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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

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

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. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating 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 security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

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.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also 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.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

 

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

Latest travel alert

Summary

  • On 25 May, the central Government lifted the state of emergency in the last remaining 5 prefectures in Japan (Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa and Hokkaido prefectures), ending the nationwide state of emergency which was put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.
  • The Government has asked people to continue to remain vigilant to prevent a second wave and to continue with measures that reduce social contact.
  • The Government has said that it will re-impose restrictions if there is a second wave of infections, or if the number of patients increases dramatically again.
  • 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 measures still 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 details below to stay connected.
  • 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. Due to a high volume of calls, 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:

  • Irish citizens seeking to enter Japan, who have been in Ireland in the past 14 days will be denied entry to Japan.
  • These measures also apply to Irish citizens normally resident in Japan. Irish citizens who are normally resident in Japan, and are currently out of Japan with re-entry permission, are technically permitted to return to Japan, unless they have travelled to Ireland or another of the restricted regions specified by the Japanese authorities in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the country. In that case, they will be denied entry, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • Exceptions for foreign nationals returning to Japan from Ireland are likely to be restricted to those who left Japan on or before 2 April with re-entry permission and who are either holders of permanent residency or long-term residence permits; or are spouses or children of permanent residency holders; or direct relatives of Japanese nationals. The Japanese authorities are also considering humanitarian grounds for exceptional permission to re-enter Japan. Further information from the Japanese Ministry of Justice (MOJ) can be found here: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001321982.pdf
  • 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.
  • There are enhanced quarantine procedures in place for visitors to Japan at present. Visitors to Japan from a number of countries will be asked upon arrival to go into quarantine at designated locations for 14 days and to refrain from using public transport.

Further information from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on the entry restrictions is available here: https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html 

Further information from the Japanese Ministry of Health (MHLW) on the current quarantine procedures and which countries are affected is available here:

https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/kenkou_iryou/covid19_qa_kanrenkigyou_00003.html

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/)

COVID-19 in Japan

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 local authorities.

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

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.

The Health Service Executive of Ireland (HSE) have advised some basic precautions to protect yourself from getting COVID-19:

Do:
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

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

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

On 25 May, the central Government lifted the state of emergency in the last remaining 5 prefectures in Japan (Tokyo, Chiba, Saitama, Kanagawa and Hokkaido prefectures), ending the nationwide state of emergency which was put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan.

The Government has asked people to continue to remain vigilant to prevent a second wave and to continue with measures that reduce social contact.

The Government has said that it will re-impose restrictions if there is a second wave of infections, or if the number of patients increases dramatically again.

Prime Minister Abe has asked residents to “gradually” take steps to return to everyday life, like avoiding non-urgent face-to-face meetings, embracing progressive changes in lifestyle like telecommuting and maintaining vigilance over the coronavirus.

The Government continues to request the public to maintain social distancing and avoid crowded areas.

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 those of others.

The Japanese prefectural authorities 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

The Embassy advises Irish citizens in Japan to monitor developments closely and to follow local guidelines. 

COVID-19 Entry Requirements

As part of preventative measures against the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the Government of Japan has announced a number of new border entry requirements. Further information on these measures can be found below.. Please also refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for full information:

https://www.mofa.go.jp/ca/fna/page4e_001053.html 

Entry and borders

The Government of Japan has added further countries to the list of countries and regions announced on 3 April, from which entry to Japan will be denied. All foreign visitors who have been in any one of 129 countries (including Ireland) in the past 14 days will be denied entry to Japan, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Please see further detail on the measures and countries under restrictions on the website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The exceptional circumstances under which entry/re-entry may be permitted in the case of foreign nationals returning from Ireland include foreign nationals who are either a “Permanent Resident”, “Spouse or Child of Japanese National”, “Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident” or “Long Term Resident”, and who have departed Japan with Re-entry Permission on or by 2 April. The “Special Permanent Resident” is not in the scope of the entry ban.

The Japanese authorities are also considering humanitarian grounds for exceptional permission to re-enter Japan. Further information from the Japanese Ministry of Justice (MOJ) can be found here: http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001321982.pdf

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 of Ireland in Tokyo 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. Please note that the entry restrictions detailed above remain in place for Irish citizens in possession of a visa.

Irish citizens currently in Japan can stay in the country for the remainder of the 90-day period that was granted on arrival.

Further information on extension of 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.

Re-entry

Irish citizens who are normally resident in Japan and are currently outside of Japan with re-entry permission, will not be permitted to return to Japan if they have travelled to Ireland or another of the restricted regions in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the country, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Exceptions are likely to be restricted to those who left Japan on or before 2 April with re-entry permission and who are either holders of permanent residency or long-term residence permits; or are spouses or children of permanent residency holders; or direct relatives of Japanese nationals. The Japanese authorities are also considering humanitarian grounds for exceptional permission to re-enter Japan. Further information has been published by the Japanese Ministry of Justice (MOJ).

If you are unsure of what the entry requirements for Japan are, including visa and other immigration information, you can ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Japan. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

Transit

These 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