HOME Understanding Japan's Go To Travel Campaign: How Does it Work? When Will It Restart? (Updated Oct 2021)
Understanding Japan's Go To Travel Campaign: How Does it Work? When Will It Restart? (Updated Oct 2021)

Understanding Japan's Go To Travel Campaign: How Does it Work? When Will It Restart? (Updated Oct 2021)

Date published: 8 October 2020
Last updated: 9 November 2021

The Go To Travel campaign started on July 22, 2020, but was soon suspended nationwide in the same year on December 28. Despite this, and with the state of emergency and priority preventative measures being lifted on September 30, 2021, there are hopes that the campaign will soon return.

What is the Go To Travel campaign? When exactly will it restart? Will there be any changes made? What is the Vaccination and Test Package? Many people are still curious about what this campaign entails.

With this being the case, this article will answer some of the most commonly-asked questions!


*The return of the Go To Travel campaign is still undetermined as of October 15, 2021.
*This article was written based on the information available as of October 15, 2021.

Table of Contents
  1. What is the Go To Travel campaign?
  2. What are the Regional Travel Vouchers?
  3. How many people used Go To Travel last year?
  4. When will it return and what is Go To 2.0?
  5. What is the Vaccination and Test Package for Go To 2.0?
  6. Can’t wait to travel? About prefectural discounts and post-travel discounts
  7. Covid-19 vaccination rates and confirmed cases as of November 2021
  8. Recommended places to stay in Tokyo

What is the Go To Travel campaign?

What is the Go To Travel campaign?
Photo: PIXTA

Go To Travel is a Japanese government subsidy initiated to restore travel demand and promote sightseeing throughout various regions in Japan.

The first phase of this campaign took place from July 22, 2020 until September 1, 2020 (travel subsidies for both dates were included). The second phase, which began October 1, created quite the buzz by adding Tokyo to its list of regions you could visit.

However, due to the spread of Covid-19, the campaign was quickly suspended nationwide on December 28, 2020. Currently, as of October 2021, the details of this campaign are being reviewed so that it can be reintroduced.

To start, let’s take a look at the Go To Travel campaign that took place last year! The new campaign will be based on the previous one, so it’s good to know what was offered.

Subsidy: Half of the accommodations or day trip costs for domestic trips (including tour groups), 70% of which is a straight discount for trip costs and 30% in the form of general vouchers to be used at the destination.

Subsidy cap: Capped at 20,000 yen per person per night's stay. For day trips, the cap is 10,000 yen per trip.

Usage limits: No limits to the number of usage times or amount of consecutive days. For example, if your trip includes a 2-night stay, the cap will be 20,000 yen x 2 nights = 40,000 yen.

Applicable travel products:
・Trips with overnight stays
(1) Accommodations + transportation
(2) Accommodations only
(3) Quasi-accommodations such as cruise ships, night ferries, or sleeper trains (excluding tickets considered seats-only)

・Day trips
Round trip transportation + food or sightseeing costs at the destination

Applicable persons: Residents of Japan, including service members and other foreigners residing in Japan.

What are the Regional Travel Vouchers?

What are the Regional Travel Vouchers?
Photo: PIXTA

Last year, 30% of the subsidy was given out in the form of regional travel vouchers. Let’s take a look at where and how you could use this voucher.

Voucher Amount: 30% of subsidy, or 15% of total travel costs, rounded off to the nearest thousand yen. For example, if the amount is 500 yen or above, you'll be issued a 1,000 yen voucher.

Usage Period: Only during the period you travel.

Usage Areas: Your destination prefecture and city + adjacent prefectures and cities.

Applicable shops: Shops and facilities registered with the Go To Travel Bureau (souvenir shops, eateries, sightseeing facilities, taxi or transport services, rental cars, etc.)

Voucher types: Depending on the destination, there are either paper or digital vouchers. (In general, paper vouchers are given out if you purchase your trip through travel companies with retail stores or reserve a room at an accommodation facility. If you make your reservation online, the type of vouchers you receive will depend on the service provider you made the reservation with.

How many people used Go To Travel last year?

How many people used Go To Travel last year?
Photo: PIXTA

According to the Japan Tourism Agency, there have been at least 87.8 million guest nights from July 22, 2020 to December 28, 2020.

What’s more, the subsidy offered during this period is said to come to a total of at least 539.9 billion yen. Taking a closer look at the subsidy, the amount of discounts provided came to a total of 408.2 billion yen for accommodation and travel expenses and 131.7 billion yen in travel vouchers.

A rough estimate of travel costs for a single person is said to be approximately 13,282 yen. Therefore, if a trip cost around 13,000 yen, you could get a 4,600 yen discount. This is a significant amount of your travel expenses and seems like a great deal!

On the other hand, some people called attention to the fact that small to medium-sized Japanese inns, as well as other businesses, didn’t benefit from the original campaign. With this being the case, the government is leaning towards raising the subsidy rate for such facilities.

When will it return and what is Go To 2.0?

When will it return and what is Go To 2.0?
Photo: PIXTA

Since last year’s Go To Travel campaign was said to be one of the causes for Covid-19 spreading, it has undergone much review and examination. As a result, there has been talk of a newly revamped version of the campaign called Go To 2.0.

Currently, the following measures are planned to be added:
1. Vaccination and Test Package (Please see below for more information.) Once shown, you can receive perks such as discounts during your trip.
2. Digitizing regional vouchers to avoid direct contact with others.

As for what the discount percentages might look like in Go To 2.0, which might be one of the biggest questions, there are discussions on raising the rate on weekdays to correct for the disparity in usage between weekdays and holidays. There is also a discussion about increasing the discount rate for travel to disaster-stricken areas.

The return of the Go To Travel campaign is still undetermined as of October 15, 2021.

What is the Vaccination and Test Package for Go To 2.0?

What is the Vaccination and Test Package for Go To 2.0?
Photo: PIXTA

The Vaccination and Test Package was made so that life could slowly return to normal by getting the Covid-19 vaccine and taking regular tests. With this package, limitations made to prevent the spread of the virus can be mitigated by checking either your vaccination record or your Covid-19 test result.

In hopes of restarting the Go To Travel campaign, an investigation of the environmental improvements made by the Vaccination and Test Package has been conducted since October 8, 2021.

Part of the investigation process includes checking the Covid-19 situation and people’s state of health at accommodation facilities where people show their vaccination record, and looking to see if any other issues need to be fixed.

Furthermore, the Vaccination and Test Package can also be used to mitigate measures you need to take when dining out. For example, with this package, parties larger than five can dine together, or events can be held at their full capacity.

With these being some of the leading examples, there seems to be a focus on lessening restrictions everywhere.

Can’t wait to travel? About prefectural discounts and post-travel discounts

Can’t wait to travel? About prefectural discounts and post-travel discounts
Photo: PIXTA

At present, while people wait for the Go To Travel campaign to restart, the usage of prefectural discounts (supported by regional tourism businesses) is recommended.

Prefectures that are less than stage two are giving out vouchers you can use during your travels. In these specified regions, you will be able to use the vouchers for travel products and accommodation services.

The government will subsidize 5,000 yen, and you might be able to receive even more of a discount depending on the municipality.

As of October 18, 2021, 28 out of the 42 prefectures passed a government screening and are now implementing this new program. Discounts may differ depending on which prefecture you live in, so please be sure to check each official website.

To add to this, travel companies are considering offering post-reservation discounts to those who have already made reservations or will make reservations for their travels before the Go To Travel campaign restarts.

With this discount, a certain price will be deducted from your already made reservations once the Go To Travel campaign is initiated.

Covid-19 vaccination rates and confirmed cases as of November 2021

Covid-19 vaccination rates and confirmed cases as of November 2021
Photo: PIXTA

Regarding vaccination rates for Covid-19, 73.7% of the entire population of Japan has gotten their second shot (as of November 8, 2021 - according to the Prime Minister's Office of Japan).

Although Japan has had a slow start compared to the rest of the world, as of November 8, 2021, it ranks 6th for the highest vaccination rates worldwide. Getting the vaccine is not mandatory, but the government hopes that anyone who chooses to will be able to get their final shots during the period of October to November.

The government has been working towards restarting the new Go To 2.0 by creating a revamped campaign. An example of this is adding the Vaccination and Test Package to make people feel more at ease.

Even with the start of the new campaign, please make sure to implement countermeasures against Covid-19 daily!

Recommended places to stay in Tokyo

Planning to travel around Tokyo? Book an evening at one of these popular places to stay!

  • Shinagawa Prince Hotel
    • Address Minato-ku, Takanawa 4-10-30, Tokyo-to, 108-8611
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Shinagawa Station (Tokaido Shinkansen Line / JR Tokaido Main Line / JR Yokosuka Line / JR Keihin-Tohoku Line / JR Yamanote Line / JR Ueno Tokyo Line / Keikyu Main Line)
      10 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

  • Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu
    • Address Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-31-11, Tokyo-to, 111-0032
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Asakusa Station (Tsukuba Express / Oito Line)
      6 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

*Unless indicated otherwise, this article is based on information available as of October 15, 2021.
*The images shown are for illustration purposes.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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