- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
Avoid non-essential travel.
Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020
- 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 national authorities for details of specific measures in force in those areas, in order to assure their own health and that of others.
- The Government of Japan has declared a State of Emergency in 11 prefectures in Japan, including: Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Chiba, Tochigi, Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Aichi, Gifu and Fukuoka prefectures, which will run from 8 January to 7 March. Business will be operating with reduced hours and other preventative measures including social distancing and remote work provision continue to be encouraged.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. As the Embassy is operating on reduced staffing and reduced hours, communication by email is preferred. We will prioritise responding to urgent queries.
- 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.
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 below for further detailed information on entry restrictions and requirements, which include new visa requirements for Irish citizens.
- 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.
- With effect from 28 December 2020, new entry to Japan by foreign nationals is not permitted. This applies to people with visas issued since the entry restrictions were relaxed on 1 October.
- Irish citizens with Status of Residence in Japan and who leave or have left Japan with a valid re-entry permit are allowed to re-enter Japan.
- All those who enter, re-enter or return to Japan (including Japanese nationals) are requested to submit a certificate of negative test result of pre-entry COVID-19 test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure, and undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival.
- Japan announced on 2 February that Ireland has been included on a list of countries with community transmission of “coronavirus variants of concern”. Passengers from these countries, including Ireland, are subject to additional quarantine measures, taking effect on 5 February.
- From 5 February, all Passengers who enter and return to Japan from Ireland or the other countries/regions with community transmission of “coronavirus variants of concern” (listed here) will be requested to stay at specific designated facilities, and then required to take an additional COVID-19 test again on the third day of quarantine. Those who have a negative result in this test may leave the designated quarantine accommodation booked by the quarantine office, but are requested to self-quarantine at home during the remaining period of 14 days after entering Japan.
- All passengers are also subject COVID-19 testing upon arrival and are required to quarantine for 14 days following arrival and refrain from using public transportation.
- From 14 January, all passengers arriving into Japan from this list of countries, as well as those countries which were part of individual Business, and Residence Tracks until recently, are required to sign a written pledge, confirming that they will self-isolate for 14 days on arrival at a designated location (such as a hotel or their own home). This pledge will also ask individuals to refrain from using public transport, to install Japan’s COVID-19 tracing app, to maintain location data for 14 days via their smartphone; and to agree to disclose this location data if requested by the quarantine authority.
- Failure to comply with these requests could lead to an individual being subject to detention under the Quarantine Act, having their name and relevant information released, or the revocation of their residence status and subsequent deportation. If someone does not wish to sign this pledge, they will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days at a place designated by the quarantine authority. These measures will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
- For full information on current entry requirements and restrictions, please consult the website of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Irish citizens seeking to enter Japan for tourism purposes or for other short term stays continue to 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 with a valid Status of Residence in Japan who leave or have left Japan with a valid re-entry permit are permitted to re-enter Japan. From 1 November, Irish citizens with Status of Residence in Japan who are departing and re-entering Japan will no longer need to seek ‘Receipt for Request of Re-entry’ before their travel. Further detail on this change can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Please note that the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test conducted in the 72 hours before re-entry to Japan remains in place.
- Please ensure your eligibility before arranging travel. Any Irish citizen who has questions concerning entry/re-entry to Japan, should contact their nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate if outside of Japan, or their local immigration office if present in Japan.
- 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 (email@example.com).
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.
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.
Public health guidelines continue to apply for anyone arriving in Ireland. Effective from 16 January 2021, all passengers arriving into Ireland (except those arriving from Northern Ireland) are required to have a negative or ‘not detected’ result from a pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test that was carried out no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland. This is a mandatory requirement. Passengers will be asked to present evidence of their negative/‘not detected’ result before boarding their airplane or ferry and will be denied boarding if they cannot produce such evidence. For further information on arriving in Ireland from abroad, please visit the website of the Irish Government (www.gov.ie) or the Health Service Executive (HSE) www.hse.ie
Contact the Embassy
Irish citizens in Japan can also contact the Embassy in Tokyo by phone +81 (0)3 3263 0695 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org. As the Embassy is operating on reduced staffing and reduced hours, communication by 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 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.
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should check the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website for guidance here:
The Health Service Executive of Ireland (HSE) have advised some basic precautions to protect yourself from getting COVID-19: https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/protect-yourself-and-others.html
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:
Irish citizens in Ireland with concerns about travel in respect of COVID-19, can ring the Department of Foreign Affairs dedicated phone line on +353 (0)1 613 1733.
Please see more information on the dedicated Department of Foreign Affairs COVID-19 travel advice webpage: https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/coronavirus/
General Travel Advice
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.
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.
- 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
Safety and security
Crime remains low in Japan but you should take sensible precautions.
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.
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.
Should you require professional counselling services we advise you to contact TELL Japan who offer free, anonymous telephone counselling and support across Japan.
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.
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
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 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.
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
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:
- NHK News media outlet (in English)
- A useful smartphone app for earthquake alerts is "Yurekuru".
- English language disaster information is available via the notifications feature on the NHK World News App.
- Tsunami warnings are issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.
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.
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.
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.
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. Full details in Overview section.
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.
Information on Entry Requirements
In addition to COVID-19 related entry requirements (see Overview section) there are other requirements for entry to Japan. In accordance with a partial amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, from November 2007, 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.
There is a heightened risk of sustained local transmission of COVID-19 in Japan. See Overview section for further details. 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 those travelling to Japan 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.
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/
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).
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
Monday – Friday 10:00am to 12:30pm and 2:00pm to 4:00pm
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
Email: Email us
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.