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JAPAN - Exercise normal security precautions
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Japan. Exercise normal security precautions.
The Fukushima nuclear power plant and its surroundings - Avoid all travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against all travel to the districts and towns that have been designated as exclusion zones (see Evacuation areas) by the Japanese authorities. Zones marked in green on the map—where evacuation orders are ready to be lifted (Area 1)—are still subject to restrictions, including a ban on overnight visits.
See Safety and security for more information.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Fukushima nuclear power plant and its surroundings (see Advisory)
On March 11, 2011, a strong earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale occurred in the North Pacific Ocean, generating a powerful tsunami that struck the Pacific coast of Japan. The situation has returned to normal in most parts of the country; however, reconstruction efforts are ongoing in those areas of Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures most affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and some transportation routes may not be operational, especially along the Pacific coast. Before you travel to these areas, ensure that you have secured accommodation and transportation, and follow the advice of local authorities.
Crime against foreigners is low. Petty crime occurs on occasion. Crime may be more frequent in large cities, particularly in entertainment districts (see below). Inappropriate touching often occurs in busy subway and commuter trains during morning and evening commuting hours.
Exercise caution in all entertainment and nightlife districts throughout Japan and especially in Tokyo’s Roppongi, Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ikebukuro areas. Foreigners are increasingly targeted in incidents of drink spiking, which can be combined with credit card fraud and physical or sexual assault. Never leave your drink unattended and pay attention when drinks are prepared and served. If possible, avoid carrying credit cards when frequenting nightclubs in any entertainment district. Foreigners have reported being overcharged at bars and clubs.
Travel by motor vehicle is challenging: roads are narrow, signs are in Japanese and city traffic is congested. Do not turn on a red light unless it is specifically authorized. Roads in mountainous areas are often closed during winter.
Have your destination written in Japanese if you travel by taxi as drivers may not understand English.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Japanese authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of Japan or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Japan, which must be valid for the expected duration of their stay in that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Check the passport validity requirements of the countries you will transit through on your way to Japan, as well as the countries you will visit beyond Japan. Many countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected departure from that country. Canadians travelling onward from Japan to other Asian destinations have been denied boarding due to insufficient validity on their passports.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Entry permits for tourists are for a maximum stay of 90 days. Overstaying an entry permit or any other type of Japanese visa is a criminal offence. If you overstay your visa, you will be subject to deportation and may be barred from re-entry to Japan.
Business travellers require a business visa if they are to receive compensation in addition to their regular salary for work carried out while in Japan. For further information, contact the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa or the Japanese consulate nearest you before departure.
If you are considering employment in Japan, you must obtain a work visa from the Japanese government. On occasion, Canadians recruited to work in Japan have not been fully informed of the conditions of employment and have unintentionally violated Japanese immigration law. A number of Canadians have sought employment or have been recruited for employment as bar hostesses; a visa will not be issued for this purpose.
An offer of employment that does not meet Japanese immigration requirements cannot be legitimately made or accepted. Working without an appropriate visa is illegal; if caught, offenders may be subject to imprisonment, a fine and/or deportation. If you are considering employment offers in Japan, contact the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa or the Japanese consulate nearest you before your departure from Canada.
Tourist visa: Not required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
To visit Japan, you must have an onward or return ticket, confirmed accommodation arrangements and proof of sufficient funds for your stay in the country.
Japanese officials will photograph and fingerprint all visitors upon arrival. Some exceptions may apply, including for children under the age of 16, individuals with special permanent residency and diplomats on assignment to Japan (and holding a Japanese diplomatic visa). For more information, consult the Immigration Bureau of Japan.
In July 2012, a new residency management system came into effect for foreign residents of Japan. Changes include: the Resident Card replaces the Alien Registration Card; foreign residents who leave and re-enter Japan within one year no longer need to obtain a re-entry permit; and changes regarding the maximum period of stay were implemented. Consult the Immigration Bureau of Japan for more information.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
- Measles: Global Update - July 28, 2016 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
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.
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.
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.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Tick-borne encephalitis is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system. It is spread to humans by the bite of an infected tick. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to ticks (e.g., those participating in outdoor activities in wooded areas) while travelling in regions with risk of tick-borne encephalitis.
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.
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, 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 for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
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
Medical care in Japan is good and the cost of services may be similar or slightly more expensive than in Canada. Foreign patients are often required to pay in advance or produce documentation that the bill will be paid prior to discharge. Some medical facilities will accept medical insurance issued by credit card companies. The normal procedure involves immediate cash payment and subsequent reimbursement from the insurance agent in Canada. Canadians working in Japan who are not covered for medical and health services by their Japanese employer should carry full medical coverage for their stay.
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
- Himawari Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Institution Information
- AMDA International Medical Information Center
For information about prescription medication, consult the Laws & Culture tab.
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
Laws & culture
Foreign visitors are required to carry their passport or residency (zairyu) card at all times.
Japanese regulations require that visiting foreign nationals provide detailed information when checking in at hotels, inns or other lodging facilities. The purpose of registration is to assist authorities to prevent infectious diseases and terrorism. The required information includes your name, address, occupation, nationality and passport number. Foreigners must also allow their passports to be photocopied.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. In most drug cases, suspects are denied oral or written communication with anyone other than their lawyer or a Canadian consular representative. Those arrested, even for a minor offence, may be held in detention for weeks or months during the investigation and legal proceedings.
Carrying a knife with a blade longer than 5.5 cm is prohibited.
Conditions in detention houses and prisons are difficult. The rules are rigid and an infraction can result in solitary confinement and loss of privileges. Once sentenced, prisoners are usually required to perform manual labour for the duration of their incarceration.
Traffic drives on the left.
You must possess an International Driving Permit and obtain Japanese insurance to drive in Japan.
There is zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol. Penalties are strict. Local laws extend to both the driver and the passengers (for allowing someone to drive while under the influence of alcohol); both are subject to prosecution.
You can bring a one-month supply of prescription medication or a two-month supply of non-prescription medication into Japan providing the medication does not contain narcotics (including codeine). The importation of certain over-the-counter and prescription medications used to relieve sinus and allergy symptoms is banned.
Prescribed medication must be accompanied by the doctor's prescription stating the patient’s full name, address, reason for use and dosage. The bearer of the medication may be requested to present 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. Application should be made several months prior to arrival. Consult the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare for more information.
Contracts to teach English (arranged by recruiters in Canada) should be carefully reviewed before you sign them. Ensure that all terms and conditions of employment are clearly stated in the contract and that you meet all requirements before accepting an offer. Some employers may not adhere to their contractual obligations. Consult our publication entitled Teaching English in Japan for more information.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Japan. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Japanese citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Japanese passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Visit Japan’s Ministry of Justice page for more information on dual citizenship in Japan.
The currency is the yen (JPY). Traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at major banks and hotels. Credit cards are accepted in major cities. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are widely available, but many do not accept foreign debit cards. ABMs are not available 24 hours a day and may not be available on weekends or holidays. A four-digit personal identification number is required to use ABMs in Japan.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Japan is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to strong earthquakes, as well as tsunamis.
There are active volcanoes:
- Mount Sakurajima is currently at alert level 3 (do not approach the volcano).
- Mount Shindake, a volcano on Kuchinoerabu-jima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, is currently at alert level 3 (do not approach the volcano).
Typhoons usually occur between June and October. Southern areas, including Okinawa and surrounding islands, are more vulnerable. These storms can result in flooding and landslides, significant loss of life, extensive damage to infrastructure, and can hamper the provision of essential services. Consult Typhoons and monsoons for more information.
Snowstorms occur in western Honshu and Hokkaido from December to March. Avalanches can occur in mountainous areas, including ski resorts. These can cause power disruptions, make roads impassable and limit the ability of responders to reach these areas in case of emergency.
The Japan Meteorological Agency provides information on volcanic warnings and weather conditions.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 110
- medical assistance: 119
- firefighters: 119
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 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. An area code is not dialled if the call is being placed to a cellular phone.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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