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Japan

If you’re travelling to Japan, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA. Our current advice for travel to these countries is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’.

Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.

On 13 October, Member States adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.

In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions.

Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Further information about current requirements for entry to Ireland is available on the Irish Government website and the HSE website.

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution. Everyone is asked to comply with restrictions within Ireland, including those under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. These are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government. The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly around the world. Citizens who are considering any overseas travel are advised to carefully monitor the official advice and information from the public authorities in their destination.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in the destination to which you are travelling. Information about entry restrictions currently applied by other countries is available on the country-specific travel advice pages. Additional restrictions may be imposed, including during the duration of your visit. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time. Any Irish citizen considering any overseas travel should monitor news and information from the public authorities in their country or region of destination. Citizens are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc.

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Where to go for further travel information:

Overview

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

  • There is a heightened risk of sustained local transmission of COVID-19 in Japan. The Government of Japan has asked people to continue to remain vigilant against COVID-19 by taking infection prevention measures and reducing physical contact.
  • The Embassy continues to advise Irish citizens in Japan to monitor developments closely and to follow the advice of local, in particular Prefectural and also national authorities for details of specific measures in force in those areas.
  • For further information on the latest entry restrictions and requirements in place, please see the “Additional Information” tab of this travel advice.
  • Irish citizens in Japan should register with the Embassy via the citizens registration portal.
  • Follow us on twitter @IrlEmbJapan and @IrlEmbJapanEN for further information and updates.
  • Irish citizens in Japan can also contact the Embassy in Tokyo by phone +81 (0)3 3263 0695 or by email on tokyoem@dfa.ie. As the Embassy is operating on reduced staffing and reduced hours, communication by email is preferred. We will prioritise responding to urgent queries.

Travel restrictions in place in light of COVID-19

Japan has introduced a number of new entry requirements in response to COVID-19. Please see the Additional Information tab of this travel advice for further detailed information on entry restrictions and requirements, which include new visa requirements for Irish citizens.

In summary:

  • The Government of Japan has suspended visa waiver agreements with a number of countries, including Ireland, until further notice. This means that Irish citizens will not be able to enter Japan as a visitor without a visa.
  • From 1 October, Irish citizens and other non-Japanese nationals who need to move to Japan to study, work or join family are permitted to apply for a relevant visa. Irish citizens and other non-Japanese nationals wishing to visit for short-term business purposes are also permitted to enter, provided that they successfully apply for a visa.
  • Irish citizens seeking to enter Japan for tourism purposes or for other short term stays, will be denied entry to Japan unless there are special circumstances. Irish citizens should confirm possible eligibility to enter Japan with their nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate.
  • Irish citizens currently in Japan with a valid Status of Residence are now able to leave and re-enter Japan, if a valid re-entry permit is sought in advance. Please see the following communication from the Immigration Services Agency of Japan for detail on the process and required documents for re-entry:  http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001327551.pdf
    • Irish citizens with a Status of Residence who had left Japan before 1 September, are also permitted to return. This includes those who until recently were prohibited from returning. Irish citizens with a Status of Residence who are currently outside of Japan and had left before 1 September, and are looking to return, will need to apply to their nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate for a “Re-Entry Confirmation Letter”. This will need to be presented on arrival, along with a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken prior to arrival.  Further detail on the required documents is available on the Ministry of Justice website.
    • Irish citizens with a Status of Residence who had already left Japan before 1 September, are also permitted to return. This includes those who until recently were prohibited from returning. Irish citizens with a Status of Residence who are currently outside of Japan and had left before 1 September, and are looking to return, will need to apply to their nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate for a “Re-Entry Confirmation Letter”. This will need to be presented on arrival, along with a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken prior to arrival. Further detail on the required documents is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
  • Any Irish citizen outside of Japan who has questions concerning entry to Japan, should contact their nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate.
  • There are enhanced quarantine procedures in place for visitors to Japan at present. Visitors to Japan from a number of countries will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival and asked to go into quarantine at designated locations for 14 days and to refrain from using public transport.

 

You can view further, detailed information on the current border measures on the website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Please consult the website of the Japanese Ministry of Health (MHLW) for further information on the current quarantine procedures and which countries are affected.

 

Return Travel to Ireland

There are commercial airlines currently operating routes from Japan with onward connection to Ireland via third countries. We advise Irish citizens to liaise closely with travel providers on their travel plans.

 

Contact the Embassy 

Irish citizens in Japan can contact the Embassy in Tokyo by phone (03 3263 0695) or by email (tokyoem@dfa.ie). Due to a high volume of calls, email is preferred. We will prioritise responding to urgent queries.

We advise all Irish citizens in Japan to register their details on our citizens’ registration portal (https://citizensregistration.dfa.ie/) in order to receive communications from the Embassy on the current situation.

You can also follow the Embassy on social media to receive updates and notices (Twitter: @irishembjapan and @IrishEmbJapanEN; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/irelandinjapan/)

 

Further information

The Japan National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) is providing updates on the situation as it relates to Japan, available here: https://www.japan.travel/en/news/coronavirus/

The JNTO also run a 24-hour hotline (+81 50 3816-2787) which provides support and advice in English for visitors in Japan including on COVID-19.

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

World Health Organisation

ECDC

HPSC

HSE

Japanese Ministry of Health

Tokyo Metropolitan Government

 

Irish citizens in Ireland with concerns about travel in respect of COVID-19, can ring the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade dedicated phone line on +353 (0)1 613 1733.

Please see more information on the dedicated Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade COVID-19 travel advice webpage: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/coronavirus/

 

Travel Alerts

Japan is located in an active earthquake zone and earthquakes of varying sizes occur frequently throughout the country, with further risks of tsunami and volcanic eruptions. Please see our Natural Disasters and Climate section for further information.

Flooding and landslides are a risk in Japan, particularly during typhoon season (June-October), and you should always follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media for updates.

Further up-to-date weather and earthquake information in English can be found on the website of the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The Japanese Government continue to maintain exclusion zones close to the site of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Illegally entering these zones is a punishable offence. See further relevant information in the Natural Disasters and Climate section.

Political events on the Korean peninsula can affect Japan. While North Korea announced a halt to nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile testing in April 2018, regional tensions remain and can escalate with little warning. Please monitor the media to stay informed of any developments and follow any alerts and advice of local authorities. See further relevant information in the Safety and Security section.

 

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

 

To contact the emergency services call 110 (police) or 119 (fire and ambulance).

 

Our tips for safe travels

 

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide

 

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Crime

Crime remains low in Japan but you should take sensible precautions.

Personal Safety

You should be aware that there have been numerous reported instances of drinks being spiked in certain districts in Tokyo, in particular in Roppongi and Kabuki-cho. Late at night, Western tourists in these areas may be approached on the street and brought to bars or clubs, served strong or spiked drinks, and then either robbed or asked under duress to pay large sums of money. We recommend you exercise vigilance late at night in these areas.

Personal attacks, including sexual assault and rape, are rare, but do happen. Japanese law places a high burden of proof on the victim to demonstrate that the sexual relations were not consensual and committed through assault, intimidation or force.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Japan, report it to the local police immediately. Note that the police may initially refuse to issue you with any document which proves a report has been made. Please contact the Irish Embassy in Tokyo if you need assistance.

Counselling Services

Should you require professional counselling services we advise you to contact TELL Japan who offer free, anonymous telephone counselling and support across Japan.

Driving

Like Ireland, driving in Japan is on the left hand side of the road.  If you’re planning to drive in Japan, the roads are well maintained and the rules of the road are broadly similar to Ireland.

If you want to drive:

  • Bring your international driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • There are severe penalties against drink-driving or allowing someone else to drink and drive by, for example, being a passenger in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver.
  • Longer-term residents who wish to drive in Japan will need to obtain a domestic driving licence within their first year in the country. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police website provides useful information about obtaining a Japanese licence.

Vehicle hire

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Political tensions/Nuclear and missile tests by North Korea

While the likelihood of an incident remains low, we encourage you to be prepared and to be familiar with established safety procedures.

You can read detailed information about what to do and how to prepare on the Japanese Government’s Cabinet Secretariat Civil Protection Portal site. As in any emergency, the Embassy strongly advises you to follow the instructions of local authorities.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use is a serious crime in Japan and can lead to long prison terms, stiff penalties or deportation. We advise against purchasing medicines or other substances from overseas via the internet which can be a crime in Japan leading to prosecution.

Alcohol

Customs and laws concerning the consumption of alcohol in Japan are broadly similar to those in Ireland.  There are severe penalties against drink-driving or allowing someone else to drink and drive by, for example, being a passenger in a vehicle driven by a drunk driver.

You should also be aware that there have been several reported instances of drinks being spiked in certain districts in Tokyo.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Japan is in a very active earthquake zone and earthquakes of various sizes occur frequently throughout the country. Irish citizens travelling to or resident in Japan should familiarise themselves with the measures to take in the event of an earthquake.

The following may also be useful sources of information for visitors to Japan:

Restrictions around the Fukushima nuclear power plant

The 2011 earthquake and tsunami severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture. The Japanese authorities implemented exclusion zones around the plant, and illegally entering these zones is a punishable offence. Further information on these areas can be seen on this Japanese government website. You can also check for up-to-date Japanese government information on the radiation levels around the Fukushima plant. The Japanese authorities carry out comprehensive monitoring of possible contamination of water and food and are imposing strict controls where necessary. The situation has stabilised, although it will take decades to decommission and decontaminate the plant.

Elsewhere in the north-east of Japan, the situation has largely returned to normal and there is no reason to avoid or postpone travel to this region.

Typhoons

The Japanese typhoon season runs from June to October, with the period between August and September seeing the most typhoon activity. Typhoons that hit Japan are often accompanied by high tides and landslides that can occur anywhere during continuous periods of heavy rain.

Travellers to Japan (particularly southern regions) should pay attention to local travel information and consult the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), which provides information in English. You should also check with your airline or transport operator before travelling.

Volcanoes

Japan has several active volcanoes. You should follow advice given by the Japanese authorities about travelling in volcanic areas. Please check latest volcano warnings on the website of the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

Additional Information

Additional information

COVID-19 State of Emergency in Japan lifted nationwide on 25 May

There is a heightened risk of sustained local transmission of COVID-19 in Japan. The Government of Japan has asked people to continue to remain vigilant against COVID-19 by taking infection prevention measures and reducing physical contact.

 

We continue to advise all Irish citizens in Japan to monitor developments and to closely follow the advice of local, in particular Prefectural and national authorities in Japan in order to assure their own health and safety and that of others.

A number of prefectural authorities in Japan have established COVID-19 advice lines and information in English and Japanese. A table setting out links to this information in each Prefecture is available here: Advice Lines and COVID-19 Websites in English & Japanese

NHK also continues to publish news updates and helpful information in English.

 

Entry and borders

As part of preventative measures against the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the Government of Japan has implemented a number of border entry requirements. This includes denial of entry for most short-term foreign visitors who have visited Ireland or any other country on the restricted list in the 14 days prior to entry to Japan, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Please see further detail on the latest entry restrictions on the website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

 

The Government of Japan has suspended visa waiver agreements with a number of countries, including Ireland, until further notice. This means that Irish citizens will not be able to enter Japan as a visitor without a visa.

 

From 1 October, Irish citizens and other non-Japanese nationals who need to move to Japan to study, work or join family are permitted to do provided they fulfill the relevant visa requirements. Irish citizens and other non-Japanese nationals wishing to visit for short-term business purposes are also permitted to enter, provided that they fulfill the relevant visa requirements.

 

Irish citizens seeking to enter Japan for tourism purposes or for other short term stays, will be denied entry to Japan unless there are special circumstances. Irish citizens should confirm possible eligibility to enter Japan with their nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate.

 

Irish citizens currently in Japan with a valid Status of Residence are now able to leave and re-enter Japan, if a valid re-entry permit is sought in advance. Please see the following communication from the Immigration Services Agency of Japan for detail on the process and required documents for re-entry:  http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001327551.pdf

 

Irish citizens with a Status of Residence who had already left Japan before 1 September, are also  permitted to return. This includes those who until recently were prohibited from returning. Irish citizens with a Status of Residence who are currently outside of Japan and had left before 1 September, and are looking to return, will need to apply to their nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate for a “Re-Entry Confirmation Letter”. This will need to be presented on arrival, along with a certificate of a negative COVID-19 test taken prior to arrival.  Further detail on the required documents is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

 

Please ensure your eligibility before arranging for travel. You can contact the Japanese Embassy in Dublin or your nearest Japanese Embassy if you are in a third country. Or if you are in Japan, you can contact the Embassy or your local immigration office.

 

Visas

The Government of Japan has suspended visa waiver agreements with a number of countries, including Ireland. This means that Irish citizens will not be able to enter Japan as a visitor without a visa.

 

Those who still wish to travel to Japan can apply for a visa, but this is likely to take more time than usual. Please check with your nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate for further details. The contact details for the Japanese Embassy in Dublin are available here.

 

Further information on extension of short term stays in Japan can be found on the website of the Immigration Services Agency of Japan:

 

The Government of Japan has also suspended single entry and multiple entry visas issued by their Embassies in a large number of countries. These measures have been applied to different countries at different times. Further information on these measures can also be found on the website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

Strengthened quarantine measures

For Irish citizens not affected by the above entry restrictions, please note that the Government of Japan has also implemented enhanced screening and quarantine procedures for visitors to Japan. All visitors to Japan from a number of countries worldwide are being asked upon arrival to go into quarantine at designated locations for 14 days and to refrain from using public transport. Please see further information from the Japanese Ministry of Health (MHLW) on the current quarantine procedures and which countries are affected.

 

Transit 

The current entry restrictions do not apply to passengers who are transiting through the same airport and do not go through immigration. If you are transiting using different airports, you will need a transit permit on arrival. To get one you will be required to demonstrate that you have not come from a country on the banned list, that you have timely onward travel plans and be able to show that you will not use public transport to move between airports; this includes taxis. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the authorities. You should also check the latest entry requirements for your destination. If you are unsure of whether your transit is affected, please contact your airline. You can also contact the Embassy in Tokyo by phone (03 3263 0695) or by email (tokyoem@dfa.ie).

 

Additional Information on Entry Requirements

In relation to entry procedures from November 2007, in accordance with a partial amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, all foreign visitors entering Japan will be fingerprinted and digitally photographed during entry procedures.

 

Those refusing to be fingerprinted or photographed will be denied entry to Japan. Persons under the age of 16, special status permanent residents and those performing actions which would be performed by those with a status of residence, "diplomat" or "official government business" will be exempt from these procedures. Full information may be found on the website of the Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Justice.

 

Health

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. There is a heightened risk of sustained local transmission of COVID-19 in Japan. If you are in Japan, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of national, prefectural and local authorities.

 

For information in English from the Japanese Ministry of Health, please see the following link: https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/newpage_00032.html

 

General information on travel and health can be found on the HSE website: https://www.hse.ie/eng/.

 

For specific travel health advice relating to Japan, including on vaccinations, we would advise travellers to contact their GP or travel clinic. Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Japan.

 

Medication

There are restrictions on the importation of some over-the-counter and prescription medicines and this may include certain types of allergy and sinus medication. If a visit to a doctor is required, there are a number of clinics with English-speaking personnel who widely advertise their services. However, it may not be possible to obtain the same brand-name medication that is available in Ireland. 

 

English Language News

NHK World: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/

Nikkei Asian Review: https://asia.nikkei.com/

Kyodo: https://english.kyodonews.net/

 

Language schools

There are numerous English language schools in Japan recruiting teachers from overseas. The Department strongly advises job applicants to scrutinise the details of the terms and conditions of their prospective contracts and of their prospective agency/ employer, in order to ensure that they are fully satisfied of the good standing of those agencies/employers and that their conditions of employment will be met.

 

Cash and banking

We advise you to contact your financial institution in advance of travelling to Japan and check that your cards will be valid upon arrival as some visitors experience difficulties accessing funds using cash cards issued in Ireland. It is advisable for visitors to have an alternative means with which to access funds should such situations arise (e.g. a credit card with a cash advance facility or travellers' cheques).

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

Please note that if you require assistance in the case of emergency while the Embassy is closed, contact the main Embassy number, 03 3263 0695, and leave a message on the Duty Officer voice mailbox.
This mailbox will be monitored regularly.

Embassy of Ireland
Ireland House
2-10-7, Kojimachi
Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 102-0083
Japan

Tel: +81 3 3263 0695
Fax: +81 3 3265 2275

Monday – Friday 10:00am to 12:30pm and 2:00pm to 4:00pm

Contact us

Honorary Consulate Contact

Mr Seiji Kasama
Honorary Consulate of Ireland
C/O ID Partners Company Limited.
3F Takimoto Building
Kita 1-jo Nishi 7-chome 4-banchi
Chuo-ku Sapporo 060-0001
Japan

Tel: +81 11 221 2451
Fax: +81 11 783 7747

Email: Email us