International Travel and COVID-19
- be sure to get vaccinated, and complete any additional recommended doses, at least 14 days before your departure
- review the travel health notice for COVID-19 and International Travel
If you have not completed a COVID-19 vaccine series, you should continue to avoid non-essential travel to all destinations.
Japan Travel Advice
Last updated: ET
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
On this page
- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Japan - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Japan.
Safety and security
COVID-19 - Preventative measures and restrictions
COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.
These could include:
- curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
- mandatory mask use
- required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces
Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Road conditions and road safety are generally good throughout the country. However, roads may be narrow.
Japan Road Traffic Information Center (in Japanese)
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.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General safety information
Emergency information and advice for tourists is available from the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Entry and exit requirements
COVID-19 - Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:
- entry or exit bans
- mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
- suspensions or reductions of international transportation options
Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.
- verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
- consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
- monitor the media for the latest information
- reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator
The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.
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.
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.
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.
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 about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines 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 are right for you.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- 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.
Tick-borne encephalitis is present in some areas of this country.
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 when you consume unpasteurized milk products.
Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks during outdoor activities.
A vaccine against TBE does exist but is only available in countries where the disease is present.
Learn more on what you can do to prevent tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)?
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 by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
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.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in East Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
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.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this 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.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Eastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Hand, foot and mouth disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that mainly affects infants and children. Travellers are at increased risk if visiting or living in overcrowded conditions. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against this disease.
Medical services and facilities
COVID-19 - Testing facilities
Consult the following links to find out where you can get a COVID-19 test:
- Local COVID-19 testing facilities - Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan (in Japanese only)
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.
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.
Laws and culture
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.
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.
Certain medications are banned in Japan, including:
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.
Japanese law doesn’t prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Traffic drives on the left.
You must carry an international driving permit along with your Canadian licence, or a Japanese driver’s licence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Natural disasters and climate
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
- Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Japan Meteorological Agency
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.
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
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.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 110
- medical assistance: 119
- firefighters: 119
Due to the ongoing pandemic, our consular services could be limited. Contact us by email or telephone before visiting our offices.
Tokyo - Embassy of Canada
Fukuoka - Consulate of Canada
Hiroshima - Consulate of Canada
Nagoya - Consulate of Canada
Osaka - Consulate of Canada
Sapporo - Consulate of Canada
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.
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