and Looking for the Lost and they both really resonated with me. They're both travelog(ue)s. The Roads to Sata chronicled a complete 2000 mile north-south walk across the country. Looking for the Lost was more focused on specific regions. I enjoyed both books.

One thing that's strange to me, having been all over the country myself (including Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Okinawa) and living in Aichi for a year, is that I only saw a wild small mammal once. Even that one time, I wasn't sure if I actually saw it, because it vanished before I got a good glimpse of it. I know there are squirrels somewhere- there's a native word for squirrel- but I've never seen them. Being from the northeast US, the concept that a location with a temperate climate lacking in abundant squirrels could exist seemed absurd. On my next trip to Japan, I will dedicate some portion to seeking out native squirrels.

Of course in Japan there are also a few places known for wild monkeys that like to hang out hot springs, but I haven't seen them in person either.

I did see a guy with his girlfriend hanging out on a mountain pass in a wrecked "panda trueno" that was being loaded on a flatbed when I was hiking once. I hadn't brought my real camera that day, and I deeply regretted it since my flip phone only had a VGA camera.

Edit: for some reason I'd interpreted the question as being about cycling. Leaving in case it's useful for cyclists or motorcyclists.

I've done a lot of cycling across various bits of Japan, from shorter day trips on the order of 150km to longer 1000km+ trips. One thing to keep in mind for visiting cyclists on longer road trips: this may seem obvious but Japan is very mountainous which means a lot of narrow roads with little/no shoulder, and long (sometimes multi-kilometre) tunnels. Fortunately drivers are in general, very considerate and careful around cyclists.

For shorter day trips, many large rivers/lakes in Japan have cycling/walking paths along one or both sides and make for really nice riding. In Tokyo, the Tamagawa or in Kyoto Kamogawa and Katsuragawa have paths. Lake Biwa has a really nice cycling trail as well.

One of my favourite longer routes was along the north coast of Japan between Tsuruga and the north end of Fukui. The mountain pass along no. 8 through Takefu has some nice views but a lot of climbing and tunnels. For something shorter but pretty, follow the Tamagawa from Tokyo up to Lake Okutama. As someone else mentioned, I find travelling in rural Japan a lot nicer than cycling in/near big cities.

How easy it is to bring bikes on trains or public transit?

If you have a compact one that fits in a bag, you can bring it fine on most intercity trains (though ideally you'd want to check before with the particular line). In local transit it's mostly frowned upon, especially in denser urban areas and busy lines. But you can usually always find some form of accommodation accessible by bike along the route, wherever you're going.

Folding bikes are much more common there, which helps a bit. You can go to a bike shop or a used-stuff-store ("recycle shop") and pick one up for $100-ish. Not going to be "nice" at that price, but it'll be functional.

You have to disassemble it (take the wheels off mainly) and put it into a bike bag.

Train trips mostly fit Japan better, and it's more relaxing.

Kyoto is an amazing place, Tokyo is a must, and Mount Fuji is quite nice. I've heard Osaka is cool, but I've never been. Beyond that, specifics depend on what you're into.

My favorite bits were generally the food, temples, museums, onsen and just wandering around shopping districts and taking it all in.

Also, Japan has fairly high road tolls, so driving adds up fast. And there's not really free street parking either.

Travelling by train kinda becomes boring after a while, hence I'll go for a car next time.

I do it from time to time. I like just taking back roads and exploring the countryside and nature. Lots of cultural heritage all over. I'd recommend spring or fall (summer if you stay north/mountains or are a really hot person; winter if you're into snow or stay south).

I don't think there's any particular location you need to go or see if you're road-tripping - but where you go depends on the activities and vibe you like, I guess. The main divide would be mountain/ocean/city. Unless you have particular needs, I'd recommend staying at local ryokans (inns) or guest houses rather than major hotels, especially chains. Same for restaurants.

Cherry blossom in spring and red leafs in fall are great with pleasant climate, but also attracts big crowds and crowded roads. Summer sees lots of matsuri (traditional festivals) and fireworks. NYE's a dozo. If you can, avoid typhoon season in typhoon areas, obv. Kyushu was just hit pretty bad.

Also if you're into that kind of stuff, from late spring to early fall there are a lot of small outdoor 1-3 day music events happening in random places, some of which are great for camping. The stereotype that Japanese people tend to get really dedicated to whatever they're doing has a seed of truth I think, and the same holds for "party people" ;)

(Part of me is hesitant writing all this as I selfishly have really appreciated all the quiet and serenity during the pandemic. But honestly, the local economy really needs some tourism. Please come. Local businesses are struggling really hard. But please do respect the peace and do a quick refresher on local customs pre-arrival ^^)

And HMU if you ever come by the Yamanashi side of Mt Fuji; we have some deservedly famous spots here and if I'm free I'm happy to meet :)

I did a one month vinyl record shopping trip in Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo a few years ago by train.

Hiroshima was my favourite city. Considering what happened there, it had a really peaceful vibe and the city rebuild in the affected areas is great.

I think Japan is my favourite country for road trips. So many stunning mountain and costal roads. And hotels and restaurants in rural areas often have amazing food. However, gasoline and toll roads are both quite expensive so that might be a consideration. I mostly avoid cities (if I want to go a city, I’ll go by train) so if you want to do that beware that parking can be a pain (and expensive).

Ryokan in Kyoto is a must. Also, if you spend enough time - don't just do Shinkansen all the time. It gets boring pretty quick as you are moving from one big city to another. Rent a car for some time too!

Shinkansen all the time must get expensive!

Nothing wrong with the normal train lines though.

The Japan Rail Pass for those on tourist visas/entry stamps is a sweet deal that I take advantage of whenever I travel to Japan and visit different regions. It allows you virtually unlimited access to the Shinkansen and other routes operated by the various Japan Railways companies (such as Tokyo's Yamanote Line and the Narita Express) for 7, 14, or 21 days, beginning on the date that the pass is activated. I say "virtually unlimited" because there are some restrictions, such as not being able to take the fastest version of the Shinkansen that has limited stops between Tokyo and Osaka; instead you're restricted to the Shinkansen schedules that make more stops (it's still very fast even when stopping at every Shinkansen station, though). I don't know what the prices are like today (it's been five years since the last time I purchased a Japan Rail Pass), but in the past the cost of the seven-day pass was comparable to the round-trip Shinkansen fare between Tokyo and Osaka. It was a fantastic deal for somebody traveling often between different regions of Japan.

I heard they lifted a lot of the restrictions on the pass

Define "across" Japan. North/South or East/West?

I did Kanazawa to Tokyo some years ago, fun trip.

If you get to hiroshima, visit okinomimura.

What's your favorite snowy mountain onsen in Japan? Thinking of going to meditate for ten days for New Years.

This is awesome! Me and a few friends were planning a trip, but their old policy was really confusing and I couldn't find good guidance on it, most of it contradictory. Hopefully they see a big boost, I imagine their hospitality sectors got hammered.

Does this mean tourists don't need a visa for Japan anymore? Including people with traditionally "weaker" passports like Uganda, India, etc.? The article linked elsewhere in the comments is not clear on this.

Probably not. It sounds like they are lifting COVID era restrictions on travel (you could only do pre-arranged tours with strict itineraries)

Probably not. So far, after COVID, Japan is “open” but only if you go as part of a tour group. You can’t just land and get visa-free entry to go backpacking around. It sounds like that’s what’s changing.

If a passport allowed visa-free entry pre-pandemic, this change allows that again. Otherwise you will have to apply for a visa.

I wonder to what extent this reflects desperation for foreign currency (especially dollars) given the recent intervention by BoJ to stop the yen's freefall.


My guess is that this would be a drop in the bucket, but who knows?

Can’t find the link at the moment, but some economists in Japan think it would have a real impact. Tourism has been a major industry for Japan in the last decade, and all those tourists buy up lots of yen for their trips.

Japanese economists are at least hopeful it will help: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2022/09/18/business/japane...

I haven't been following this.

This is very interesting considering most Japanese economic policy has been an attempt to reverse deflation or stagnation. Now it's inflating too fast?

It's nuanced. Consumer prices (with some exceptions, like gas and raw produce) and worker wages have barely moved at all. It's eerie.

It makes me sad to think about that a lot of service staff is already living tight on eq ~7 USD/h pay and very likely cost-of-living will continue to increase sharper than any pay increase. There's a large poverty in Japan you don't necessarily see on the surface.

This reminded me to check on Canada as I periodically do, and it looks like they also just made a related announcement today: they're ending vaccine requirements for the border at the end of the month: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/government-lifting-pandemic...

I've previously been misdirected here, since they have different rules for vacationers vs business travelers or something like that. But, this sounds like a blanket lift of restrictions.

Btw, cool concept: https://itsnotgov.org, hope it grows over time.

Heh, wow! Thanks. Haven't touched it in a good while but I may again at some point.

This will make a day layover for a trip much simpler !

Japan HN meet-up?

I'm up for it. Experienced traveller to Japan, thinking of Shikoku for the coming trip.

What's the catch? Can anyone visit Japan without a visa? People of any country?

To be technically accurate, to my knowledge it's impossible to enter Japan from any country without a visa. However, if you come from certain countries (basically any western country, plus various others), they will automatically give you a 90-day tourist visa when you land, so it's effectively "visa free". Otherwise, you have to apply for a visa and get that in your passport before you arrive.

It's only a return to the previous norm.

"On Sept. 7, the government allowed those on nonguided tours who had booked their flights and hotels through registered travel agencies." ← is the "through registered travel agencies" portion dropped now as well? I couldn't discern that from the article.

Yes, independent travel will be allowed again.

No just the countries that previously didn't need a visa.

Even if you don't need visa they can always ask for proof of funds, so nothing for budget backpackers.

Personally I don't support countries which locked people outside under some false pretense of protecting anyone as Australia, NZ, Canada or Japan is doing and LATE reversal on such policy is even more reassuring me to not visit (out of those 4, only Japan is a bit interesting for me and worth visiting (as someone who lived for years in Eastern Asia)).

If you didn't fully open by spring 2022 for everyone, then you don't deserve my money and can wait at least 1-2 extra years before I even consider spending money, since you didn't rush I won't rush either.

Same reason I didn't even consider this year holidays in Spain (maybe not one specific harsh restriction but overal sum with locking children inside, wearing mask outdoors and other nonsense), Italy (work ban for unvaxxed takes the gold) or Greece (fines for unvaxxed seniors takes the gold) this summer in Europe, because of what they did to own citizens.

Personally, I’m thankful that they’ve locked down as long as they have. We’ve already had our share of death, long Covid cases and stress on our public health system. Simultaneously, people are generally free to choose whether or not they want or be vaccinated, and there are no heavy handed lockdowns like many other countries. It’s inevitable that Covid will still spread even with our best efforts, but not overwhelming hospitals and avoiding needless death and disability is very important. I think that Japan‘s response to this ongoing crisis is not perfect, but well balanced overall.

When tourists do return, I hope they respect the norms here and wear masks in public spaces, disinfect their hands, and do their best to avoid risky situations… and don’t act like Japan is a giant theme park where Covid doesn’t exist.

I'm fully expecting them to reverse this decision a few weeks in when their COVID cases shoot up again. Is it just me?

I really want to travel to Japan again though. I have friends there and I also miss the country in general.

Nooooooooooo, I was about to go to Japan this November, using my iPhone 14 Pro to take pictures of Japan with less tourists...............

With special privilege that’s not available for regular tourist of course.

Yeah all of those pesky tourists always taking pictures with their iPhone 14 Pros, oh wait...

Loooll, thankfully I am not your average tourist.

Feels like everyone thinks they're not the average tourist. Ok well the average tourist is really the tour bus, get off, take photos, back on the bus kind. But are you the average "not-average tourist" ;)

I mean as in I could get special visa.

So in your mind it's not your behavior that sets you apart as a tourist, but your ability to get a special visa?

Personally, someone going with the main purpose to take photos of a place is the most touristy of tourists.

Even when I visit a place like Japan for 3 months, I barely take photos because it takes you out of it and you get in the way.

Take enough photos to capture key memories and places but mainly enjoy the actual adventure.

To not be a tourist in my mind you should be living there, not trying to document it.

But to each their own how they want to live, I just wanted to rant on your rant.

It's probably some pretentious kid that think they are special just because they are wasting their parent's money with an iPhone 14 Pro.

They will soon learn that nobody cares.

Doubtful they were even considered going to Japan, they just wanted to brag about a piece of hardware.

Not sure what kind of "special visa" they thought they could get... To come here right now (before this change takes effect) you need to be a permanent resident, have a work visa, or be a close family member (i.e. parent/child, not sibling) of someone who lives here. Or be a tourist with one of those tourist groups of course.

Americans coming here with iPhone 14 Pro phones aren't going to have a good time: the easy and cheap way to get cellular data here is to buy a tourist 30-day SIM card at 7-11 or the airport and put that in your phone. But the 14 Pro (US model) doesn't have a SIM slot. But that's OK: anyone with a 14 Pro should be perfectly happy to just keep their regular US phone service while overseas, and pay exorbitant roaming charges. If you look at forums discussing this issue, this is exactly what the Apple fans advocate, and that you're being cheap if you waste time on foreign SIM cards to save money.

I've always bought grey market Samsung phones for that reason - they are the same spec as the local variants but with dual physical SIM enabled.

Generally a mobile wifi hotspot will do.

Airbnb's usually provide one.

something something tragedy of the commons

yeah thankfully I am asocial.

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