Bringing certain items into Japan may be prohibited or restricted.
It is your responsibility to confirm whether the items you plan
on bringing with you to Japan are allowed or not.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The import of some items is restricted and requires permits and/or approval under laws and regulations other than the Customs Law. In some cases, items must be examined by a government agency at the appropriate time upon entry into Japan. Major examples of restricted items include:
For more comprehensive information, please refer to the Japan Customs website here:
Pamphlets for Visitors on Specific Topics
CUSTOMS GUIDE for VISITORS http://www.customs.go.jp/zeikan/pamphlet/tsukan_e.pdf
There is no limit on the amount currency or another means of payment that may be brought into or taken out of Japan; however, if you are transporting the equivalent of more than 1 million yen, or precious metals exceeding 1kg in total weight, you are required to submit a declaration to Customs.
The preceding explanations and procedures mainly apply to personal travel. There may be additional or different regulations and procedures in the case of business travel to Japan or the commercial import and export of products. Please inquiry directly with the relevant authority on the appropriate procedures for business travel and imports and exports.
The animal quarantine system is implemented worldwide to help prevent the spread of animal diseases. Japan conducts import inspections on the following animals, including those brought as pets, as well as products and goods manufactured or derived from these animals:
To prevent the spread of animal illnesses and diseases into Japan:
To specifically prevent the spread of rabies and leptospirosis (in case of dogs) into Japan:
To prevent the spread of diseases that can be transmitted from monkeys to humans which have not yet occurred in Japan such as Ebola hemorrhage fever:
Specific import procedures exist for each type of animal. . Detailed information can be found at the Animal Quarantine Service’s (AQS) website here (http://www.maff.go.jp/aqs/english/index.html). AQS is responsible for animal and animal product quarantine as authorized under the Domestic Animal Infectious Disease Control Law, the Rabies Prevention Law and the Law concerning the Prevention of Infections and Medical Care for Patients with Infections.
NOTIFICATION SYSTEM FOR THE INPORTATION OF ANIMALS
Separate from import procedures administered by AQS, the Notification System for the Importation of Animals was introduced on September 2005 in order to prevent the outbreak of infectious diseases that can be passed from animals to humans.
Any importer of terrestrial mammals and birds is required to submit a written declaration with details such as the species name and quantity of the imported animals to the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, accompanied by a health certificate issued by the relevant government authority of the exporting country certifying that the animals are free of infectious diseases specific to that species.
Detailed information on the notification system can be found at Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s website here (http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/importanimal/index.html)
ANIMALS PROHIBITED FOR IMPORT
The importation of the following animals is prohibited under the Law Concerning the Prevention of Infections and Medical Care for Patients of Infections:
Badger, bat, raccoon dog, masked palm dog, prairie dog, mastery, and monkeys (except for the purpose of research or exhibition).
Plant pests and other pathogens cause significant damage to agriculture crops in many countries all over the world. In order to prevent the spread of pathogens and protect crops in Japan, the import of some plants and/or plant products may not be allowed. In Japan, the plant quarantine system enforces inspections on imported plants and plant products at sea and airports of entry as a measure to prevent to introduction and spread of pathogens.
The regulation of plant imports is divided into the following three categories:
(1) Articles that are prohibited for import
* A number of insect species such as flower beetles, Phasmatodea (stick bugs), and butterflies have the potential to cause severe damage to domestic agriculture and timber crops. Such live insects are designated as harmful pests under the Plant Quarantine Law, and cannot be brought into Japan. When planning to bring live insects into Japan from overseas, please contact a Plant Protection Station before traveling to determine whether the insect in question is included in this category.
(2) Articles subject to import inspection
Application for import inspection
*Hand Luggage & Foreign mail
(3) Articles not subject to import inspection
*From North America
Detailed information about importing plants can be found on the Plant Quarantine Station’s (PQS) website at (http://www.pps.go.jp/english/index.html). PQS is the authority in Japan responsible for administering quarantine regulations, as authorized under the Plant Quarantine Law.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), also known as the Washington Convention is an agreement between governments prohibiting or restricting international trade in animals and plants at risk of extinction, in addition to products made from these species.
For further information, please visit the CITES website: http://www.cites.org, refer to the Pamphlet for Overseas Tourists (Washington Convention) http://www.customs.go.jp/english/c-answer_e/sonota/9008_e.htm, or contact the following authorities for specific information on importing species or products to Japan:
The Invasive Alien Species Act (IAS Act) went into force in June, 2005 to prevent the spread of invasive species not found in Japan protect ecosystems, human safety, domestic agriculture, forestry and fisheries which may be impacted by such species.
The IAS Act lists invasive alien species, uncategorized alien species and other living organisms that require certificates verifying certain properties when imported.
More information and relevant materials can be found here: http://www.env.go.jp/en/nature/as.html
Upon arrival to Japan, you are responsible for declaring certain food items for quarantine inspection and providing the appropriate certificates during the customs clearance process. It is usually not necessary to declare store-bought canned, bottled or packaged food items that are highly processed and do not contain any meat. Some examples may include crackers, dried pasta, candy, jam, tea or coffee. Oh the other hand, some products may be prohibited for import depending on the origin of contents.
Before they can be brought to Japan, meat and egg products, vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, legumes, nuts and other plant products must undergo an inspection in the country of origin that satisfies Japanese standards, irrespective of intended use or quantity. These items must also be presented for quarantine inspection upon arrival in Japan with an inspection certificate or package stamp issued by originating country’s government. For animal and plant products brought from the U.S., the U.S. Department of Agriculture is usually the agency responsible for inspecting animal and plant products for export, and providing export inspection stamps on packaging or issuing the appropriate export certificate. For more information about quarantine inspection procedures related to the personal import of food, please refer to this website for meat or other animal products: http://www.maff.go.jp/aqs/english/product/import.html; or this website for vegetables, fruits or other plant products: http://www.pps.go.jp/english/trip/index.html. For information about obtaining USDA inspection certificates, please see the following website: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/index.shtml
*Please be advised that Japan has imposed bans on the import of some animal and plant products originating from the U.S. as measures to prevent the spread of livestock or crop diseases. Prohibited meat items currently include, but may not be limited to beef and pork products including jerky and sausages, and poultry products from designated U.S. states. Prohibited plant items currently include, but may not be limited to fresh apples, pears, peaches, plums, cherries, walnuts in the shell, and any part of plants from the solanaceous family (nightshade) such as potatoes and tomatoes. For more information on these and other prohibited food items, please refer to the two websites listed in the previous paragraph.
Notification to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is necessary when importing food and related products including food additives, food preparation or processing equipment, containers or packages if such items are intended for sale or use in business. The Notification Form for Importation of Foods must be submitted to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare quarantine station responsible for the airport or seaport where the products are imported. At the quarantine station food sanitation inspectors carry out document examination and inspection to make sure products comply with the Food Sanitation Law.
You can find more details on the commercial import of food products at this website:
PERSONAL IMPORT OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS>
The import of medications (prescription or non-prescription), medical devices, and many other health and cosmetic products are regulated under the Pharmaceutical Affairs and the Customs Laws in order to prevent illegal distribution and protect public safety in Japan.
-Medications and other pharmaceutical products-
When bringing prescription medications to Japan you may have items inspected and cleared upon arrival by the Customs Agency, and avoid further processing if the following conditions apply:
There are no expectations in the case of (3) above regarding prohibited drugs, even if the medication is legally obtained outside of Japan. The import of stimulants such as methamphetamines or amphetamines, as well as precursors such as ephedrine or pseudoephedrine exceeding a certain concentration level, is prohibited by the Stimulants Control Law.
For non-prescription medications and other pharmaceutical products, you may generally bring the following items and their respective quantities to Japan without taking any special steps:
Special processing is required when bringing syringes, narcotic and other highly-controlled medications, and supplies of prescription or non-prescription medications that exceed the limits detailed in the previous lists. For syringes and an extended supply of medications, it is necessary to submit an application along with supporting documents to a Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare of Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare for a special import certification called "Yakkan Shoumei" in Japanese. Please refer to the following document for details on applying for a Yakkan Shoumei: (Yakkan Shomei Instructions and Application Forms (March 14, 2012)
An importer of narcotic medication is required to obtain a license from the Director-General Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare under the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Law.
Advance approval is not required to bring psychotropic medications (i.e. methylphenidate, diazepam, triazolam, etc.) into Japan. However, possession of quantities exceeding the limits set for certain medications require a copy of the legal prescription along with a physician’s letter certifying that the medication is particularly necessary for treatment of the diagnosed condition. For more information about bringing psychotropic and narcotic medications to Japan including how to apply for a narcotics import license, please refer to the following document: Japan Customs and Quarantine Procedures (March 14, 2012)
In accordance with the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Treaty, the import of drugs that contain ingredients made from listed animals or plants, including the following examples, is restricted: 1. Rhinoceros horn; 2. Musk; 3. Tiger bones; 4. Fel Ursi; etc. Please contact the following office with CITES-related inquiries: