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Japan Vaccine Requirements | Do I need a vaccine to travel to Japan?

Please note

Since April 29th, 2023, travelers to Japan will no longer need to present a vaccination certificate or a pre-departure test.

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Do I need a COVID-19 vaccine before traveling to Japan?

No, presenting a vaccination certificate or a pre-departure test is no longer needed.

Must I quarantine upon arrival in Japan?

No, quarantine is not necessary. You're free to explore the country once you arrive.

Do I have to do a pre-arrival PCR test to visit Japan?

No, presenting a vaccination certificate or a pre-departure test is no longer necessary.

Do I need other vaccinations to travel to Japan?

You can check the most recent health requirements for Japan here.

Do I need to fill out a Japan Health Declaration?

No, a health declaration is not required anymore to travel to Japan. However, you may still need a Japan Tourist Visa, depending on your nationality.

Check your eligibility and get your Japan Tourist Visa now!

iVisa recommends

Are you dreaming about Japan? Visit Mount Fuji and enjoy the magnificent natural landscape! The peak rises to 3,776 meters above sea level; you can even see it from Tokyo, located 100 kilometers away.

The mountain is part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park and has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. Nothing compares to seeing the sunrise from the summit. Most climbers start the adventure at the fifth station, which will take around six hours to hike up.

The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is another famous landmark in Japan. The 17th-century building is a magnificent testimony of the Japanese Royal family. Check out the East Higashi-Gyoen Garden or go to the Nijubashi Bridge, a romantic spot for couples.

Additionally, you can explore the Ginza shopping district to shop till you drop. At the Kabuki-za Theatre, you can see some of the best art performances in the country.

Before traveling, don't forget to apply for the Japan Tourist Visa . Enjoy your trip!

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  • iVisa is NOT affiliated with any government agency. This app does not provide legal advice and we are not a law firm. None of our customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. We are a private, internet-based travel and immigration consultancy provider dedicated to helping individuals travel around the world. You may apply by yourself directly on the various government websites. The source of information: https://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html

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  • Immigration Information
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Information Regarding Travel from/to Japan and Other Countries

Immigration restrictions and quarantine regulations in each country and region are subject to change at any time. Passengers are kindly requested to check the latest information on the websites of government bodies, agencies, etc. at their destination and transit points.

Entry Conditions and Quarantine Restrictions for Each Country

Once you have specified search conditions, you can check the travel restrictions and required documents for each country. You will be redirected to the (external) Sherpa site, where you travel requirements will be consolidated. Please use the website in accordance with its terms and conditions. The information published on Sherpa may not always be the most up-to-date and the language used may always not be the most appropriate. Before departure, please ensure you check the latest information from the embassy, consulate and health-related organizations for your passport country (nationality) and your destination.

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  • Enter the name of the country (or city) for point of departure/destination.

Entry conditions and quarantine measures in each country are updated daily. You may not be permitted to enter a country or you may be denied boarding if your travel documents are incomplete.

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Covid-19 vaccination certificates valid for entry into japan from abroad.

In applying measures based on New Border Measures (28) (May 20, 2022), COVID-19 vaccination certificates recognized as valid since July 31, 2022, in principle, fall under any of the categories 1. or 2. below.

  • (1) COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued by either the Government of Japan or a local public authority/municipality in Japan (The COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate for overseas travel)
  • (2) Documents to prove vaccination for COVID-19 issued by a local public authority/municipality in Japan
  • (3) Records of Vaccination for COVID-19 issued by medical institutions in Japan
  • (Note 1) COVID-19 vaccination certificates written in languages other than Japanese or English are considered as valid if the translation (Japanese/English) is attached and all the items are clearly identifiable.
  • (Note 2) Mix-and-match vaccines are also considered as valid.
  • (Note 3) In applying measures based on New Border Measures (28), COMIRNATY manufactured by Fosun Pharma / BioNTech and Covishield / COVOVAX manufactured by the Serum Institute of India are treated as identical to COMIRNATY, Intramuscular injection / Pfizer and Vaxzevria, Intramuscular injection / AstraZeneca, Nuvaxovid, Intramuscular injection / Novavax respectively.
  • (Note 4) In applying measures based on New border measures (28), COMIRNATY manufactured by Fosun Pharma / BioNTech and Covishield / COVOVAX manufactured by the Serum Institute of India are treated as identical to COMIRNATY, Intramuscular injection / Pfizer and Vaxzevria, Intramuscular injection / AstraZeneca, Nuvaxovid, Intramuscular injection / Novavax respectively.
  • (3) The certificate should be issued by an official body, such as a government.

Related Links

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Japan Travel Restrictions

Traveller's COVID-19 vaccination status

Travelling from Australia to Japan

Open for vaccinated visitors

COVID-19 testing

Not required

Not required for vaccinated visitors

Restaurants

Recommended in public spaces.

Documents & Additional resources

Ready to travel, find flights to japan, find stays in japan, explore more countries on travel restrictions map, destinations you can travel to now, netherlands, new zealand, philippines, south korea, united arab emirates, united kingdom, united states, know when to go.

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Can I travel to Japan from Australia?

Most visitors from Australia, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Japan.

Can I travel to Japan if I am vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated visitors from Australia can enter Japan without restrictions.

Can I travel to Japan without being vaccinated?

Unvaccinated visitors from Australia can enter Japan without restrictions.

Do I need a COVID test to enter Japan?

Visitors from Australia are not required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen result upon entering Japan.

Can I travel to Japan without quarantine?

Travellers from Australia are not required to quarantine.

Do I need to wear a mask in Japan?

Mask usage in Japan is recommended in public spaces.

Are the restaurants and bars open in Japan?

Restaurants in Japan are open. Bars in Japan are .

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U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Japan

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Location: Japan

UPDATED TRAVEL INFORMATION FOR JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

NEW QUARANTINE POLICY FOR U.S. BUSINESS TRAVELERS TO JAPAN

The Government of Japan has announced that as of November 8, 2021, fully vaccinated business travelers may be able to travel to Japan and will be eligible for a reduced, three-day quarantine period. Currently recognized vaccines in Japan include Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. Details of the new policy are likely to change with little notice. Travelers who believe they are eligible to travel under the new policy should contact the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for additional information.

This policy does not apply to those non-residents seeking to travel for tourism, family visitation, or other non-business purposes.

Before applying for a short-term business visa, each traveler will need to secure a “Responsible Stakeholder” to sponsor them while in Japan. The “Responsible Stakeholder” first must seek approval from the relevant Japanese ministry . Following ministry approval, the “Responsible Stakeholder” will communicate directly with the traveler in order to proceed with applying for a business-related visa.

Once a short-term business visa has been issued, business travelers will be required to:

  • Conduct pre-travel COVID testing using methods approved by MOFA and MHLW
  • Provide proof of vaccination upon entry into Japan
  • Complete COVID-19 testing at the airport
  • Comply with all entry requirements
  • Provide proof of medical insurance while in Japan, sponsorship documents, a written pledge, and an approved activity plan
  • Self-quarantine for three days in a hotel or private residence, and
  • Complete additional COVID-19 testing after day three

Once test results are verified, immigration authorities will authorize travelers to proceed with their pre-approved travel plans. Additional details are posted (in Japanese) on the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare’s website . Travelers will be required to keep copies of vaccination records with them.

Details on what types of activities are allowed after Day Four, including what types of transportation is allowed, and what to do if you feel ill are available (in Japanese) on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website .

UPDATED TRAVEL POLICY FOR RETURNING RESIDENTS RE-ENTERING JAPAN AFTER BUSINESS TRAVEL

Fully vaccinated Japanese citizens and foreign residents of Japan who are re-entering Japan after business-related travel will be eligible for a reduced, three-day quarantine period. Details are posted (in Japanese) on the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare’s website .

UPDATED TRAVEL POLICY FOR STUDENTS, TECHNICAL TRAINEES, AND OTHERS ENTERING JAPAN

Under Japan’s new policy, as of November 8, 2021, foreign students, technical trainees , and certain new long-term residents may be allowed to enter Japan.

Like business travelers, the sponsoring “Responsible Stakeholder” will seek approval from the relevant ministry. Following ministry approval, the “Responsible Stakeholder” will communicate directly with the traveler to proceed with applying for the appropriate visa. Travelers who believe they may be eligible under the updated policy should contact their school or sponsoring organization directly for additional information. Travelers will be required to comply with all testing and quarantine requirements.

NEW VACCINE AND TESTING REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES

Effective November 8, all non-citizen, nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) airline passengers traveling to the United States must demonstrate proof of vaccination as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Order prior to boarding a U.S. bound aircraft. More details regarding what constitutes full vaccination are available on this page of the CDC website.

Fully vaccinated travelers will continue to be required to show a pre-departure negative test taken within three days of travel to the United States prior to boarding. This applies to all travelers – U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (LPRs), and foreign nationals. To further strengthen protections, unvaccinated travelers – whether U.S. citizens, LPRs, or the small number of excepted unvaccinated foreign nationals – will now need to test within one day of departure.

TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES: CHILDREN BETWEEN THE AGES OF 2 AND 17

U.S. citizen and LPR children between the ages of two and 17 may board a flight to the United States with a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test conducted on a specimen collected no more than three days before departure if traveling accompanied by fully vaccinated parents or guardians.

If traveling unaccompanied or if one or more of the parents or guardians accompanying the child is not fully vaccinated, the child must present a negative pre-departure COVID-19 viral test on a specimen collected no more than one day before departure.

TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES: CHILDREN UNDER 2 YEARS OF AGE

While children under two years of age are not required to get a test, CDC recommends a pre-departure test for these children whenever possible.

Additional information may be found on CDC’s website .

Passengers will need to show their vaccination status, and airlines will need to:

  • Match the name and date of birth to confirm the passenger is the same person reflected on the proof of vaccination.
  • Determine that the record was issued by an official source (e.g., public health agency, government agency) in the country where the vaccine was given.
  • Review the essential information for determining if the passenger meets CDC’s definition for fully vaccinated such as vaccine product, number of vaccine doses received, date(s) of administration, site (e.g., vaccination clinic, healthcare facility) of vaccination.
  • Deny boarding to passengers who do not meet these requirements or those who test positive for COVID-19.

For additional information or if you have specific questions, please contact your airline and visit the CDC’s website .

ACTIONS TO TAKE:

  • Monitor the CDC website for the latest guidance regarding testing requirements.
  • Check with your air carriers or travel representative prior to departure for the United States.
  • Check COVID-19 Country Specific Information pages for updated information on COVID-19 related to the availability of testing.
  • Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.
  • Click here for our Travel to the U.S. FAQs.

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State Department – Consular Affairs 888-407-4747

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The latest Department of State travel updates and guidance on travel.state.gov .

  • Smart Traveler Enrollment Program The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Enroll Now
  • Looking for the nearest embassy or consulate? Visit the official list of embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions from the U.S. Department of State. Find the nearest Embassy or Consulate
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) landing page on CDC.gov is the latest public health and safety information from CDC and for the overarching medical and health provider community on COVID-19. Visit CDC Covid-19 Page

Visit the official list of embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions from the U.S. Department of State.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.     Enroll Now

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Please call your nearest Consulate or Embassy:

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Japan Travel Restrictions

Traveller's COVID-19 vaccination status

Travelling from Canada to Japan

Open for vaccinated visitors

COVID-19 testing

Not required

Not required for vaccinated visitors

Restaurants

Recommended in public spaces.

Documents & Additional resources

Ready to travel, find flights to japan, find stays in japan, explore more countries on travel restrictions map, destinations you can travel to now, dominican republic, netherlands, philippines, united arab emirates, united kingdom, united states, know when to go.

Sign up for email alerts as countries begin to open - choose the destinations you're interested in so you're in the know.

Can I travel to Japan from Canada?

Most visitors from Canada, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Japan.

Can I travel to Japan if I am vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated visitors from Canada can enter Japan without restrictions.

Can I travel to Japan without being vaccinated?

Unvaccinated visitors from Canada can enter Japan without restrictions.

Do I need a COVID test to enter Japan?

Visitors from Canada are not required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen result upon entering Japan.

Can I travel to Japan without quarantine?

Travellers from Canada are not required to quarantine.

Do I need to wear a mask in Japan?

Mask usage in Japan is recommended in public spaces.

Are the restaurants and bars open in Japan?

Restaurants in Japan are open. Bars in Japan are .

Caution October 19, 2023

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Travel Advisory January 8, 2024

Japan - level 1: exercise normal precautions.

Japan – Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

Reissued after periodic review without changes.

Exercise normal precautions in Japan.

Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to Japan.

If you decide to travel to Japan: 

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Follow Embassy Tokyo’s American Citizen Services section on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Japan.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .

Embassy Messages

View Alerts and Messages Archive

Quick Facts

Duration of intended period of stay. Please note you cannot travel on a passport you have previously declared as lost or stolen even if you subsequently locate it

One page required for entry stamp

Amounts equivalent to ¥1,000,000 or above subject to declaration

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Tokyo  1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420 Japan Telephone: 81-3-3224-5000 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 81-3-3224-5000 Fax: 81-3-3224-5856 Our Navigator Assistant will guide you to the information you need.

U.S. Consulate General Osaka-Kobe 2-11-5, Nishitenma, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543, Japan Telephone: 81-6-6315-5900 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 81-3-3224-5000 Fax: 81-6-6315-5914 Our  Navigator Assistant  will guide you to the information you need.

U.S. Consulate General Naha 2-1-1 Toyama, Urasoe City, Okinawa, Japan Telephone: 81-98-876-4211 Emergency Telephone: 81-3-3224-5000 Fax: 81-98-876-4243 Our  Navigator Assistant  will guide you to the information you need.

U.S. Consulate General Sapporo Kita 1-jo Nishi 28-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 064-0821, Japan Telephone: 81-11-641-1115 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 81-11-641-1115 Fax: 81-11-643-1283 Our Navigator Assistant will guide you to the information you need. All assistance at the Consulate General Sapporo is by appointment only.

U.S. Consulate Fukuoka 5-26 Ohori 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0052, Japan Telephone: 81-92-751-9331 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 81-3-3224-5000 Fax: 81-92-713-9222 [email protected] Our Navigator Assistant will guide you to the information you need. Routine services are provided by appointment only.

U.S. Consulate Nagoya Nagoya International Center Bldg. 6th floor, 1-47-1 Nagono, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya 450-0001, Japan Telephone: 81-52-581-4501 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 81-3-3224-5000 Fax: 81-52-581-3190 Our Navigator Assistant will guide you to the information you need. Emergency services are provided by U.S. Consulate General Osaka-Kobe. 

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Japan for information on U.S-Japan relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Visit the  Embassy of Japan  website for the most current visa information.

There are no COVID-related entry requirements for U.S. citizens.

Entry & Exit:

  • You must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket for tourist/business "visa free" stays of up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for the entire time you are staying in Japan.
  • You cannot work on a 90-day "visa free" entry.
  • "Visa free" entry status may not be changed to another visa status without departing and then re-entering Japan with the appropriate visa, such as a spouse, work, or study visa.
  • Visit the Embassy of Japan website for the most current information on all visa categories.
  • Japanese immigration officers may deny you entry if you appear to have no visible means of support. 
  • All foreign nationals are required to provide fingerprint scans and to be photographed at the port of entry. Exceptions to this requirement include diplomatic and official visa holders, minors, and individuals covered under SOFA Article IX.2. For further information about landing procedures, please visit the  Immigration Bureau of Japan’s website . 
  • Make sure your passport is valid. Note you cannot travel on a passport you have previously declared as lost or stolen even if you subsequently locate it. Japanese authorities will likely deny you entry into Japan if you attempt to do so. If you have reported your passport lost or stolen, you must apply for a new passport before travel.

Transiting Japan: 

  • Ensure that your passport and visa are valid and up-to-date before you leave the United States. Passport services are not available at the airport.
  • Airlines in Japan may deny you boarding for transit if you do not have the required travel documents for an onward destination in another country or if your passport does not have six months of validity remaining. For the entry requirements of the country you are traveling to, visit the  State Department's Country Specific Information  website.

Military/SOFA Travelers:  While active-duty U.S. military personnel may enter Japan under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with proper Department of Defense (DoD) identification and travel orders, all SOFA family members, civilian employees, and contractors must have valid passports to enter Japan. Please consult the  DOD Foreign Clearance Guide  before leaving the United States.

See  the Immigration Bureau of Japan’s website  for various immigration procedures.

HIV/AIDS Restrictions:  The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Japan. 

Find information on  dual nationality ,  prevention of international child abduction  and  customs regulations  on our websites.

Safety and Security

For police services in Japan, dial 110. For fire or ambulance services, dial 119.

Crime:  Crime against U.S. citizens in Japan is generally low and usually involves personal disputes, theft, or vandalism. In addition:

  • Robberies committed after a victim has been drugged from a spiked drink can occur, especially in nightlife districts.
  • Sexual assaults are not often reported, but they do occur, and victims may be randomly targeted.  Victim's assistance resources or shelters are difficult for foreigners to access.
  • Hate-related violent crimes rarely occur, although some U.S. citizens have reported being the target of discrimination because of their nationality or their race.
  • Pick pocketing can occur in crowded shopping areas, on trains, and at airports.
  • Police reports must be filed before leaving Japan, as Japanese police will not accept reports filed from overseas. 
  • In instances involving credit card theft or fraud, Japanese police often provide a report number rather than a police report.  You can provide this report number to your credit card company to confirm the incident with the police.

Entertainment and Nightlife Districts in Tokyo: 

  • Exercise caution in all entertainment and nightlife districts throughout Japan, especially Roppongi, Kabuki-cho, Shibuya, and Ikebukuro. 
  • Incidents involving U.S. citizens in these areas include physical and sexual assaults, drug overdoses, theft of purses, wallets, cash and credit cards at bars or clubs, and drugs slipped into drinks. 
  • Drink spiking at bars and entertainment venues, especially in areas such as Roppongi and Kabuki-cho, near Shinjuku, has led to robbery, physical and sexual assaults, and credit card fraud.  Some victims regain consciousness in the bar or club; other victims may awaken on the street or other unfamiliar locations.
  • U.S. citizens have reported being threatened with gun or knife violence in such venues so that they will pay exorbitant bar tabs or withdraw money.  U.S. citizens have also reported being beaten when they have refused to pay or hand over money.
  • There have been reports of U.S. citizens being forcibly taken to ATMs and robbed, or made to withdraw funds after being unable to pay exorbitant bar tabs.
  • Please be aware that Roppongi, Kabuki-cho, and other entertainment and nightlife districts have also been the scenes of violence between criminal syndicates. 

See the  Department of State  and the  FBI  pages for information on scams. 

Police reports must be filed at the nearest police station prior to departure from Japan. The Japanese police cannot accept reports filed from overseas. Report crimes to the local police at 110 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 03-3224-5000 (011-81-3-3224-5000 from overseas).  Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

See our webpage on  help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • help you find appropriate medical care;
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police;
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent;
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms;
  • provide a list of local attorneys;
  • provide information on  victim’s compensation programs in the U.S. ;
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home; and/or
  • replace a stolen or lost passport.

Contacting Police, Fire and Ambulance Services:  You can reach the police throughout Japan by dialing 110. Fire and ambulance services can be contacted by dialing 119.  Note that English-speaking dispatchers may not be available. Please review advice on  “Calling for Help” on our  website . If you need assistance, you should be able to describe your address/location in Japanese or find someone who can do so, since few police officers speak English.

Domestic Violence:  Victim's assistance resources or battered women's shelters exist in major urban areas, but are difficult for foreigners to access. These types of resources are also generally unavailable in rural areas. Investigations of sexual assault crimes are often conducted without female police officers present, and police typically ask about the victim's sexual history and previous relationships.

Tourism:  The Victim's assistance resources or battered women's shelters exist in major urban areas, but are difficult for foreigners to access. These types of resources are also generally unavailable in rural areas. Investigations of sexual assault crimes are often conducted without female police officers present, and police typically ask about the victim's sexual history and previous relationships.

See our webpage for more  information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to Japanese law while you are in Japan. If you violate Japanese laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, imprisoned, or deported. If you are arrested in Japan,  even for a minor offense , you may be held in detention without bail for several months or more during the investigation and legal proceedings.

Some offences are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of Japanese law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website.

The vast majority of arrests of U.S. citizens in Japan are for drug-related offenses. Japanese authorities aggressively pursue drug smugglers and users, including recreational users with sophisticated detection equipment, "sniffing" dogs, blood tests, “stop and frisk” tactics, and other methods. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking a drug that is illegal in Japan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and fines. Please note that some drugs which may be legal in certain jurisdictions outside of Japan, including marijuana and synthetic drugs, remain illegal in Japan. This also applies to certain prescription drugs that doctors in the United States may prescribe.  Japanese law makes no distinction between medical and recreational marijuana; therefore, having a prescription for medical marijuana will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. Even possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal medical or recreational use can result in a long jail sentence and fine. Japanese customs officials carefully screen incoming packages, and individuals who are mailed drugs can be arrested and prosecuted as drug traffickers.   

Confiscation of Prescription Drugs and Other Medication:  It is important to note that some medications that are routinely prescribed in the United States, including Adderall and marijuana, are strictly prohibited in Japan. The Japanese government decides which medications may be imported legally into Japan. The Embassy and Consulates of Japan in the United States have limited information available and do not have a comprehensive list of specific medications or ingredients. Please see more  information on importing medicines  into Japan.

You must carry your U.S. passport or Japanese Residence Card (Zairyu Kado) with you at all times. In Japan, you may be taken in for questioning if you do not have your passport or Japanese residence card to show your identity and status in Japan (e.g., as a visitor, student, worker, or permanent resident).

It is illegal to work in Japan while in tourist or visa-waiver status. Overstaying your visa or working illegally may lead to fines of several thousands of dollars, and in some cases, re-entry bans as long as 10 years, or indefinitely for drug offenders. For additional information, please see  Japan’s Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act  and contact the  Japanese Embassy  or nearest Japanese Consulate in the United States for more information.

Driving under the influence of alcohol could also land you immediately in jail. The blood-alcohol limit in Japan is 0.03%. Punishments can be up to 10,000 USD in fines and up to five years in prison.

Possession of a gun or ammunition is a crime in Japan. Carrying a knife with a locking blade, or a folding blade that is longer than 5.5 cm (a little more than two inches), is illegal in Japan. U.S. citizens and U.S. military personnel have been arrested and detained for more than 10 days for carrying pocket knives that are legal in the United States but illegal in Japan. The possession of lock-picking tools is illegal in Japan.

Establishing a Business : Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

A  list of English-speaking lawyers  located throughout Japan is available on our  website .

Arrest Notification : If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See the Department of State’s webpage  and the Embassy’s  website  for additional information.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice’s website for more information .

Faith-Based Travelers:  See our following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report  – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report  – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTQI+ Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI+ events in Japan.

Laws governing rape, sexual commerce, and other activity involving sexual relations do not apply to same-sex sexual activity. This leads to lower penalties for perpetrators of same-sex rape and sexual assault and greater legal ambiguity surrounding same-sex prostitution.

See our  LGBTQI+ Travel Information  page and section 6 of our  Human Rights report  for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities:  The law in Japan prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. Japanese disability laws require the public sector to provide reasonable accommodations and the private sector to make best efforts in employment, education, access to health care, or the provision of other services; however, there are no penalties for noncompliance. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States.

Although Japan’s accessibility laws mandate that new construction projects for public use include provisions for persons with disabilities, older buildings are not likely to have been retrofitted for accessibility. At major train stations, airports, and hotels, travelers with disabilities should encounter few accessibility problems. Note that many smaller stations are inaccessible to those who cannot climb stairs. Information on travel in Japan for travelers with disabilities is available at  Accessible Japan .

Travelers with disabilities can learn more about resources available in country from the Japan National Tourism Organization’s  traveling with a disability page .

Students:  See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers:  See our travel tips for  Women Travelers .

Conditions at Prisons and Detention Facilities:  Japanese prisons and detention facilities maintain internal order through a regime of very strict discipline.  U.S. citizen prisoners often complain of stark, austere living conditions and psychological isolation.  Heating in winter can be inadequate in some facilities, food portions can be significantly smaller than what many may be accustomed to, and access to specialized medical care, particularly mental health care, at detention facilities and prisons is sometimes limited. Additional  information on arrests in Japan  is available on our embassy website.

Customs Regulations:  Please contact the Japanese Embassy or nearest Japanese consulate in the United States, or  visit the Japanese Customs website  for specific information regarding import restrictions and customs requirements.

Japanese customs authorities encourage the use of an Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission (ATA) Carnet in order to temporarily import professional equipment, commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and trade fairs into Japan.  For additional information, please call (212) 354-4480, or  email the U.S. CIB  for details.

Pets:  The Japanese  Animal Quarantine Service  (AQS) sets procedures for importing pets. At a minimum, the process will take seven to eight months, though the process can take up to a year before a pet may enter Japan. Advance planning is critical. You can find more information about  importing a pet into Japan  or information about  exporting a pet from Japan  on our  Embassy website.

Employment Issues:  U.S. citizens should not come to Japan to work without having the proper employment visa arranged ahead of time. Teaching English, even privately, and serving as hosts/hostesses are both considered "work" in Japan and are illegal without the proper visa.

Some U.S.-based employment agencies and Japanese employers do not fully or correctly represent the true nature of employment terms and conditions. A minimum requirement for effectively seeking the protection of Japanese labor law is a written and signed work contract. If there is no signed contract, Japanese authorities are not able to act on behalf of foreign workers. If you are coming to Japan to work, carefully review your contract and the history and reputation of your Japanese employer before traveling to Japan. Complaints against U.S.-based employment agencies or recruiters may be directed to the  Better Business Bureau  or the Office of the Attorney General in the relevant state(s).

Disaster Preparedness : Japan is prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, and landslides. See the  Embassy’s  webpage for recommendations and steps you can take to prepare for an emergency. The Japan Tourism Organization’s  Safety Tips app  and  NHK World app  provide Japanese government emergency “J-Alerts” to your cell phone in English through push notifications. “J-Alerts” can provide early warning emergency alerts on earthquakes predicted in a specific area, sometimes seconds before an earthquake hits. 

Radiation: Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant : The Government of Japan continues to closely monitor the conditions at and around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. You should comply with all travel restrictions and cautions put into place by the Government of Japan for areas surrounding the plant. For more information, contact the  Japan Nuclear Regulation Authority .

For police service in Japan, dial 110. For fire or ambulance, dial 119.

Ambulance services are widely available but receiving hospitals may decline to accept inbound patients unless they can provide proof of funds to pay for services.

COVID-19 Testing:

  • Travelers should contact Japanese local health providers to determine the location of testing facilities within Japan. A non-comprehensive list of some COVID-19 testing facilities can be found here on the Embassy website.

COVID-19 Vaccines:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is available for U.S. citizens to receive in Japan.
  • Review the Government of Japan’s  English language website  on COVID-19 vaccinations in Japan.
  • Visit the FDA's website to  learn more about FDA-approved vaccines  in the United States. 

The Department of State does not pay medical bills.  Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Some care providers in Japan only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend  supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of  Japan’s Ministry of Health website to ensure the medication is legal in Japan; possession, use, or importation of a prescription drug that is illegal in Japan may result in arrest and criminal prosecution. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. U.S. prescriptions are not honored in Japan, so if you need ongoing prescription medicine, you should arrive with a sufficient supply for your stay in Japan or enough until you are able to see a local care provider.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all  vaccinations recommended  by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC)

Japan has a national health insurance system which is available only to those foreigners with long-term visas for Japan. National health insurance does not pay for medical evacuation. Medical caregivers in Japan may require payment in full at the time of treatment or concrete proof of ability to pay before they will treat a foreigner who is not a member of the national health insurance plan.

U.S.-style and standard psychological and psychiatric care can be difficult to locate outside of major urban centers in Japan and generally is not available outside of Japan's major cities. Extended psychiatric care can be very difficult to obtain.

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety : Driving in Japan can be complicated and expensive. Traffic moves on the left side of the road. Those who cannot read the language will have trouble understanding road signs. Highway tolls can be very high, and city traffic is often very congested. A 20-mile trip in the Tokyo area may take two hours. There is virtually no legal roadside or curbside parking; however, traffic is commonly blocked or partially blocked by those illegally parked curbside. In mountainous areas, roads are often closed during the winter, and cars should be equipped with tire chains. Roads in Japan are much narrower than those in the United States.

Traffic Laws : Japanese law provides that all drivers in Japan are held liable in the event of an accident, and assesses fault in an accident on all parties. Japanese compulsory insurance (JCI) is mandatory for all automobile owners and drivers in Japan. Most short-term visitors choose not to drive in Japan. Turning right or left on red lights is not permitted in Japan, and all passengers are required to fasten their seat belts.

Japan has a national 0.03 percent blood-alcohol-level standard for driving, and drivers stopped for driving under the influence of intoxicants will have their licenses confiscated. If you are found guilty of driving under the influence, speeding, or blatantly careless driving resulting in injury, you are subject to up to 15 years in prison. 

See our  Road Safety page  for more information. The National Police Agency (NPA) oversees the administration and enforcement of traffic laws in Japan. You can find further information in English on the  NPA English website . Information about roadside assistance, rules of the road, and obtaining a Japanese driver's license is available in English from the  Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) web site . See  the Japan National Tourism Organization’s website for car rental and driving in Japan.

Emergency Assistance : For roadside assistance, please contact the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) at 03-5730-0111 in Tokyo, 072-645-0111 in Osaka, 011-857-8139 in Sapporo, 092-841-5000 in Fukuoka, or 098-877-9163 in Okinawa.

International Driving Permits (IDPs):  An international driving permit (IDP) issued in the United States by the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA) is required of short-term visitors who drive in Japan. You must obtain an IDP issued in your country of residence prior to arriving in Japan. The U.S. Embassy andU.S. consulates do not issue IDPs. IDPs issued via the Internet and/or by other organizations are not valid in Japan. 

Foreign residents in Japan who use an IDP may be fined or arrested. In practice, the term “resident” involves more than simply visa status or length of stay in Japan and is determined by the police. In short, a driver license from country outside Japan is not a substitute for a valid Japanese license for foreign residents. See the U.S. Embassy’s  website  for more information on driving in Japan.

Aviation Safety Oversight : The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Japan’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Japan’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the  FAA's safety assessment page .

Maritime Travel : Mariners planning travel to Japan should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts  in the Alerts section of the Embassy’s messages. Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and the  National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) broadcast warnings website portal  select “broadcast warnings.”

For additional travel information

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  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in  Japan . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the  International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA )  report.

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JRailPass.com » Japan Travel Blog » Japan travel restrictions and requirements for 2023

Japan travel restrictions and requirements for 2023

May 15, 2023

japan travel ban

When planning a trip to Japan, make sure you know if there are any travel restrictions in place and any entry requirements you need to follow.

Japan has now completely removed all COVID-19 entry restrictions . Immigration rules have returned to normal from May 8, 2023 .

If you are thinking about traveling to Japan, you can check this regularly updated page and find out what you need to visit the country.

Below you’ll find information about the reinstatement of visa exemptions , vaccine and testing requirements, and other coronavirus measures in Japan.

Can I Travel to Japan Now?

Yes , Japan’s borders are now open to all international tourist travel.

You can easily travel to Japan by air or by sea as long as you meet the standard entry requirements.

Japan has completely removed the entry cap on daily foreign arrivals. All the usual visa exemptions currently apply to eligible visitors. This means that citizens of around 70 countries, including Australia, the United States and all European Union nations, can once again visit Japan for 90 days visa-free simply by using a valid passport.

Once in the country, train services are running as normal. You can use your Japan Rail Pass to travel around the nation at your leisure.

Japan Standard Entry Requirements

If you’re not a national of a visa-exempt country , you’ll need a visa to travel to Japan.

You should also make sure you have a valid passport , and other necessary documentation to enter the country.

If you have an e-Passport, you can use the Electronic Customs Declaration Gates (e-Gates) when arriving in Japan to clear border control.

Public transportation restrictions within Japan

Public transport, including trains, is operating in Japan. Travelers are advised to refer to Japanese train status updates issued by each individual operator to check if a service they plan to use remains affected by temporary Shinkansen COVID-19 restrictions.

Face masks are no longer required on JR trains or in most other places. They are still common and recommended, but are ultimately optional .

Who can travel to Japan now?

Anyone who meets the normal entry requirements can now travel to Japan.

All travelers should ensure they have a valid relevant visa for Japan (unless visa-exempt), a valid passport, and other necessary documentation to enter the country.

North Koreans cannot currently enter Japan due to sanctions. Apart from this, there are no other travel bans in place.

For further information about visas and visa exemptions, please check with the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs at https://www.mofa.go.jp/ .

Rules for tourists

Individual tourists can now travel to Japan. There is no longer any need to book a place on a package tour.

Although mask use is not obligatory outdoors in Japan, it is still recommended in crowds or when having a conversation at close quarters.

Quarantine measures when traveling to Japan

There are currently no quarantine measures in Japan.

For further information, please check with the Japanese Ministry of Health at https://www.mhlw.go.jp/

Countries and regions banned to enter Japan

Only citizens of North Korea are currently prohibited from traveling to Japan. This is because the Japanese government has imposed sanctions on North Korea.

All other nationalities are allowed to visit Japan with the proper documentation. All travel bans due to coronavirus have now been lifted.

Travel advisories

Check the up-to-date travel advisories for Japan regarding COVID-19 from your country below:

  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Health advice when visiting Japan

There are no specific health requirements in place for traveling to Japan.

Visitors are advised to have health insurance and be up-to-date on standard vaccinations. Recommended vaccines include:

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Japan’s Health Ministry has stated that the two most effective ways to curb the spread of illnesses like the coronavirus are to frequently wash hands and use a face mask when out in public:

  • You should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Face masks are recommended in public. The mask should cover your mouth, nose and chin, and be disposed of after a single-use.

If you are traveling to Japan with medication, make sure you bring copy of the prescription, a doctor’s note, and bring your medicine in the original container.

For the latest travel advisory and information about restrictions, please visit the Japan National Tourism Organization’s site .

The Japan National Tourism Organization has also set up a coronavirus hotline for tourist information available in 3 languages: English, Chinese, or Korean:

  • From within Japan : 050 3816 2787
  • If overseas : +81 50 3816 2787

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Travel Vaccines and Advice for Japan

Passport Health offers a variety of options for travellers throughout the world.

People say that you can never visit the same Japan twice. It’s a country that embodies what it means to be innovative and progressive in every way.

There is something in Japan for every type of traveller. From the bamboo forests of folklore to spectacles of architecture. For foodies, Japan is a sushi paradise and even a small nigiri shop on the corner can put some of the most decadent establishments at home to shame.

There are temples and gardens in Kyoto that aren’t anything short of magical. The cherry-blossom season in Hanami is one of the most tranquil and beautiful sites Asia has to offer.

Do I Need Vaccines for Japan?

Yes, some vaccines are recommended or required for Japan. The PHAC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Japan: COVID-19 , hepatitis A , hepatitis B , typhoid , Japanese encephalitis , rabies , meningitis , polio , measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) , Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) , chickenpox , shingles , pneumonia and influenza .

See the bullets below to learn more about some of these key immunizations:

  • COVID-19 – Airborne – Recommended for all travellers
  • Hepatitis A – Food & Water – Recommended for most travellers
  • Hepatitis B – Blood & Body Fluids – Accelerated schedule available
  • Typhoid – Food & Water – Shot lasts 2 years. Oral vaccine lasts 5 years, must be able to swallow pills. Oral doses must be kept in refrigerator.
  • Japanese Encephalitis – Mosquito – Cases can occur on all islands except Hokkaido. Most common from July to October.
  • Rabies – Saliva of Infected Animals – Vaccine recommended for long-term travellers and those who may come in contact with animals.
  • Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) – Various Vectors – Given to anyone unvaccinated and/or born after 1957. One time adult booster recommended.
  • TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis) – Wounds & Airborne – Only one adult booster of pertussis required.
  • Chickenpox – Direct Contact & Airborne – Given to those unvaccinated that did not have chickenpox.
  • Shingles – Direct Contact – Vaccine can still be given if you have had shingles.
  • Pneumonia – Airborne – Two vaccines given separately. All 65+ or immunocompromised should receive both.
  • Influenza – Airborne – Vaccine components change annually.
  • Meningitis – Airborne & Direct Contact – Given to anyone unvaccinated or at an increased risk, especially students.
  • Polio – Food & Water – Considered a routine vaccination for most travel itineraries. Single adult booster recommended.

See the tables below for more information:

Japanese encephalitis poses a threat to travellers to Japan. While the disease is most common in rural areas, outbreaks have occurred in urban centers in recent years. Vaccination is the best form of protection against the virus.

Visit our vaccinations page to learn more. Travel safely with Passport Health and schedule your appointment today by calling or book online now .

Do I Need a Passport or Visa for Japan?

A passport valid for the duration of your intended stay is required to enter Japan. Tourist visas are not required for stays up to 90 days but business visas are required. You may not apply for a visa if you have already entered Japan as a tourist. If you overstay the 90 days you are violating Japanese federal law and may be subject to fines, deportation, and barred from re-entering the country.

Sources: Embassy of Japan and Canadian Travel and Tourism

Currency restriction for both entry and exit is 1,000,000 Japanese yen. If travelling with more, it must be declared.

Visit the Canadian Travel and Tourism website for more information on entry and exit requirements.

What is the Climate in Japan?

Much like most places in the U.S., the majority of Japan remains temperate and experience the four seasons. The country boasts many different landscapes. Although it is small, from one end to the other, the island can differ year round. Regardless of the time of year, Japan does experience a high percentage of humidity and will be rainy off and on.

  • Sendai – Located in one of the most northeast parts of Japan, this region experiences cold winters with snowfall. Summers are warm, but rainy. Summer temperatures generally rise to around 29 degrees.
  • Tokyo – The Japanese capital is one of the most visited cities. It falls within the subtropical climate zone, with very mild winters and humid, wet summers. Winters are usually on the dry side as a good part of Tokyo is inland.
  • Kumamoto – A smaller city located on the southwest side of the country, it has hot summers and cool winters. Here rainfall is present year-round. But, is heaviest in the summer, bringing high levels of humidity.

How Safe and Secure is Japan?

Aside from areas in Europe, Japan is recognized as one of the safest places to travel. Crime rates are low, including petty crime, and violent crime is rare. Japan has low tolerance for any reckless behavior including drinking and driving and drug abuse.

Japan has been put on the map over the years for natural phenomenon. Tsunamis and earthquakes are always a possibility and a risk that travellers should consider. As with many Pacific Rim countries, disaster plans are in place at almost every location.

Witness the Ancient Art of Sumo

In Tokyo there is the Kokugikan, or the sumo amphitheater. Here, some of Japan’s most promising wrestlers compete throughout the year.

The art of sumo wrestling dates back centuries to the Edo period. It is a test of strength, balance and endurance.

Nearby the Kokugikan is the Sumo Museum. It is ideal for getting up close and personal with objects that embody this ancient art form.

What Should I Take to Japan?

Packing for Japan is easier than you may think. The most taxing part can be taking into consideration the many different climates. Here are a few items to add to the checklist:

  • Lightweight rain jacket for unexpected rain storms.
  • A map of major cities you plan on visiting as some of them can be very confusing to navigate.
  • Clothing on the more modest side. Despite Japan being known as very fashion-forward, it is also a very modest country.
  • Photocopies of your passport.
  • Hats to shield your face from the sometimes-intense summer heat waves.

Canadian Embassy in Japan

Canadian consular services can help travellers with many issues they may face including passport services. Once in Japan, the information for the Canadian Embassy is:

Embassy of Canada in Tokyo 7-3-38 Akasaka, Minato-ku Tokyo 107-8503, Japan Telephone: +81-3-5412-6200

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On This Page: Do I Need Vaccines for Japan? Do I Need a Passport or Visa for Japan? What is the Climate in Japan? How Safe and Secure is Japan? Witness the Ancient Art of Sumo What Should I Take to Japan? Canadian Embassy in Japan

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COVID-19 Health & Safety Information

Please note this page is no longer being updated..

For the latest information on entry to Japan, please visit the following page:  COVID-19: Practical Information for Traveling to Japan

Information on the easing of travel restrictions to Japan (as of 11 November 2022)

*For passport holders from other countries, please see the links below for the Embassies and Consulates-General of Japan for more information.

PCR tests or quarantine on arrival are not required, regardless of vaccination status. For more information on the process and entry requirements, refer to the below image or visit  this page  to view the information in checklist form. 

Process Map

travel to japan unvaccinated

Useful Resources

Au / nz government travel advisories , visit japan / jnto sites .

The  Coronavirus travel restrictions page  is a travel advisory updated regularly in line with the official information provided by the Government of Japan.

COVID-19: Practical Information for Traveling to Japan is an information page built to help travellers plan a safe trip around Japan.

See specific measures taken by Japanese organisations below.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Airlines & Airports

travel to japan unvaccinated

The ANA Care Promise set of health and safety initiatives has been awarded a 5-Star COVID-19 Safety Rating from SKYTRAX, the highest possible rating, and one that only a few airlines worldwide has achieved.

travel to japan unvaccinated

The JAL FlySafe set of health and safety initiatives has been recognised by Skytrax with a 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating, along with a Diamond Certification by APEX Health Safety powered by SimpliFlying.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Haneda Airport’s webpage includes information on how to use airport facilities safely and measures to prevent the spread of infection, especially in regards to the 3 Cs: closed spaces, crowded spaces, close-contact settings.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Narita Airport has implemented nine key initiatives to prevent the spread of infection including the installation of transparent barriers, ensuring optimum air ventilation and stringent cleaning practices.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Kansai International Airport has a number initiatives in place to prevent the spread of infection including the use of thermographic cameras, increased cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and social distancing measures.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Railway Companies

Japan has an expansive railway network that is owned and operated by many companies.  Japan Railways (JR) is the most well-known thanks to the popular  JR Pass  and high-speed shinkansen (bullet trains). Its vast and elaborate network can be a bit daunting to navigate at first - it's actually operated by six separate companies: JR Hokkaido, JR East, JR Central, JR West, JR Shikoku, JR Kyushu.

In particular, please note the popular Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen (Tokyo to Hakata) is run by both JR Central and JR West – JR Central operates the section from Tokyo to Osaka, and JR West operates the section from Osaka and Hakata. 

travel to japan unvaccinated

JR Hokkaido services the northern island of Hokkaido and also operates the section of the shinkansen route between Shin-Aomori Station on Honshu and Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station in southern Hokkaido. Download the ‘Major actions on preventing the spread of novel coronavirus’ PDF from their website for more information.

travel to japan unvaccinated

JR East services eastern Japan including the capital of Tokyo and the north-eastern region of Tohoku. It also operates the Hokuriku Shinkansen which stops at cities such as Nagano, Kanazawa and Niigata.

travel to japan unvaccinated

JR Central services central Japan and operates the Tokaido Shinkansen, a popular route that runs between Tokyo and Osaka travels through major cities such as Yokohama, Nagoya and Kyoto. The ‘COVID-19 Protective Measures’ PDF is available to download from their website.

travel to japan unvaccinated

JR West services western Japan, including well-known cities such as Nara, Osaka, Kyoto, Wakayama, Kobe and Hiroshima. It operates the Sanyo Shinkansen which runs from Shin-Osaka Station to Hakata Station in Fukuoka Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Tobu services the area of Tokyo and surrounds, providing connections to popular destinations such as Nikko, Asakusa, Tokyo Skytree and Kawagoe. Information on the latest measures to prevent the spread of infection is available to download from their website.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Kintetsu Railway services the areas of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Ise-shima (Mie Prefecture) and Nagoya. As part of a number of measures implemented to prevent the spread of infection, Kintestsu has sprayed the interior of its train carriages with an antiviral and antibacterial treatment.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Nankai Electric Railway services southern Osaka Prefecture and Wakayama Prefecture. It connects the southern hub of Namba to Kansai International Airport, Wakayama and Koyasan. Information on health and safety measures that have been implemented is available to download from their website.

travel to japan unvaccinated

JR-West Hotels have implemented new 'Clean & Safety' hygiene standards, and have received the coveted Trusted Cleanliness Badge, a certificate issued by Trust You, one of the top class platforms in the hotel industry. (JR-West Hotels brands include Hotel Granvia, Hotel Vischio by Granvia, Nara Hotel and Potel.)

travel to japan unvaccinated

Prince Hotels has developed the Prince Safety Commitment, a set of new protocols for hygiene and disinfection to be applied to all the hotels under their brands. These will enable Prince Hotels to provide guests with a safe and clean environment during their stay.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Palace Hotel Tokyo has achieved the GBAC STAR™ Facility Accreditation and has become Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED™ with Forbes Travel Guide. These accreditations show Palace Hotel Tokyo is committed to implementing best practices and operating as safely as possible.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Imperial Hotel Osaka has received GBAC STAR™ accreditation and is Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED™ with Forbes Travel Guide. These demonstrate the hotel meets international hygiene standards for infectious disease prevention measures and is committed to following best practices to ensure the safety and comfort of its guests.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Destinations

travel to japan unvaccinated

Miyazaki Prefecture Tourism Association has produced a video to introduce the safety measures taken by the Miyazaki Tourism Industry for the post-COVID-19 era.

travel to japan unvaccinated

Attractions

travel to japan unvaccinated

Read about the health and safety measures that are in place at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea as well as update on the status of rides, attractions, restaurants and other facilities at each theme park.

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Can you travel to Japan? Restrictions for UK travellers explained

By Abigail Malbon

Can you travel to Japan Restrictions for UK travellers explained

Japan has had strict border restrictions since the Covid pandemic started in 2020, making travel to the country impossible for most. According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, the number of international tourists to Japan fell from nearly 32 million in 2019 to just 250,000 in 2021. But when will we be able to go again? Here’s what you need to know about travel to Japan.

Travel rules for Japan from the UK

Until recently, UK travellers could enter Japan, but under strict circumstances. A gradual opening eventually allowed up to 50,000 travellers a day into the country – after an initial limit of 20,000, only on organised tours.

As of Tuesday 11 October 2022, UK travellers can enter Japan in uncapped numbers, as long as they follow the entry requirements set out. Travellers must complete any required forms on the MySoS app or website, and sign a written pledge that they will abide by the Japanese rules on self-isolation and other covid measures.

There is no requirement to be vaccinated in order to enter Japan. However, those who are vaccinated and boosted are not required to produce a negative PCR test before their flight – note that AstraZeneca is not accepted as a valid booster. The UK covid pass can be used to demonstrate your vaccination record to the authorities on arrival.

If visitors are not vaccinated, or are unable to prove that they have been, a negative PCR test certificate must be produced within 72 hours of travelling to Japan. Unvaccinated travellers are also unable to use the MySos fast track system.

Kumano kodo

For now, if you’re hoping to travel to Japan, we recommend checking the government’s website regularly for updates and information on what you need to do to allow entry.

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travel to japan unvaccinated

  • Passports, travel and living abroad
  • Travel abroad
  • Foreign travel advice

Warnings and insurance

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO ) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice . 

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you:

  • women travellers
  • disabled travellers
  • LGBT+ travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram . You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated. 

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance . Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

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Everything You Need to Know About Japan's New Digital Nomad Visa

By Hannah Towey

Japan Digital Nomad Visa What Travelers Need to Know

Travelers can't get enough of Japan, voted the best country in the world in the 2023 Readers' Choice Awards . But until now, remote workers looking to live and work on the alluring archipelago were limited to 90-day stays.

That could all change next month, according to the Japan Times . Last week, the newspaper reported that the Japan Immigration Services Agency (ISA) has announced plans to launch a six-month digital nomad visa in late March.

It isn't coming a minute too soon. While the first wave of post-pandemic travel manifested in Southern Europe, East Asia is now taking center stage—with Japan emerging as the standout star . This past December broke records for American travel to Japan, when 26.8% more Americans traveled to the country than in December 2019.

The highly-anticipated visa will be open to remote workers who make at least ¥10 million (about $66,400) a year and are from one of 49 countries and territories including the US, Australia , and Singapore . Self-employed digital nomads can apply, but they must have private health insurance, the Japan Times reports.

Japan's digital nomad visa isn't just for solo travelers—recipients can also bring along their spouse and children. Unlike some other programs, immediate extensions won't be offered once the visa expires. However, digital nomads can reapply for the visa six months after leaving Japan.

As Japan's tourism economy continues an impressive recovery approximately two years after removing COVID-19 travel restrictions, the visa would help facilitate longer-term stays and win over the economic contributions of some of the world's millions of remote workers. Over 50 countries now offer digital nomad visas or similar alternatives, including popular destinations like Portugal , Costa Rica , and Norway .

The visa is just one more reason for full-time travelers and expats to put Japan on their radar. Offering everything from awe-inspiring natural scenery and artistry in the Seto Inland Sea to the exciting urban nightlife and culinary scene of Tokyo , there's truly something for every type of traveler—remote worker or otherwise.

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Japan travel advice

Latest updates: Health – editorial update

Last updated: February 20, 2024 09:10 ET

On this page

Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, japan - take normal security precautions.

Take normal security precautions in Japan.

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Fukushima nuclear power plant and surrounding area

Following the 2011 incident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Japanese authorities have placed restrictions, including travel and overnight stay bans, on the plant's surrounding area due to the risk of exposure to radiation. Restricted areas are clearly identified.

Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Assistance of Residents Affected by the Nuclear Incidents – Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Tensions on Korean Peninsula

The regional security situation on the neighbouring Korean Peninsula could deteriorate suddenly. Tensions may increase before, during and after North Korean nuclear and missile tests. Military exercises and activities may also escalate tension.

  • Remain vigilant
  • Monitor developments to stay informed on the current situation
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, including the Cabinet Secretariat's guidance on civil protection

Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal

Crime against foreigners is generally low. However, petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs from time to time. Be cautious in entertainment and nightlife districts throughout Japan, especially in these four in Tokyo:

If you are the victim of a crime, file a police report at the closest station of the incident. Occasionally, local police may be hesitant to prepare a report for foreigners. If this happens, contact the Embassy of Canada to Japan for assistance.

Drug trafficking

An increasing number of travellers report having been used as unwitting drug couriers.

Penalties for drug-related criminal activities are severe. Even unsuspecting individuals transporting packages containing narcotics can be criminally charged and face long jail sentences.

Be wary of individuals, even those you know, who ask you to carry a package to Japan on their behalf.

Useful links

Drugs, alcohol and travel

  • International Drug Smuggling Scams

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

There are reports of incidents where staff, or other customers at bars and nightclubs, have mixed drugs and copious amounts of alcohol into drinks of unsuspecting clients. These incidents are particularly frequent in the districts of Kabukicho and Roppongi in Tokyo. The intend is usually to defraud, overcharge services, rob or assault the person.

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. There have been incidents of overcharging at bars and clubs. Disputes over overcharging have led to violence.

Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements and contact your financial institution as soon as possible if irregularities

Overseas fraud

Women's safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Inappropriate physical contact may occur on busy subways and trains. There are women-only train cars during rush hour on some subway and train lines.

Advice for women travellers

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety are generally good throughout the country. However, roads may be narrow.

Japan Road Traffic Information Center (in Japanese)

Public transportation

Taxis are generally safe.

  • Use only officially marked taxis
  • Negotiate fares in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter, as you may be overcharged
  • Have your destination written in Japanese as drivers may not understand English

Taxis in Japan – Japan National Tourism Organization

Train and subway

Travel by subway and train is quick and convenient. Signs are usually in Japanese but signage in English is becoming more common, especially in larger cities and at tourist destinations.

General safety information

Emergency information and advice for tourists is available from the Japan National Tourism Organization .

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Japanese authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Japan. If you plan to travel to other countries in the region, check passport validity requirements for the countries you plan to visit.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to a maximum of 90 days Business visa: required Work visa: required Student visa: required 

You can’t apply for a business, work or student visa if you have already entered Japan as a tourist.

Business travellers need a visa if they are to receive compensation in addition to their regular salary for work carried out while in Japan.

Overstaying the 90-day, tourist visa-free limit or any other visa time limit is a criminal offence. If you overstay, you may be subject to fines and deportation, and you may be barred from re-entry to Japan.

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket, confirmed accommodations arrangements and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay.

Japanese officials will photograph and fingerprint visitors upon arrival. Exceptions may apply.

Immigration Services Agency of Japan

Registration

Japanese regulations require that visiting foreigners give detailed information when checking in at hotels or other lodging facilities.

Foreigners must also allow their passports to be photocopied.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children .

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 31 August, 2023
  • Mpox (monkeypox): Advice for travellers - 20 February, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a risk in some areas of this destination. It is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). It is spread to humans by the bite of infected ticks or occasionally when unpasteurized milk products are consumed.

Travellers to areas where TBE is found may be at higher risk  during April to November, and the risk is highest for people who hike or camp in forested areas.

Protect yourself from tick bites . The vaccine is not available in Canada. It may be available in the destination you are travelling to.

In this destination, rabies  may be present in some wildlife species, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. 

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who will be working directly with wildlife. 

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain.  It is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is very low for most travellers. Travellers at relatively higher risk may want to consider vaccination for JE prior to travelling.

Travellers are at higher risk if they will be:

  • travelling long term (e.g. more than 30 days)
  • making multiple trips to endemic areas
  • staying for extended periods in rural areas
  • visiting an area suffering a JE outbreak
  • engaging in activities involving high contact with mosquitos (e.g., entomologists)

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Typhoid   is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In this country, risk of  dengue  is sporadic. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

Health care is very good. Service is available throughout the country.

Services in English could be limited, especially in rural areas. The cost of health-care services is similar to Canada. As a foreigner, you will likely have to pay in advance or provide a document proving that the bill will be paid prior to discharge.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Health insurance for foreign workers

As a Canadian working in Japan, you must have medical and health services coverage for the duration of your stay. If not provided by your Japanese employer, you must subscribe to the national health insurance plan.

If you need to consult medical professionals, the following organizations can refer you to medical facilities with English and other foreign language-speaking staff: 

  • Japan National Tourism Organization  
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Medical Information Centre  (in Japanese)
  • AMDA International Medical Information Center

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

In many cases, arrested or detained suspects are denied oral or written communication with anyone other than their lawyer or a Canadian consular representative for an extended period.

If you are detained, even for a minor offence, you may be held without charge for up to 23 days. Police officers may begin their initial questioning before you see a lawyer. You could also be in detention for weeks or months during the investigation and legal proceedings.

  • Overview of the criminal law system in Japan
  • Arrest and detention

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. Japan has a zero-tolerance policy with respect to drugs, including recreational drugs and cannabis. Severe penalties are imposed for the possession of even a small quantity.

Medications

Certain medications are banned in Japan, including:

  • amphetamines
  • methamphetamines
  • pseudoephedrine

You may bring a one-month supply of prescription medication or a two-month supply of non-prescription medication into Japan, as long as the medication does not contain narcotics (including codeine). You cannot bring banned substances with you, even with a prescription.

You must have a doctor’s note that states your full name, address, the reason for use, and dosage, along with your prescribed medication. Local authorities may also request a detailed listing of the contents of the medication.

If you wish to bring in larger supplies of medication or bring in prescription medication that contains narcotics, you must apply in advance for import certification. You should do so several months prior to arrival.

Bringing medicines for personal use into Japan – Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Japanese law doesn't prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Japan.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Japan, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

Travellers with dual citizenship

If you acquire 2 or more citizenships at birth, you can keep them all, including Japanese citizenship, until the age of 18. At 18, you must choose between your Japanese citizenship or other citizenships within a 2-year period.

Japanese family law is different from Canadian family law.

In Japan, joint custody of a child after separation is not a legal option if one of the parents is a Japanese national. As a result, access rights for a non-custodial parent can be limited, if granted.

If you are involved in a custody or other family law dispute in Japan, consult a Japanese family lawyer.

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Japan.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Japan, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Japanese court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Japan to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

  • List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
  • International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
  • Travelling with children
  • The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Emergency Watch and Response Centre

Identification

You must carry your passport or residence card at all times.

A photocopy will not satisfy authorities. Police officers in Japan may ask for your identification documents at any time.

If you fail to do so, you could face arrest or detention.

Working in Japan

Working without an appropriate visa is illegal. Offenders may be subject to imprisonment, a fine and deportation.

If you are considering employment offers in Japan, contact the Japanese embassy or consulate nearest you before coming to Japan.

Foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada

Teaching English

You should carefully review a contract to teach English before you sign. There have been incidents of employers not adhering to their contractual obligations. 

Ensure that all terms and conditions of employment are clearly stated in the contract and that you meet all requirements before accepting an offer.  

More on teaching English in Japan

You may be denied entry to public establishments such as swimming pools, hot springs, beaches and some gyms if you have a tattoo.

Some establishments may ask that you cover your tattoo.

Traffic drives on the left.

You must carry an international driving permit along with your Canadian licence, or a Japanese driver’s licence.

International Driving Permit

You must also obtain Japanese insurance. There are two types of driving insurance available:

  • compulsory insurance, which is basic government-mandated insurance covering your legal liability
  • voluntary insurance, obtained on your own from a private company and designed for your needs

Should you have an accident, compulsory insurance may not be sufficient.

Drinking and driving

Penalties for drinking and driving are severe.

Under Japanese law, it’s forbidden to:

  • drive if you have been drinking
  • lend a car to someone who has been drinking
  • serve alcohol to someone who has to drive

If you are a passenger in a car whose driver is under the influence of alcohol, you both are subject to prosecution.

The currency of Japan is the yen (JPY).

Credit cards are accepted in most major hotels and restaurants, but Japan is a predominantly cash-based society.

ATMs are widely available, but many don’t accept foreign debit cards.

Earthquake in Ishikawa Prefecture

On January 1, 2024, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula in northern Ishikawa Prefecture. Landslides occurred and local infrastructure and buildings were damaged.

Running water and electricity remain unavailable in some areas, and local transportation services may be disrupted.

If you must travel in the affected areas:

  • exercise caution
  • monitor local media for updates on the situation

Earthquake information – Japan Meteorological Agency

Typhoons usually occur between June and October. During this period, even small storms can quickly develop into major typhoons. Southern areas, including Okinawa and surrounding islands, are more vulnerable.

These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.

If you decide to travel to Japan during the typhoon season:

  • know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
  • Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
  • Large-scale emergencies abroad
  • Japan Meteorological Agency

Seismic activity

Japan is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to a multitude of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, volcanic eruptions. Strong earthquakes occur, as well as tsunamis.

Earthquakes

Each year, Japan experiences thousands of earthquakes of varying magnitudes, some triggering tsunamis. Deaths, injuries and significant damage may occur.

Earthquakes  - Government of Canada

Japan is prone to tsunamis. A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.

Tsunami alerts  - U.S. Tsunami Warning System

There are a number of active volcanoes. The Japan Meteorological Agency lists active volcanoes and associated warnings.

If you are travelling near a volcano, check for the latest activity and warnings. Always follow the advice and instructions of local authorities.

Volcanic alert levels and warnings  - Japan Meteorological Agency

Seasonal risks

Snowstorms occur in western Honshu and Hokkaido from December to March.

Avalanches can occur in mountainous areas, including at ski resorts. These can cause power disruptions, make roads impassable and limit the ability of responders to reach these areas in case of emergency.

  • Information in case of natural disasters  - Japan National Tourism Organization

Local services

In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 110
  • medical assistance: 119
  • firefighters: 119

Consular assistance

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Japan, in Tokyo, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

When calling from within Japan, the area code is preceded by a 0. There is no 0 when calling from outside Japan. If placing a call to a cellular phone number, you do not need to enter the code.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

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Exercise normal safety precautions in Japan.

Higher levels apply in some areas.

Japan

Japan (PDF 460.84 KB)

Asia (PDF 2.21 MB)

Local emergency contacts

Fire and rescue services, medical emergencies.

Call 110 or contact the local police at the nearest police station.

For Tokyo English-speaking Police, call 3501 0110 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:15pm).

Advice levels

Reconsider your need to travel to the restricted areas near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

An earthquake occurred off the coast of Ishikawa Prefecture in Central Japan on 1 January. There is still extensive damage to infrastructure, including roads. There is a risk of aftershocks that could affect surrounding areas. If you are in Ishikawa, Toyama, Niigata, Fukui, Gifu, or Nagano prefectures, monitor the media and follow the advice of local authorities.

  • There's a constant risk of earthquakes and tsunamis throughout Japan. Know the dangers of  major earthquake  and emergency plans for your area from local or prefectural government offices. Know where your local shelter is. Move to higher ground immediately if you're in a coastal region after a major earthquake. Check the Disaster Prevention Portal for more information.
  • Regional tensions and the security situation, including with North Korea, could worsen with little warning. Tensions, which may affect Japan, could arise because of missile tests by North Korea. For advice see Japan's  Civil Protection Portal Site .
  • Japan has a low crime rate. Petty theft can happen, like bag snatching at popular tourist attractions. There's a risk of crime in bars and nightclubs. Crimes include overcharging, credit card fraud, drink spiking and assault. Avoid street sellers who try to get you into venues. Don't take large amounts of cash to bars, clubs or parties. Make sure you carry your credit card securely.
  • All major disaster warnings are published by the  Japan Meteorological Agency . We recommend downloading  NHK’s smart phone application  to keep up to date with a natural disaster or other emergency alerts.

Full travel advice: Safety

  • Japan has strict rules about bringing medicine into the country, including some ingredients in ADHD and cold and flu medication. If you plan on bringing in medication, check if it's legal before you travel. See the  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare  for more information.
  • Restricted zones exist around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The 2011 earthquake caused the release of lethal radiation. Radiation levels in most parts of Japan, including Tokyo, are within the normal range.
  • Medical facilities are of a high standard. You can find English-speaking medical staff in most major cities. You may need to pay upfront before you're treated.

Full travel advice: Health

  • You must carry your passport (or Japanese residency card) with you at all times.
  • Don't use or carry illegal drugs. Authorities can charge you if they find trace amounts of illegal drugs in your blood or urine.
  • Japanese family law, including divorce and child custody, is very different to Australian law. For example, joint custody of a child after divorce is not a legal option, and there are limits to access for a non-custodial parent. The Family Courts in Japan generally consider that it is in a child's best interests for them to remain in their "usual place of residence". Courts, therefore, usually give sole custody to the parent that has taken care of the child most recently. If you're involved in custody or other family disputes, it is important to seek legal advice about your options both in Japan and in Australia. We have produced some  general information about issues around custody, child abduction and parental rights.
  • Some employment agents mislead and encourage foreigners to work in Japan without the correct paperwork. If you want to work in Japan, verify the work offered and get the correct visa. Get legal advice before signing a contract.
  • Japan has strict alcohol laws. The legal drinking age is 20. It's illegal to drive with any alcohol in your bloodstream. Allowing someone who has been drinking to drive is also illegal. Laws restrict alcohol consumption in specific areas on certain days, such as in Shibuya on Halloween night (31 October) and New Year's Eve. Smoking on the street is illegal in Tokyo and some other cities.

Full travel advice: Local laws

  • Australians are eligible for Japan's visa exemption scheme for short-stay tourism and business travel. You don't need a visa to travel to Japan for up to 90 days. Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. You should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Japan for the latest details.
  • If you're travelling for any other reason, contact your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate to check if you need a visa, especially if you plan to work in Japan. Penalties may apply if you work in Japan on a tourist visa.
  • It's dangerous to climb Mount Fuji from September to June.
  • You can drive for up to 1 year with an Australian driver’s licence and an International Driving Permit. If you’re staying longer, get a local licence. Heavy snowfalls and ice in winter can make driving dangerous.

Full travel advice: Travel

Local contacts

  • The Consular Services Charter details what we can and can't do to help you overseas.
  • For consular help, contact the Australian Embassy in Tokyo   or the Consulate-General in  Osaka .
  • To stay up to date with local information, follow the Embassy’s social media accounts

Full travel advice: Local contacts

Full advice

Terrorism is a threat worldwide.

Japan has heightened security measures in place at key facilities, such as:

  • public transport
  • public event venues
  • entry ports

More information:

  • Terrorist threats

Regional Threats

Regional tensions and the security situation, including with North Korea, could worsen with little warning. Tensions, which may affect Japan, could arise because of missile tests by North Korea. 

The Japanese Government has confirmed an increase in missile launch activity from North Korea towards Japan. At times, 'take shelter' alerts have been issued for some parts of Japan.

To stay safe:

  • be alert to developments
  • review the  Civil Protection Portal Site  advice from the Japanese Cabinet Secretariat for National Security Affairs and Crisis Management
  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • check  NHK World  for the latest information

Japan has a low crime rate. Petty theft can happen, like bag snatching at popular tourist attractions from time to time.

There's a risk of crime in bars and nightclubs, especially in the Roppongi and Shinjuku (Kabuki-cho) entertainment areas of Tokyo. You may be targeted with:

  • overcharging
  • fraudulent credit card charges
  • drink spiking
  • illegal drugs

You may be served drinks with higher alcohol content than normal. Some victims have woken in unknown places and discovered high credit card charges. Other victims have been taken to ATMs and made to withdraw a large sum of cash while under the effects of drink spiking.

In these situations, you may find it hard to get a police report for your bank and travel insurer.

  • avoid street touts who try to get you into venues
  • never leave a drink unattended, and be cautious of accepting drinks from strangers or recent acquaintances
  • don't take large amounts of cash to parties, bars, clubs or entertainment districts and be careful with your credit card

Partying overseas

Cyber security

You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you’re connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth. 

Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions, or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media. 

More information:  

  • Cyber security when travelling overseas  

Mountain climbing and trekking

Trekking and mountaineering can be dangerous.

Every year, a number of people die while trying to climb Mount Fuji.

Japanese Emergency Services warn against climbing from September to June, when it's most dangerous.

Check your travel insurance covers you for extreme activities, such as mountain climbing.

Bears have been seen in some areas of northern Japan.

If you plan to trek in the Japanese Alps:

  • read and follow local safety advice
  • obey warning notices on hiking trails

Snow sport safety

Back-country skiing (off-piste) and snowboarding in most parts of Japan is dangerous. You should stay within the boundaries of the ski resort. 

Many travellers have suffered serious head injuries they could've prevented by wearing the right equipment.

Check your insurance policy covers you for snow sports.

Local ski resorts govern rules in each ski region. You can be arrested and detained for unruly behaviour.

If you're skiing in Japan:

  • use a helmet and protective gear
  • learn local rules and get weather updates from your hotel, a local tourism centre or the local ski resort
  • obey local ski region rules
  • only visit areas that local authorities mark as safe
  • know what your travel insurance policy covers you for

Climate and natural disasters

Japan experiences natural disasters and severe weather , including:

  • volcanic eruptions
  • earthquakes

In an emergency, consular help may be severely limited.

Be prepared to deal with emergencies by:

  • maintaining a basic emergency supply kit
  • securing your passport in a safe, waterproof place
  • follow the advice of local authorities, emergency services and local media updates. Make sure you react to any evacuation orders.

Disaster preparation

The Japan National Tourism Organization provides disaster preparation  Safety Tips  for visitors to Japan and other useful emergency information.

In any emergency or crisis, it's important to keep in contact with family and friends if possible.

The following stations broadcast emergency information in English:

  • US Armed Forces station (810 AM)
  • Inter FM (76.1 FM) in Tokyo

Japanese public broadcaster NHK provides a free smartphone app , which can be set to receive emergency notifications in English. This includes earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, typhoon, and missile warnings.

If there's a natural disaster:

  • follow local authorities' advice
  • react to any evacuation orders
  • monitor the media, other local information sources, and the  Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • keep in contact with family and friends

Earthquakes and tsunamis

There's a constant risk of earthquakes and tsunamis.

The Japan Meteorological Agency  provides information in English about earthquakes and tsunamis.

Know the dangers of a major earthquake and the emergency plan information in your area. Know where your local shelter is. This information is available from local or prefectural government offices, such as the  Tokyo Metropolitan Government Disaster Prevention .

Local authorities are responsible during a crisis for helping people living or travelling within their jurisdictions.

If there's an earthquake:

  • know the emergency evacuation plans in your region
  • identify your local shelter, which is often a local school or another public facility
  • check the  Japan Meteorological Agency  for earthquake and tsunami information
  • move to higher ground straight away if you're in a coastal region

Typhoons and severe weather

The typhoon season is from May to November, with most activity between July and September.

Local authorities broadcast current typhoon information through the local media and the Japan Meteorological Agency website.

A typhoon's precise path and strength is hard to predict and can change quickly.

If there's a typhoon:

  • check the latest typhoon information from the  Japan Meteorological Agency’s  website
  • be alert to landslide risk areas

If there is heavy rain, stay indoors. If necessary, evacuate to a place on the second floor or higher.    Find out the location of your nearest evacuation shelter and move there when safe to do so.

Keep away from areas with:

  • steep hills at risk of landslides
  • flooded streets

Be careful of fallen electrical lines.

Japan has 110 active volcanoes.

The Japan Meteorological Agency  has a list of the latest volcano warnings.

If you plan to visit a volcanic area:

  • be aware of alert levels, which can change at short notice
  • follow the advice of local authorities

Winter weather

Parts of Japan experience heavy snowfalls and extremely low temperatures in winter.

Conditions can change suddenly.

Each year, people are injured or killed in snow-related incidents, including:

  • motor vehicle accidents
  • ice falling from roofs
  • prolonged exposure to extreme cold
  • ski accidents

Walking alone or under the effects of alcohol, or straying from marked trails, can be fatal.

Avalanches are common and heavy snowstorms can create deep powder snow drifts.

Travel insurance

Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave.

Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.

If you are travelling while pregnant, confirm that your policy covers both your pregnancy and your baby in the event of a premature birth. Medical services for premature babies can cost over $A 150,000. See the  advice for pregnant travellers  page for more information.

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.

If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.

  • what activities and care your policy covers
  • that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

See your doctor or travel clinic to:

  • have a basic health check-up
  • ask if your travel plans may affect your health
  • plan any vaccinations you need

Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.

If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your  nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate  to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.

Different environments, unfamiliar customs and language barriers may worsen existing mental health conditions. They may also trigger new issues.

Mental health treatment and services can differ to those in Australia.

If you need counselling services in English while in Japan:

  • call TELL Lifeline (+81 3) 5774 0992
  • call TELL Counselling (+81 3) 4550 1146
  • General health advice
  • Healthy holiday tips  (HealthDirect Australia)

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Japan has strict rules about bringing medication into the country. This affects both medication imports and medication you carry for personal use.

There are 4  categories (PDF 250 KB) of medicine. These are:

  • psychotropic

You may need a permit or certificate to take medication into Japan. This will depend on the medication's classification, name and quantity.

Some medication is banned, including:

  • the stimulant dexamphetamine, used to treat ADHD
  • pseudoephedrine, found in some cold and flu tablets

Authorities could detain you if you're found with them.

For narcotic medications, including codeine, morphine and oxycodone, apply for a Narcotic Certificate. If you don't have this certificate when you enter Japan, authorities may confiscate the medication.

If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Japan. Take enough legal medication for your trip. See the  Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare  for more information.

Carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating:

  • what the medication is
  • your required dosage
  • that it's for personal use
  • Bringing medication into Japan
  • Pharmaceutical inspector

Health risks

Restricted areas exist around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. The 2011 earthquake caused the release of lethal radiation. Radiation levels in most parts of Japan, including Tokyo, are within the normal range.

Monitor advice by the Japanese Government . There are ID checks points into the Restricted Areas . Do not enter without permission.

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) provides details on radiation in Japan. ARPANSA has assessed the radiation levels in most parts of Japan, including Tokyo, to be within the normal range.

  • Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
  • Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • Nuclear Regulation Authority

Insect-borne diseases

Japanese encephalitis occurs in Japan's rural areas. Get vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis before you travel.

To protect yourself from disease:

  • make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
  • use insect repellent
  • wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing

Measles and rubella

Measles and rubella cases have been reported in Japan in recent years.

Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you travel.

  • Infectious diseases
  • Measles immunisation service
  • Rubella immunisation service

Medical care

Medical facilities.

Medical facilities are of a high standard. You can find medical facilities with English-speaking staff in most major cities, however, you may have difficulties finding English-speaking medical staff in some parts of Japan.

Medical care in Japan can be expensive. You may need to pay up-front or give a guarantee that you'll cover costs before you're treated.

The Japan National Tourism Organization lists hospitals with English and other foreign language-speaking staff.

There are many hospitals with decompression chambers in areas where diving is popular.

Medical information for Japan

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you within the scope of our  Consular Services Charter . But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

See the  Australian Embassy Tokyo website  for more information about arrests in Japan.

Be aware that you won't be allowed to make a phone call if you are arrested in Japan. You can also be detained for up to 23 days without any formal charge.

Authorities can arrest and charge you if they find trace amounts of illegal drugs in your blood or urine.

  • Carrying or using drugs
  • Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Japanese family law, including divorce and child custody, is very different to Australian law. For example, joint custody of a child after divorce is not a legal option, and there are limits to access for a non-custodial parent. The Family Courts in Japan generally consider that it is in a child’s best interests for them to remain in their “usual place of residence”. Courts therefore usually give sole custody to the parent that has taken care of the child most recently.

If you're involved in custody or other family disputes, consult a lawyer before you leave Australia or if you are already in Japan. We have produced some general information about issues around custody, child abduction and parental rights. 

Australia and Japan are both parties to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

If you're concerned that your child has been wrongfully removed or detained in Japan, contact the Attorney-General's Department in Australia.

Travelling with children

Employment law

Some employment agents may mislead and encourage foreigners to work in Japan without:

  • the correct visa
  • financial arrangements in place

This could leave you open to exploitation and prosecution.

Authorities have arrested Australians for working in the entertainment industry while in Japan on tourist visas.

If you want to travel to Japan for work:

  • check the true nature of the work offered
  • get the correct visa before arriving in Japan
  • get legal advice before signing any contract

Living or working overseas

Police powers

Police can stop you on the street, demand identification and search you and your belongings.

If you're in a public place, police can seize:

  • knives longer than 5.5cm, including blades and penknives
  • any other weapons or things you could use as weapons
  • any item they reasonably suspect you stole or have unlawfully

If they find any of these items on you, it’s likely that police will detain you.

If you're arrested, police can detain you for up to 23 days without charge, including for offences you might think are minor. Police might hold you for weeks or months while they investigate and undertake legal proceedings.

The initial police interview could last several hours. Police might record it in writing rather than electronically.

Under Japanese law, you can:

  • remain silent
  • access legal representation
  • have an interpreter provided

However, in Japan police can question you without your lawyer present.

English interpreters may be substandard. Get a  list of English-speaking lawyers around Japan from the Australian Embassy website.

If you're visiting Japan short-term as a tourist or for business, you must always carry your passport.

If you live in Japan, you must always carry your residence card.

It's illegal to:

  • buy or drink alcohol if you're under 20 years old
  • drive with any alcohol in your bloodstream
  • allow someone under the influence of alcohol to drive a vehicle in which you're a passenger

The following activities are also illegal:

  • importing or possessing firearms or other weapons without a permit.
  • smoking on the streets in some parts of Tokyo and other cities.
  • using UHF-CB radios (walkie-talkies) that don't meet Japanese standards, such as those purchased outside Japan.
  • resisting arrest or other actions that obstruct an official's duties.
  • flying a drone without a permit in many areas of Japan. Strict regulations apply under aviation laws .
  • having illegal drugs in your body (detected by urine testing).
  • drinking on the streets on specific days, such as around Shibuya on Halloween and New Year's Eve.

Penalties for serious crimes, such as murder, include the death penalty.

Other sentences can include:

  • heavy fines
  • lengthy jail terms with hard labour
  • deportation

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.

  • Staying within the law

Dual citizenship

Japan recognises dual nationality until the age of 20, after which the dual national must decide which nationality to retain.

Dual nationals

Visas and border measures

Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. 

Australians are eligible for Japan's visa exemption scheme for short-stay tourism and business travel.

You don't need a visa if you're visiting for less than 90 days:

  • as a tourist
  • for a business trip or conference
  • to visit friends and family

After entering under the visa exemption scheme, entry status cannot be changed to another visa status without departing and then re-entering Japan with the appropriate visa, such as a spouse, work, or study visa.

See the  Embassy of Japan in Australia website  for more information (including eligibility and required documents). 

See the Ministry for Health, Labour and Welfare and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs websites for full details on entry requirements. 

More information

  • Immigration Bureau of Japan  (Government of Japan)
  • Customs and Tariff Bureau of Japan  (Government of Japan)

Border measures

If you're transiting through Japan and your onward flight is leaving from a different airport, you must enter Japan. In order to transit between airports you will need to meet the entry requirements detailed above.

Please confirm any questions about transit directly with your airline.

Other formalities

You'll be photographed and fingerprinted electronically when you arrive, even if you're a permanent resident in Japan. If you refuse, immigration officers could deny you entry.

Travellers aged under 16 years, or who hold a diplomatic or official visa, are exempt.

If you'll be staying in Japan long term, you will need to register your details with the  Immigration Bureau of Japan  before arriving. Once you present the correct landing permission, you'll get a residence card. You must always carry it with you.

Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication

Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.

Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.

You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.

The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport .

Lost or stolen passport

Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.

Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:

  • in Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service .
  • if you're overseas, contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate .

If you lose your passport while travelling in Japan, try retracing your steps. Lost items are often handed into hotels, shop owners, train stations and police boxes.

It's important to look after your passport carefully. Passports that have gone through a washing machine or exposed to heavy rain will likely need to be replaced. 

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Japan is finally releasing a digital nomad visa – but it's far from 'easy'

A person uses a mobile phone to film the shopping street at Asakusa district near Sensoji Temple, a popular tourist location, in Tokyo on January 18, 2024 (Credit: Getty Images)

Japan's Immigration Services Agency just announced it will start issuing its long-anticipated digital nomad visa within the next few weeks. According to the Japan Times , the visa will be available to nationals of 49 countries, a list that includes the United Kingdom and the United States. Once obtained, visa holders can legally live and work remotely from anywhere in the country for up to six months.

It has come as welcome news to the global digital nomad community, with the announcement garnering plenty of praise in online communities such as Reddit's r/DigitalNomad sub and hundreds more comments on the social platform's r/Japan page . However, would-be digital nomads have been quick to point out that, like many new digital nomad visas, this one comes with some rather hefty requirements for eligibility.

As Japan Times reported, applicants must show they earn a minimum income of ¥10 million (about £54,356 or $66,622). Applicants must also hold private health insurance, and visa holders will not be allowed to obtain a residence card. The visa expires after six months and is not eligible for renewal. Although it comes with steep terms, the visa is likely to be a popular one. It's the result of a survey of digital nomads, who overwhelmingly indicated they'd prefer to be able to stay longer than the current, 90-day visa-free tourist stays allow.

And why not allow for an extended stay? After all, Japan ranked as the fastest-growing remote working hub in 2023, according to data shared with CNBC by Nomad List , a website for remote workers, which analysed more than 300,000 check-ins on its database. 

The eligibility requirements are quite strict and difficult to meet for the average digital nomad – Brittany Loeffler

But, beyond simply providing supply for the growing demand, Japan is also likely hoping to cash in on the economic benefits that can come with digital nomads moving in. As the BBC previously reported , a 2023 survey by Carlos Grider estimates that digital nomads contribute nearly $800bn to the global economy annually. A lot of that cash was flowing to places such as Portugal and its neighbouring nation of Spain. The former was home to nearly 16,000 digital nomads in December 2023, according to Nomad List , thanks to its Golden Visa residency program for expats looking to make Portugal a permanent home – plus a newly launched digital nomad visa of its own . As for Spain, VisaGuide.World named the country the top destination for nomads thanks to its visa's low barrier of entry , requiring proof of income at just €2,600 (£2,225, $2,394) per month, which equates to less than half the yearly salary Japan will soon require. Japan's high-income requirement also appears to be a trend across several countries in Asia that are dipping their toes in the digital nomad visa waters.

"To be honest, it doesn't seem that Asia is introducing 'easy' digital nomad visas," says Brittany Loeffler, the head of operations at Nomad Embassy , a website that helps nomads obtain the proper visas. "They are requiring higher salaries compared to Europe's digital nomad visas or have strict requirements for the nature of their remote work."

Additionally, Loeffler says that Southeast Asia has become an especially popular destination for digital nomads "due to the affordable cost of living, reliable wi-fi and great weather" but that the entry barrier might be too high for some people. "When there was news that Thailand had released a digital nomad visa (officially known as the Long-Term Residence Visa), the community was very excited," she says. "Unfortunately, the eligibility requirements are quite strict and difficult to meet for the average digital nomad." 

For its own digital nomad visa, Thailand requires proof of income of at least $80,000 (£63,576) annually for the past two years (Credit: Getty)

For its own digital nomad visa, Thailand requires proof of income of at least $80,000 (£63,576) annually for the past two years (Credit: Getty)

Those requirements for Thailand include showing proof of income of at least $80,000 (£63,576) annually for the two years prior to the visa application date, and a minimum of $1 million in assets. But even with these higher barriers to entry, the country believes the visa could bolster the local economy. As the Thai Embassy explains, the visa "is believed to help boost economic development and stimulate overseas investment in the country, particularly in this post-pandemic phase. Through this special visa, the government hopes to bring in one million eligible foreigners over the next five years."

"There is huge potential for digital nomads to help local economies – think tourism spending, but for weeks or months at a time," Loeffler says. "Digital nomad visas are an excellent way for countries to boost their economies as they invite digital nomads to live in the country for a year and not have to worry about them taking jobs from citizens and residents. Instead, they earn their income overseas and spend it in the local economy where they hold the digital nomad visa."

Loeffler, however, is aware that these visas can be problematic for locals. "There is a downside to inviting digital nomads to a country, as we have seen in Lisbon, Portugal. Real estate prices skyrocket, making renting or buying a home in popular areas more difficult for the residents of that country. As landlords realise digital nomads can pay two or three times [the] rent each month, they are raising prices and the rest of the market is following." The same could hold true for major cities in Japan, like Tokyo, which has also experienced its own surge in housing prices even without the added pressures of the new visa. 

"To be honest, it doesn't seem that Asia is introducing 'easy' digital nomad visas," says Brittany Loeffler of Nomad Embassy (Credit: Getty)

"To be honest, it doesn't seem that Asia is introducing 'easy' digital nomad visas," says Brittany Loeffler of Nomad Embassy (Credit: Getty)

Even still, that post-pandemic economic afterglow is likely to benefit Japan’s inbound tourism recovery plan (of which the new visa is a part) that was set forth by prime minister Fumio Kishida and unveiled in May 2023 . But, like Thailand, the high barriers might see some digital nomads forgoing the visa in favour of what is known as " visa runs ": staying as long as possible on a tourist visa, leaving the country to reset the clock and entering again on their tourist visa.

"Thailand is particularly hard because most people are there on an education visa [that] enables you to stay for six months or one year, or are there on a tourist visa and coming in and out doing visa runs," says Evelina Krusinskaite , a 28-year-old digital nomad living in and out of Thailand. "It's a bit of a pain because Thailand's a great place to be."

Krusinskaite was on a visa run back to her home in Ireland as we spoke but was already plotting her return back to Thailand, specifically to Chiang Mai, often touted as the "Digital Nomad Capital" of the world. While her move began under a working visa as a visiting English teacher, Krusinskaite explains she fell so in love with the city that, for now, she can't wait to go back.

"I absolutely love Thailand," she says. "People there are so kind."

Though in true digital nomad form, when asked if she'll continue this lifestyle of getting to live and work from anywhere forever, Krusinskaite refused to commit. She says, "Forever is a very long time."

Ready to start a digital nomad life in Asia? Here are three other nations offering either a digital nomad visa or something close to it – and what they require.

Malaysia currently offers a digital nomad visa that allows people to stay in the country for up to one year. Applicants must have a valid passport; work remotely for their company; work in a "digital domain" such as IT, content creation or digital marketing; and show proof of income of at least $24,000 (£19,067) a year. Nomads must also show proof of health insurance.

In January 2024, South Korea began offering its digital nomad visa that allows travellers to stay for up to two years. Applicants must also hold a valid passport, work remotely, show proof of income of at least $66,000 (£52,435) a year and hold valid international health insurance. 

In 2023, the Philippines released its digital nomad visa , allowing travellers to spend up to 12 months in country. Those wishing to use the visa must show a proof of income of at least $24,000 a year (£19,050) and proof of health insurance. The nation is debating extending the visa for up to 24 months. 

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Volume 29, Number 3—March 2023

SARS-CoV-2 Incubation Period during the Omicron BA.5–Dominant Period in Japan

Cite This Article

The mean virus incubation period during the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.5–dominant period in Japan was 2.6 (95% CI 2.5–2.8) days, which was less than during the Delta-dominant period. Incubation period correlated with shared meals and adult infectors. A shorter incubation suggests a shorter quarantine period for BA.5 than for other variants.

BA.5 is a subvariant of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant ( 1 ). Since July 2022, Omicron BA.5 has been the dominant variant in Japan ( 2 , 3 ). According to Japan’s Infectious Diseases Control Law, public health centers (PHCs) must be notified of all COVID-19 cases and conduct contact tracing ( 4 ). The first patient infected with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.5 was reported on July 4, 2022, to the Itako PHC in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases from July 4 through August 19, 2022, was 12,577 in the PHC’s jurisdiction, which has a population of ≈265,000 persons ( 5 ). In our study, we estimated the incubation period (period between virus exposure and symptom onset) of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.5, determined potential correlations with demographic data and transmission settings, and compared the BA.5 subvariant with other subvariants.

We enrolled COVID-19 infector/infectee pairs who lived within the Itako PHC jurisdiction and had a single definite close contact date with patients who had COVID-19 without other potential transmission settings. We calculated the incubation period by using the calendar dates of contact and symptom onset, regardless of duration or number of contacts. If a pair shared meals on July 4 and the infectee had COVID-19 symptoms on July 7, we calculated an incubation period of 3 days. If the pair shared meals on both July 4 and 5, we excluded all data from this pair. Other transmission settings included conversations in the home, a building or car, or outdoors. Procedures used for contact tracing and data collection for patient pairs with COVID-19 were similar to those described previously ( 6 , 7 ). Persons exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in household, workplace, or school settings were excluded if they might have been exposed at another time. We defined the patient with the later symptom onset in each pair as the infected patient.

We defined patients in the Omicron BA.5–dominant period as those who had symptoms during July 4–August 19, 2022. Genomic sequencing of 528 samples collected in Ibaraki showed 481 (91%) samples were BA.5, 40 were BA.2, and 7 were BA.1 subvariants. We defined patients in the BA.1–dominant period as those who had symptom onset during January 1–February 2, 2022. Of the 1,216 samples collected during January 3–February 6 in Ibaraki, a total of 1,158 (95%) were negative for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein mutation L452R ( 8 ). Genomic sequencing showed that 92% of 22,953 variants of concern sampled in Japan during January 3–February 6 were BA.1 ( 9 ). We defined patients in the Delta-dominant period as those who had symptom onset during July 23–September 14, 2021, and either they or their contacts were confirmed to have L452R-positive SARS-CoV-2. Genomic sequencing detected variants of concern in Japan from July 19–September 13, 2001, as follows: 26,963 cases of B.1.617.2 (Delta), 15,009 cases of B.1.1.7 (Alpha), and 5 cases of other variants ( 9 ); the L452R mutation was found mostly in the Delta variant.

We extracted data for 266 infector/infectee pairs who had 1 definite date of SARS-CoV-2 exposure as follows: 122 infectees from 108 infectors during the Omicron BA.5–dominant period, 68 infectees from 49 infectors during the BA.1–dominant period, and 76 infectees from 51 infectors during the Delta-dominant period. Patient data during the BA.1–dominant and Delta-dominant periods were obtained from previous studies ( 6 , 7 ). The mean ( + SD) incubation periods were 2.6 ( + 1.0) days during the BA.5–dominant period, 2.9 ( + 1.3) days during the BA.1–dominant period, and 3.7 ( + 1.6) days during the Delta-dominant period.

When we fitted incubation period data from the BA.5–dominant period to parametric distribution models, the Akaike information criterion for gamma distribution was smaller than that for Gaussian, lognormal, and Weibull distribution models. We fitted incubation period data for each subvariant to the gamma distribution model and calculated parameters and 95% CI within a Bayesian inference framework.

Probability densities for incubation period distribution during different SARS-CoV-2 variant-dominant periods in study of SARS-CoV-2 incubation period during the Omicron BA.5–dominant period in Japan. A–C) Histograms show probability densities for estimated gamma distribution of virus incubation periods for patients during the Omicron BA.5–dominant period (A), Omicron BA.1–dominant period (B), and Delta-dominant period (C). D) Comparison of probability densities for estimated gamma distribution of virus incubation periods among patients during the BA.5-dominant period (solid line), BA.1–dominant period (short-dashed line), and Delta-dominant period (long-dashed line).

Figure . Probability densities for incubation period distribution during different SARS-CoV-2 variant-dominant periods in study of SARS-CoV-2 incubation period during the Omicron BA.5–dominant period in Japan. A–C) Histograms show probability densities for...

The estimated mean incubation period for patients during the BA.5–dominant period was 2.6 (95% CI 2.5–2.8) days, and the median was 2.5 (95% CI 2.3–2.7) days. The mean during the BA.1–dominant period was 2.9 (95% CI 2.6–3.2) days, and the median was 2.7 (95% CI 2.5–3.0) days. During the Delta-dominant period, the mean incubation period was 3.7 (3.4–4.0) days, and the median was 3.5 (3.2–3.8) days. The estimated mean incubation period was shorter for patients during the BA.5–dominant period than during the Delta-dominant period. The 95th percentile distribution for incubation period was estimated at 4.5 (95% CI 4.1–4.9) days during the BA.5–dominant period, 5.2 (95% CI 4.6–5.9) days during the BA.1–dominant period, and 6.1 (95% CI 5.5–6.8) days during the Delta-dominant period ( Table 1 ; Figure ).

We estimated the monovariable mean incubation period of 122 patients during the BA.5–dominant period. The mean incubation period was 2.5 days for patients infected during shared meals, 2.9 days for patients without transmission during shared meals, 3.0 days for patients with infectors who were < 19 years of age, and 2.5 days for patients with infectors who were > 20 years of age (2.6 days for 79 patients with infectors who were 20–59 years of age and 2.1 days for 16 patients with infectors who were > 60 years of age). We performed multivariate gamma regression analyses; transmission during shared meals (p = 0.03) and age of infector (p = 0.007) correlated significantly with incubation period ( Table 2 ).

Conclusions

The estimated mean incubation period for patients during the Omicron BA.5–dominant period in this region was 2.6 days. Incubation periods for Omicron BA.1 were reported to be 3.3 days in Norway, 4.6 days in South Korea, 3.2 days in the Netherlands, 3.1 days in Spain, and 2.9 days in Japan ( 6 , 10 , 11 ); incubation period for BA.2 was 4.4 days in Hong Kong ( 12 ).

Reports on incubation periods for BA.5 are sparse. The incubation period in this study for patients during the BA.5–dominant period was markedly shorter than that for patients during the Delta-dominant period; this result is supported by those from previous studies ( 10 , 11 ). The 95th percentile distribution for incubation period among patients during the BA.5–dominant period appeared shorter than that during the BA.1–dominant period, although the difference was not statistically significant. Our results might warrant a reduction of the quarantine period from 7 to 5 days during the BA.5–dominant period in Japan ( 13 ).

The incubation period was shorter among patients who had transmission occur during shared meals and those with adult infectors. The incubation period might be influenced by various factors, such as viral load, environmental setting, patient immune response, severity of disease, and selection biases. Infectees exposed while eating do not normally wear masks and may share longer exposure times, so they might be exposed to a higher viral load than those exposed through conversations while wearing a mask. Exposure in restaurants has been shown to increase COVID-19 infection risk ( 14 ). Furthermore, children usually have mild symptoms, and average viral shedding might be less than that of an adult ( 15 ).

The first limitation of our study is that the infector and infectee might have been mutually misclassified, leading to overestimation. Second, patient pairs with long incubation periods might be censored during observational periods, and selection bias might result in underestimation. Third, exposures from sources other than the infector of the pair might have been missed. Fourth, the incubation period was calculated by the calendar date and not by real-time intervals. Fifth, the variant type was not confirmed by using genomic sequencing. Finally, increasing patient numbers might have influenced the quality of contact tracing by the PHC.

In summary, our results indicate that the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.5 subvariant has a shorter incubation period than other variants. Shorter incubation time for this variant suggests the quarantine period could be reduced.

Dr. Ogata has been engaged in the field of public health for 40 years as a medical officer and is the director of the Itako Public Health Center. His interests focus on evaluating data on and responding to epidemics in the Itako PHC jurisdiction and Japan.

Acknowledgment

We thank the staff of the Itako Public Health Center, Ibaraki Prefectural Institute of Public Health, and government of Ibaraki Prefecture for their contributions to our study.

  • World Health Organization . Tracking SARS-CoV-2 variants [ cited 2022 Aug 31 ]. https://www.who.int/en/activities/tracking-SARS-CoV-2-variants
  • National Institute of Infectious Diseases . Current situation of infection, Aug 10, 2022 [ cited 2022 Aug 31 ]. https://www.niid.go.jp/niid/en/2019-ncov-e/11411-covid19-ab94th-en.html
  • Ministry of Health . Labor and Welfare. Visualizing the data: information on COVID-19 infections [ cited 2022 Aug 31 ]. https://covid19.mhlw.go.jp
  • National Institute of Infectious Diseases . Manual for active epidemiological surveillance of patients with novel coronavirus infection [ cited 2022 Aug 31 ]. https://www.niid.go.jp/niid/en/2019-ncov-e/2484-idsc/9472-2019-ncov-02-en.html
  • Ibaraki Prefectural Government . Outbreak status of patients with new coronavirus infection in the prefecture (in Japanese) [ cited 2022 Aug 31 ]. https://www.pref.ibaraki.jp/1saigai/2019-ncov/shiryouteikyou.html
  • Tanaka  H , Ogata  T , Shibata  T , Nagai  H , Takahashi  Y , Kinoshita  M , et al. Shorter incubation period among COVID-19 cases with the BA.1 Omicron variant. Int J Environ Res Public Health . 2022 ; 19 : 6330 . DOI PubMed Google Scholar
  • Ogata  T , Tanaka  H , Irie  F , Hirayama  A , Takahashi  Y . Shorter incubation period among unvaccinated Delta variant coronavirus disease 2019 patients in Japan. Int J Environ Res Public Health . 2022 ; 19 : 1127 . DOI PubMed Google Scholar
  • Ibaraki Prefectural Government . Status of new coronavirus tests (Prefectural Institute of Public Health and Mito City Health Center inspections) (in Japanese) [ cited 2022 Aug 31 ]. https://www.pref.ibaraki.jp/hokenfukushi/eiken/kikaku/covid-19_ibarakieiken_kensa.html
  • Ministry of Health . Labour and Welfare. Materials of the Advisory Board for Countermeasures against novel coronavirus infections (66th–80th) [in Japanese] [ cited 2022 Aug 31 ]. https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/0000121431_00333.html
  • Du  Z , Liu  C , Wang  L , Bai  Y , Lau  EHY , Wu  P et al. Shorter serial intervals and incubation periods in SARS-CoV-2 variants than the SARS-CoV-2 ancestral strain. J Travel Med. 2022 ;29:taac052.
  • Wu  Y , Kang  L , Guo  Z , Liu  J , Liu  M , Liang  W . Incubation period of COVID-19 caused by unique SARS-CoV-2 strains: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Netw Open . 2022 ; 5 : e2228008 . DOI PubMed Google Scholar
  • Mefsin  YM , Chen  D , Bond  HS , Lin  Y , Cheung  JK , Wong  JY , et al. Epidemiology of Infections with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.2 Variant, Hong Kong, January-March 2022. Emerg Infect Dis . 2022 ; 28 : 1856 – 8 . DOI PubMed Google Scholar
  • Ministry of Health Labor and Welfare . The identification of close contacts, restrictions of behavior, and implementation of contact tracing by each transmission setting based on the characteristics of the B.1.1.529 (Omicron variant) while it is the mainstream (in Japanese) [ cited 2022 Aug 31 ]. https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/000968056.pdf
  • Fisher  KA , Tenforde  MW , Feldstein  LR , Lindsell  CJ , Shapiro  NI , Files  DC , et al. ; IVY Network Investigators ; CDC COVID-19 Response Team . CDC COVID-19 Response Team. Community and close contact exposures associated with COVID-19 among symptomatic adults > 18 years in 11 outpatient health care facilities—United States, July 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep . 2020 ; 69 : 1258 – 64 . DOI PubMed Google Scholar
  • Chen  PZ , Bobrovitz  N , Premji  ZA , Koopmans  M , Fisman  DN , Gu  FX . SARS-CoV-2 shedding dynamics across the respiratory tract, sex, and disease severity for adult and pediatric COVID-19. eLife . 2021 ; 10 : e70458 . DOI PubMed Google Scholar
  • Figure . Probability densities for incubation period distribution during different SARS-CoV-2 variant-dominant periods in study of SARS-CoV-2 incubation period during the Omicron BA.5–dominant period in Japan. A–C) Histograms show probability densities...
  • Table 1 . Estimated overall mean incubation periods and means within percentiles for Omicron and Delta variants in study of SARS-CoV-2 incubation period during the Omicron BA.5-dominant period in Japan
  • Table 2 . Correlations between incubation period and different patient characteristics in study of SARS-CoV-2 incubation period during the Omicron BA.5-dominant period in Japan

DOI: 10.3201/eid2903.221360

Original Publication Date: January 31, 2023

Table of Contents – Volume 29, Number 3—March 2023

Please use the form below to submit correspondence to the authors or contact them at the following address:

Tsuyoshi Ogata, Itako Public Health Center of Ibaraki Prefectural Government, Osu1446-1, Itako, Ibaraki, 311-2422, Japan; e-mail: [email protected]

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Everything we know about Japan’s new six-month digital nomad visa

John Walton

Feb 16, 2024 • 4 min read

A tourist carrying a camera asks for directions in Tokyo, Japan

Pack up your laptop and make use of Japan's new digital nomad visa © monzenmachi / Getty Images

If working remotely in Japan for six months as a digital nomad sounds like your idea of heaven, we have some good news. Whether you want to get cosy in a tiny Tokyo apartment, go full Totoro in an old house in the countryside or something in between, Japan's new digital nomad visa program is the perfect way to do it on your terms. Lonely Planet's resident Japan expert John Walton digs into what we know so far.

The details of Japan’s 90-day digital nomad visa are still somewhat fluid since most of the information available is coming from social media posts by Imaeda Soichiro ; by Japan's Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture & Science (MEXT);  Unseen Japan ; the Japan Digital Nomad Association ; and the Japan Times . Imaeda notes that the government will be listening to feedback during a period of public consultation throughout February, and then expects to launch the program in March 2024.

Imaeda suggests the program is likely to be a six-months-in, six-months-out system, with eligibility resetting six months after the digital nomad departs Japan. I’d expect the detail of this to eventually state 90 days rather than six months, largely for purposes of where your tax residency ends up (see below).

Details of how to apply and what documentation will be required have not yet been published – keep an eye on Japan’s Immigration Services Agency for more details.

A woman working on her laptop outside a guesthouse in Japan

Passport-holders of visa-exempt countries with tax treaties can apply, but you won’t be an official Japanese resident

Eligibility for the digital nomad visa looks set to be aligned with passports issued by countries that are part of Japan's  visa-free stay program . That includes the US and Canada, the EU, several other European countries, Australia and New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong, and many more.

Imaeda notes that a secondary requirement is for the passport holder’s country to also have a tax treaty with Japan , which is standard to avoid double taxation. The lists are different in some ways (Lesotho, Barbados and a few other countries don’t appear on the tax treaty list, for example) so do check your eligibility carefully.

Note that you won’t be eligible for resident records, which likely means that you won’t be establishing Japanese tax residency either. You’ll also need to have private health insurance.

It’s aimed at high-income remote workers, with a ¥10 million salary requirement

Imaeda highlights that an income of ¥10 million – around US$68,000 or €62,000 of income at the time of writing – will be required for the program. There’s little detail available on this topic but I’d expect digital nomads will have to prove this through forward-looking contracts and/or past-year documentation.

Only certain kinds of workers will be eligible, largely to prevent the digital nomad visa from being used as an end-run around Japan’s immigration system.

Specifically, he mentions that the visa is for contracted workers remunerated by foreign public or private organizations. For sole proprietors (in other words, independents and freelancers), Imaeda states that they will need to have concluded a contract with a non-Japanese public or private company, and from the sounds of it this will need to be done before applying rather than afterward.

Keep an eye out for details about whether spouses and children are eligible in some cases – there's a lot of conflicting information around this point of concern. In particular, LGBTIQ+ travelers hoping to bring families along should read the details carefully when they are published: Japan does not have nationwide marriage equality or civil partnership registers for same-sex couples. Some municipal and prefectural bodies do operate couple registries – but these are unlikely to have an impact on immigration matters.

A young Black woman using her smartphone on the street in Tokyo, Japan

Your passport may already mean you can work for three months in Japan

If all this sounds a little complicated, or you’d like to wait and see how it all works out in practice, an easier option might be to try a three-month visa exemption in Japan. This is already available for quite a few countries and it permits tourism and business travel.

Most travelers with a passport from one of the 70 countries on the eligibility list  are already granted a 90-day (so just under three months) visa exemption on landing – that’s the little sticker that goes into your passport when you arrive in Japan.

Exceptions include Brunei, Indonesia, Qatar, Thailand and the UAE (who get less time) and Austria, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Switzerland and the UK (who can renew their 90-day visa exemption by applying to the Japanese authorities before their 90 days is up).

Japan also has a working holiday program for younger residents of 29 countries.

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Japan is launching a new visa for digital nomads but will it be enough to solve its economic woes?

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A group of smiling young folk pose for a fun group shot near orange and black torii gates on a hill in rural Japan.

Japan has become the latest country in Asia trying to capitalise on the rise of remote work but plans for a new digital nomad visa may face stiff competition from its neighbours.

Remote-work advocates have welcomed the "institutionalising" of what is already a reality on the ground — laptop-laden travellers working at digital startups or remotely for large multinationals.

But many in digital nomad communities have criticised the visa for being far too restrictive.

Its six-month stay limit is too short for long-term travellers and the $100,000 minimum annual salary requirement is often out of reach for those working at startups.

While Japan's weak yen is putting downward pressure on the cost of living, other countries are being more flexible with who they let in as a digital nomad.

Crowds walk down a street in Japan covered in colourful billboards.

Who are the nomads?

The normalisation of remote work ushered in by the pandemic has transformed the life of a digital nomad from an influencer-fuelled fantasy to a liveable reality.

Many are entrepreneurs, running online businesses from wherever there's decent WiFi.

A man in a Hawaiin top looks over his shoulder at the camera as he sits in a row of folk working on laptops with

Others are former office workers whose bosses let them ditch the daily commute provided they don't miss too many Zoom meetings.

Some countries want to capitalise on the trend, setting up flexible visas and promoting themselves as a cheap and idyllic place to log on.

But some regulators fear a flood of tax-avoiding visitors and want to ensure foreigners aren't arriving on tourist visas only to set up at the nearest co-working space.

Is Japan the best remote work spot in Asia?

The Japan Digital Nomad Association has been lobbying the government to take a pro-active approach and "institutionalise" something that has become increasingly common since 2020.

Executive officer Ryo Osera welcomed the new digital nomad visa but was pushing for fewer restrictions, given what is available elsewhere in Asia.

The bustling city of Seoul is seen from a hilltop. It is densely packed with high-rise buildings

South Korea offers up to two years for digital nomads and their families, but applicants must earn at least $100,000 and be employed by a foreign company.

Taiwan's "Gold Card" is not technically a digital nomad visa but it can offer unlimited entry for three years, along with working and residency rights for those who are self-employed abroad, provided they have suitable qualifications.

Thailand's "Long Term Resident Visa" can accommodate digital nomads for up to 10 years.

They must earn more than $120,000 a year, have five years of work experience and be employed by a listed company or private business with a combined revenue of at least $230 million in the past 3 years.

Malaysia's "nomad pass" provides up to two years' stay for people of all nationalities, provided they earn more than $37,000 a year.

"It's not competitive at this moment … but Japan is now a really like popular destination," Mr Osera said.

"We are still talking to the government. It is a really big step but it's not yet enough."

Meanwhile, Japan's sixth largest city, Fukuoka, is trying to position itself as a digital nomad hub.

Tech entrepreneur Pablo Riveros spent more than a decade working abroad before starting the Fukuoka Startup Collective, a community for both nomads and expats.

He said Japan had lots to offer, from its fast internet and transport, to its culture and cost of living.

"It's super convenient for many Australians to come to Japan. It's really good and it's quite affordable," he said.

But Mr Riveros said the six-month limit on the new visa was "very short" and the $100,000 salary requirement was "one of the most expensive" in the region.

"It's really high. It's way higher than the senior roles in Japan in Tokyo," he said.

What's in it for Japan?

Given Japan's notoriously shy approach to immigration, how exactly the public will respond to a potential influx of digital nomads remains to be seen.

Because Japan has been dealing with population decline and an essential worker shortage, ideas about immigration did not always match the "reality on the ground", Shiro Armstrong, director of the Australia-Japan Research Centre at ANU, said.

People cross Japan's Shibuya crossing, with a number sporting umbrellas, as night sets in. Advertisements adorn buildings.

"They don't have wholesale, open immigration that we are used to or that we would recognise," he said.

"But there are about 2 million expats or foreigners living on various visas in Japan — and 2 million is not insignificant."

Like tourists, digital nomads could stimulate the economy by spending on food and accommodation but Mr Armstrong said that would not address one of Japan's biggest problems.

"They've got such huge public debt. Government debt dwarfs anything we've ever seen," he said.

"They need to raise revenue. So if they bring in foreigners on [a lower tax rate], it would be pretty interesting to see how the population responds."

Mr Osera saw how digital nomads could exchange ideas and build connections with locals when he recently took a group to a startup conference in Fukuoka.

"There could be more opportunity to communicate [with] each other, the digital nomads, the tech people and the local startups," he said.

"Japan is a big market and I believe a lot people are interested in having some business opportunity in Japan."

The visa comes as Japan grapples with the existential threat of a rapidly aging population and a subsequent labour shortage.

Authorities are also trying to foster a national digital transition.

It's a somewhat challenging task given old technology is so pervasive that some bureaucrats used fax machines to report COVID case numbers in the early months of the pandemic.

While digital nomads won't join the local workforce, Japan's Ministry for Justice hopes they will have the "ability and power to be a source of various innovations".

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  1. how to travel Japan like a PRO 💸💰

  2. Japan trip 2024 February, day 7

COMMENTS

  1. Information for U.S. Citizens Traveling to Japan

    Effective as of midnight April 29, 2023 (Japan time), all travelers arriving in Japan will no longer need to present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test certificate. For more info: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/covid-19/bordercontrol.html.

  2. For Travelers

    From 11th October, tourists from all countries or regions can visit Japan with a valid vaccination certificate or a Covid-19 negative test certificate.

  3. Japan Travel Restrictions

    Most visitors from the United States, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Japan. Entry Open for vaccinated visitors COVID-19 testing Not required Quarantine Not required for vaccinated visitors Restaurants Open Bars Masks Recommended in public spaces. Japan entry details and exceptions

  4. Latest Japan Entry Requirements

    Since October 2022, Japan is fully open without the requirement for a visa for most visitors and, since April 2023, vaccination certificates and pre-departure tests are no longer required either. Read on to find out more! Who is currently allowed to travel to Japan? What is required to travel to Japan and what about visas?

  5. Japan

    There are no notices currently in effect for Japan. Hide Vaccines and Medicines Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

  6. Japan Vaccine Requirements

    Since April 29th, 2023, travelers to Japan will no longer need to present a vaccination certificate or a pre-departure test. Do I need a COVID-19 vaccine before traveling to Japan? No, presenting a vaccination certificate or a pre-departure test is no longer needed. Must I quarantine upon arrival in Japan? No, quarantine is not necessary.

  7. Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    Those who are entering Japan on or after April 29th, 2023, are not be required to present a Valid Vaccination Certificate or a Covid-19 Negative Test Certificate. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Measures by the Government Last updated: Tuesday, May 9, 2023 Table of Contents Measures by the Government of Japan 1. Areas subjected to entry ban 2.

  8. Travel to Japan during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

    CNN — If you're planning to travel to Japan, here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic. The basics It's official: Japan will reopen to...

  9. Japan Relaxes COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

    Kishida will allow unvaccinated tourists who are part of a packaged tour group to enter the country. And, beginning on September 7, the Prime Minister said he will rise the daily cap on foreign arrivals to Japan to 50,000 people daily. "In countries worldwide, international exchange is growing.

  10. Information Regarding Travel from/to Japan and Other Countries

    Covid-19 tests Service-Related Information Information Regarding Travel from/to Japan and Other Countries Important Immigration restrictions and quarantine regulations in each country and region are subject to change at any time.

  11. COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates Valid for Entry into Japan from

    COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued in Japan which fall under any of the categories (1)-(3) below, and prove that at least three doses of COVID-19 vaccine are inoculated. ... (The COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate for overseas travel) (2) Documents to prove vaccination for COVID-19 issued by a local public authority/municipality in Japan (3 ...

  12. Can I travel to Japan? Travel Restrictions & Entry Requirements for

    Fully vaccinated Outgoing to Japan Return to Australia Travelling from Australia to Japan Most visitors from Australia, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Japan. Entry Open for vaccinated visitors COVID-19 testing Not required Quarantine Not required for vaccinated visitors Restaurants Open Bars Masks Recommended in public spaces.

  13. Travel Alert

    The Government of Japan has announced that as of November 8, 2021, fully vaccinated business travelers may be able to travel to Japan and will be eligible for a reduced, three-day quarantine period. Currently recognized vaccines in Japan include Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. Details of the new policy are likely to change ...

  14. Japan Travel Restrictions

    Japan Travel Restrictions Travelling from Canada Traveller's COVID-19 vaccination status Fully vaccinated Outgoing to Japan Return to Canada Travelling from Canada to Japan Most visitors from Canada, regardless of vaccination status, can enter Japan. Entry Open for vaccinated visitors COVID-19 testing Not required Quarantine

  15. Japan International Travel Information

    Quick Facts PASSPORT VALIDITY: Duration of intended period of stay. Please note you cannot travel on a passport you have previously declared as lost or stolen even if you subsequently locate it BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: One page required for entry stamp TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: No VACCINATIONS: None CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

  16. Japan Travel Requirements & Restrictions [February 2024 ]

    May 15, 2023 Travel Guides When planning a trip to Japan, make sure you know if there are any travel restrictions in place and any entry requirements you need to follow. Japan has now completely removed all COVID-19 entry restrictions. Immigration rules have returned to normal from May 8, 2023.

  17. The countries you can travel to without a vaccine

    3. Spain. Unvaccinated adult travellers can enter Spain if they are able to show proof of a negative test taken before entering the country. Previously, only fully vaccinated travellers aged 12 and over could enter Spain from the UK, but the destination has relaxed rules slightly, so it is now accepting negative PCR tests taken in the 72 hours before departure for the country or negative ...

  18. Travel Vaccines and Advice for Japan

    Given to anyone unvaccinated and/or born after 1957. One time adult booster recommended. ... Despite a complex travel itinerary, for Japan and Asia our nurse, was fantastic - professional, knowledgeable, articulate, friendly, and she gave us lots of good advice and options to consider. We were not rushed at all and she answered all of our ...

  19. COVID-19 Health & Safety Information

    COVID-19 Health & Safety Information Please note this page is no longer being updated. For the latest information on entry to Japan, please visit the following page: COVID-19: Practical Information for Traveling to Japan Information on the easing of travel restrictions to Japan (as of 11 November 2022)

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    A gradual opening eventually allowed up to 50,000 travellers a day into the country - after an initial limit of 20,000, only on organised tours. As of Tuesday 11 October 2022, UK travellers can enter Japan in uncapped numbers, as long as they follow the entry requirements set out. Travellers must complete any required forms on the MySoS app ...

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    9 January 2024 Latest update: Removal of outdated information about Haneda Airport disruption ('Warnings and insurance' page). The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO) provides advice...

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  24. Japan Travel Advice & Safety

    Updated: 29 January 2024 Latest update:Australians are eligible for Japan's visa exemption scheme for short-stay tourism and business travel. You don't need a visa to travel to Japan for up to 90 days (see 'Travel'). We advise: Exercise normal safety precautions in Japan. Higher levels apply in some areas. Get the latest updates Download

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    BA.5 is a subvariant of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant ().Since July 2022, Omicron BA.5 has been the dominant variant in Japan (2,3).According to Japan's Infectious Diseases Control Law, public health centers (PHCs) must be notified of all COVID-19 cases and conduct contact tracing ().The first patient infected with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.5 was reported on July 4, 2022, to the Itako PHC in ...

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  28. What you need to know about Japan's digital nomad visa

    Lonely Planet's resident Japan expert John Walton digs into what we know so far. The details of Japan's 90-day digital nomad visa are still somewhat fluid since most of the information available is coming from social media posts by Imaeda Soichiro by Japan's Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture & Science (MEXT), Unseen Japan, the Japan ...

  29. Japan is launching a new visa for digital nomads but will it be enough

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