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. I f 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.
Furthermore, some offences are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of Japanese law. For examples, see our website oncrimes against minors abroadand theDepartment of Justicewebsite.
The vast majority of arrests of U.S. citizens in Japan are for drug-related offenses, and arrestees often spend months or years in detention. 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. Having a prescription for medical marijuana does not exempt you from Japanese law, which makes no distinction between medical and recreational marijuana. Even possession of a small amount for personal 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, 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 moreinformation on importing medicinesinto 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 seeJapan’s Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Actand contact the Japanese Embassy or nearest Japanese consulate in the United States for more information.
Laws governing rape, sexual commerce, and other activity involving sexual relations do not apply to same-sex sexual activity. This definition leads to lower penalties for perpetrators of male rape and greater legal ambiguity surrounding same-sex prostitution.
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.
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 webpageand the Embassy’s website for additional 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.
SeeourLGBTQI+ Travel Informationpage and section 6 of ourHuman Rights reportfor further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: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 atAccessible Japan.
Travelers with disabilities can learn more about resources available in country from the Japan National Tourism Organization’straveling with a disability page.
Students:See ourStudents Abroadpage andFBI travel tips.
Women Travelers:See our travel tips forWomen 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. Additionalinformation on arrests in Japanis available on our embassy website.
Customs Regulations:Please contact the Japanese Embassy or nearest Japanese consulate in the United States, orvisit the Japanese Customs websitefor 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, oremail the U.S. CIBfor details.
Pets:The JapaneseAnimal 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 aboutimporting a pet into Japanor information aboutexporting a pet from Japanon ourEmbassy 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 theBetter Business Bureauor the Office of the Attorney General in that particular state.
Disaster Preparedness:Japan is prone to natural disasters, including earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, and landslides. See theEmbassy’s webpage for recommendations and steps you can take to prepare for an emergency. The Japan Tourism Organization’sSafety Tips appand 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 theJapan Nuclear Regulation Authority.
Yes, visa free tourism resumed October 11, 2022. Tourists with U.S. passports no longer need a visa to stay up to three months.Can US citizens travel to Japan now? ›
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.What are the latest Covid travel restrictions for Japan? ›
Vaccination certificates and pre-departure tests are no longer required to enter Japan. Travelers and returnees with COVID-19 symptoms will no longer be subjected to on-arrival testing. Travelers with a positive COVID-19 test result will not be treated at designated facilities.What does a US citizen need to enter Japan? ›
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.Why was Japan closed to foreigners? ›
In the 1500s, the first European traders and missionaries had visited the island nation and brought with them new ideas. Fearing that further contact would weaken their hold on the gov- ernment and the people, the Tokugawa banned virtually all foreigners.Can I go to Japan with a U.S. green card? ›
Yes, you can travel abroad as a green card holder — that's one of the many benefits of being a permanent resident. However, your trip must be temporary and you cannot remain outside the United States for more than 1 year.What vaccines are accepted in Japan? ›
- Takeda. TAK-019 (Novavax formulation) ...
- Moderna. Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron BA. ...
- Moderna. Spikevax Bivalent Original/Omicron BA. ...
- Pfizer/BioNTech. Comirnaty. ...
- Pfizer/BioNTech. Comirnaty Bivalent Original/Omicron BA. ...
- Pfizer/BioNTech. Comirnaty Bivalent Original/Omicron BA. ...
- Takeda. ...
AS OF THE 29th OF APRIL 2023, PROOF OF VACCINATION AND NEGATIVE PCR TEST RESULTS ARE NO LONGER REQUIRED FOR ENTRY INTO JAPAN.What is the best month to go to Japan? ›
The best time to visit Japan is between March and May and between September and November as it's both warm and dry between these periods. However, the joys of springtime and the iconic blooming of the cherry blossoms in Japan are no secret, which means you'll be sharing the space with plenty of other travellers.When did Japan close its borders for COVID? ›
In early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic reached the shores of Japan, the country quickly closed its borders to any international travel of foreigners.
Stay home and quarantine for 7days after patient develops symptoms. During that period, stay away from people you live with, wash your hands, wear a well-fitting mask and sanitize the place you might touch, and dispose the garbage properly.Do I need a QR code to enter Japan? ›
❷ Present your QR code and passport. * An internet connection is necessary for downloading. * To enter the information on the airplane, you must download before boarding. * Both smartphones and computers are supported.What medications are prohibited in Japan? ›
Which Prescription Medicines are Banned? Heroin, cocaine, MDMA, opium, cannabis (including CBD oils), and some prescription medications like Adderall, Vyvanse, and Dexedrine are banned in Japan. There are no exceptions for prohibited medications, even if the medication is legally obtained outside of Japan.Do Japanese citizens need a visa to visit the United States? ›
The visa type is "B-1". However, most Japanese visitors to the U.S. do not need a visa if their trip is less than 90 days. Please refer to the Visa Waiver Program to see if you can travel to the U.S. without a visa.Which countries can enter Japan without visa? ›
A form of severe social withdrawal, called hikikomori, has been frequently described in Japan and is characterized by adolescents and young adults who become recluses in their parents' homes, unable to work or go to school for months or years.What is the Shogun rule in Japan? ›
Shoguns were hereditary military leaders who were technically appointed by the emperor. However, real power rested with the shoguns themselves, who worked closely with other classes in Japanese society. Shoguns worked with civil servants, who would administer programs such as taxes and trade.What was Japan's closed door policy? ›
sakoku, (Japanese: “closed country”) a Japanese policy consisting of a series of directives implemented over several years during the Edo period (also known as the Tokugawa period; 1603–1867) that enforced self-isolation from foreign powers in the early 17th century.What countries are visa free for U.S. citizens? ›
- American Samoa.
- Antigua and Barbuda.
Type of visa for tourism: Japan e visa for Indian nationals. Visa fee: 3,000 yen (approx. INR 1835). Japan visa duration of stay: Single-entry for 90 day stay.
The fees for Japan visas are as follows: For a single-entry visa: 3,000 Yen. For a double-entry or multiple-entry visa: 6,000 Yen. For a transit visa: 700 Yen.Do I need PCR test to enter US? ›
All Travelers to U.S. Must Present a Negative COVID-19 Viral Test - U.S. Embassy & Consulates in India.What areas of Japan have Japanese encephalitis? ›
|Country||Risky Areas||Risky Seasons|
|Laos||All over the country||Year-round (mostly June-September)|
|Malaysia||All over the country||Year around (mostly October-December)|
|Nepal||Southern lowlands (Terai), mountainous areas||June-October|
About Japanese encephalitis vaccination
Primary immunisation should be completed at least one week prior to potential exposure to Japanese encephalitis virus. Once you have received both doses, you are protected against Japanese encephalitis for 12-24 months. After one year, you require a booster.
In case the accompanying guardian does not hold a valid vaccination certificate and enters Japan with a negative certificate, preschool-aged children (generally under the age of 6) are not required a negative certificate.What is the app for Japan arrival? ›
Although there are now no Covid protocols for Japan, the Japanese government still strongly recommends that you use the Visit Japan Web app to enter Japan. This app is used to enter your arrival information and customs declaration prior to arriving in Japan.Is Japan safe for female Travellers? ›
Safe Solo Travel in Japan
Although the country has a relatively low crime rate compared to other areas of the world, it doesn't mean solo travellers are immune to thieves or other crime. Walking long dark streets at night is still considered dangerous, unfortunately more for solo female travellers.
Ideally, how long for a trip to Japan ? We recommend a minimum of 2 weeks to discover the Japanese archipelago. This is the minimum travel time in Japan to have time to visit Tokyo, Kyoto and their surroundings. For this, we advise you to spend a minimum of 6 nights in Tokyo and 6 nights in the Kyoto region .How much money should I bring to Japan? ›
|Single Traveler||Two Travelers|
|Low Budget||3,500 - 7,800 yen||7,000 - 15,600 yen|
|Medium Budget||8,800 - 18,500 yen||13,600 - 28,000 yen|
|High Budget||over 18,500 yen||over 28,000 yen|
Top tips for finding cheap flights to Japan
High season is considered to be January, November and December. The cheapest month to fly from the United States is April. Enter your preferred departure airport and travel dates into the search form above to unlock the latest Japan flight deals.
Currently, the BA. 5 lineage is the mainstream in Japan, but sublineages of the Omicron variant such as BQ.When did the lockdown start in Japan? ›
On 7 April 2020, Abe proclaimed a one-month state of emergency for Tokyo and the prefectures of Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo, and Fukuoka. On 16 April 2020, the declaration was extended to the rest of the country for an indefinite period.When did Japan return to isolation? ›
While Sakoku, Japan's long period of isolation from 1639 to 1853, kept it closed off from much of the world, one upshot was the rise of cultural touchstones that persist to this day.Do I need to quarantine upon arrival in Japan? ›
The Japanese government's border quarantine measures have been revised, and from 0:00 a.m. (Japan time) on April 29, 2023, it is no longer necessary to present a valid vaccination certificate or certificate of inspection. You also do not need to pre-register for quarantine procedures on Visit Japan Web.What happens if you test positive for COVID upon arrival in Japan? ›
※ Those entering Japan with symptoms of suspected COVID-19 infection will be tested upon arrival. Furthermore, those who tested positive will be required to quarantine at a designated facility. ※ You may use "Visit Japan Web" for immigration and customs. ⇒You can refer to Visit Japan Web here.Is COVID insurance required to enter Japan? ›
It is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended that you purchase a private medical insurance with adequate coverage and services that includes coverage for medical expenses related to COVID-19.Do I need PCR test to enter Japan? ›
While COVID-19 testing is not required for entry into Japan, a non-comprehensive list of some COVID-19 testing facilities can be found on the Embassy website, should travelers require testing for travel to other countries.What Covid test required for Japan? ›
Quarantine measures (New)
(1) All travelers and returnees will no longer be required to submit either a certificate of negative result of COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure, or a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate of three doses or equivalent.
Travelers are permitted to bring a two-month (60 day) supply of any permissible over-the-counter medication, and an equivalent amount of vitamins. This also applies to contact lenses.Is ibuprofen legal in Japan? ›
Ibuprofen in Japan: The “Eve” Option
The medication is available in most drug stores across Japan and can be bought without a prescription.
Declare all drugs, medicinals, and similar products to the appropriate CBP official; Carry such substances in their original containers; Carry only the quantity of such substances that a person with that condition (e.g., chronic pain) would normally carry for his/her personal use; and.What documents do you need to enter Japan? ›
- Eligible Visa or the “Letter of Confirmation of Submitting Required Documentation for Re-entry into Japan”
- Certificate of pre-entry test results issued within 72 hours (from the sampling time to departure time of the flight) (original or copy)
- “Written Pledge (Business Track) (PDF) ” (updated on November 10) 2 copies.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business (visitor visa purposes) for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.What countries do not accept US passport? ›
The US passport is recognized by all countries in the world, and while the majority of nations accept US passports for entry, there are a few exceptions and limitations. Some countries that have restrictions on US passport holders are North Korea, Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Libya.Is Japan open to visa-free tourists? ›
Japan visa-free travel news & update
There are currently no formalities related to Covid that need to be fulfilled to enter Japan. Being vaccinated against Covid or providing a negative Covid test result is not required to enter Japan.
You'll automatically be granted a temporary visitor visa on arrival, which is valid for up to 90 days (as long as you don't plan to work while you're in Japan).When did Japan open up to the rest of the world? ›
On July 8, 1853, American Commodore Matthew Perry led his four ships into the harbor at Tokyo Bay, seeking to re-establish for the first time in over 200 years regular trade and discourse between Japan and the western world.Can I invite my boyfriend to Japan? ›
Here's what they need to give you: Proof of Relationship. A letter from the person to be visited explaining their relationship to you plus other documents such as pictures, passport copies, etc. Invitation letter from the person you will visit.When was Japan closed to foreigners? ›
In response, they effectively sealed the islands off from the outside world in 1603, with Japanese people not allowed to leave and very few foreigners allowed in. This became known as Japan's Edo period, and the borders remained closed for almost three centuries until 1868.Did Japan isolate itself from the rest of the world? ›
Once, under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate, the country actually managed to completely sever all of its relations with the outside world. This period, now referred to as “Sakoku” or chained country, lasted 265 years.
Citizens from the United States are required to obtain a visa to travel to Japan, regardless of the intended length of stay and the purpose of the visit.How much money do you need to get a visa to Japan? ›
For a single-entry visa: 3,000 Yen. For a double-entry or multiple-entry visa: 6,000 Yen. For a transit visa: 700 Yen.Can a Japanese marry a foreigner? ›
<Nationality> According to the Nationality Law, marriage to a foreigner does not cause the Japanese spouse to lose their nationality. In cases of Japanese women marrying foreigners, they can sometimes acquire the nationality of their husbands, depending on the laws of the husbands' countries.Do I need a Covid test to enter Japan? ›
(1) All travelers and returnees will no longer be required to submit either a certificate of negative result of COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure, or a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate of three doses or equivalent.Do you need PCR test to enter US? ›
As of June 12, 2022, the requirement for presenting proof of a negative viral test result before entering the U.S is suspended. This decision may be adjusted if conditions warrant. Monitor your health and look for symptoms of COVID-19.