This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Japan set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to. You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Entry to Japan
The re-entry into Japan of foreign nationals with status of residence who have stayed in these countries within 14 days prior to the application for landing will be denied, unless there are special exceptional circumstances.
Foreign nationals who wish to enter Japan for work or study but do not have existing resident status and who have visited the UK or this list of countries in the past 14 days are currently not permitted to enter until further notice, other than in exceptional circumstances. This guidance also applies to foreign nationals in possession of visas issued under the previous individual and Global Residence Tracks.
Other entry to Japan on a short-term basis, such as for business, tourism or to visit family, continues to be denied other than in exceptional circumstances. Business Tracks with all countries/regions have also been suspended until further notice. Japan has also introduced caps on the numbers of people able to arrive by plane, and bookings on some routes have therefore been suspended. Check with your airline.
Further details are available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, or via Japan’s Visa Information Hotline on +44 (0)800 041 8412. Alternatively, contact your nearest Japanese Embassy for more information, including if you believe you qualify for exceptional circumstances.
Under the Quarantine Act, all those entering Japan currently need to provide written evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result conducted within the 72 hours before their flight departure time. Details of the format are available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.
Re-entry to Japan
British nationals 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. However, you will need to follow appropriate arrival and quarantine rules as set out below, and provide written evidence of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within the 72 hours before your flight departure time. You should check the Japanese government’s advice on this re-entry process on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Japan has also introduced caps on the number of people able to arrive by plane, and bookings on some routes have therefore been suspended. You should check with your airline if unsure.
Those who do not have a valid re-entry permit will in principle be denied re-entry; please consult the Japanese authorities for advice.
Japan has suspended its visa waiver system for anyone travelling on a British Citizen or British National (Overseas) passport with no indication of when this suspension will be lifted. Japan has also suspended single and multiple entry visas issued by Japanese Embassies and Consulates General in the UK (and many other countries) prior to 20 March 2020 ; the full list can be found on the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Anyone arriving in Japan without a valid visa will not be able to enter.
Testing/screening on arrival
All passengers arriving in Japan are required to complete a health questionnaire before disembarkation, including contact details. They are then required to undergo a COVID-19 test at the airport. You will be asked to wait for the test results at the airport before moving to your accommodation.
Quarantine and self-isolation requirements
Unvaccinated travellers from the UK are required to sign a pledge upon arrival confirming that you will quarantine and self-isolate for a total of 14 days. This pledge will also ask individuals to refrain from using public transport; install Japan’s COVID-19 tracing app; maintain location data for 14 days via your smartphone mapping application and agree to disclose location data if requested by the quarantine authority.
Failure to comply with these requests could lead to you being subject to detention under the Quarantine Act. It could also lead to your name and relevant information related to reducing the spread of infection being released; and for foreign nationals, possible revocation of their status of residence and subsequent deportation. If you do not wish to sign this pledge, you will be asked to quarantine for 14 days at a place designated by the quarantine authority.
Having signed the pledge, unvaccinated travellers will be requested to spend 3 days in quarantine at a government-provided hotel, with further COVID-19 tests on the third day (the date of arrival counts as Day 0). Children over the age of 12 will be asked to quarantine without a guardian, the Japanese authorities may offer some flexibility on this point but this is not guaranteed. If the tests are negative, travellers will be allowed to continue 14 days’ self-isolation at home or in a self-arranged hotel.
Fully-vaccinated travellers are exempt from some of the usual quarantine and self-isolation requirements. To be eligible for exemptions, travellers must:
- have been double vaccinated a minimum of 14 days prior to entering Japan
- have been vaccinated with the Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccines
- hold proof of vaccination in English or Japanese from an approved country/region. The list of approved countries, which includes the UK, can be found on the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s website. The proof of vaccination must include the traveller’s name, date of birth, details of when you were vaccinated, how many times and the name of the company which produced the vaccine
- enter Japan from a country such as the UK, which requires no more than 3 days’ hotel quarantine. Additionally, you must not have visited any countries requiring 6 or 10 days’ quarantine in the previous 14 days. Further details on these requirements can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website
If you satisfy the above criteria, you must provide a copy of your proof of vaccination to the quarantine officials upon arrival at the airport in Japan. (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 status’). If approved, fully-vaccinated travellers will then be exempt from the mandatory 3 day quarantine in a Government-approved hotel, and from submitting a third day COVID-19 test. You will also be allowed to self-isolate in your home or hotel without completing the full 14 days of self-isolation, subject to the following requirements:
- fully-vaccinated travellers should submit to a COVID-19 test approved by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare on the 10th day after entering Japan
- if the test is negative, travellers should inform the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare directly
- upon receiving a confirmation email from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, individuals will be allowed to exit self-isolation
Fully-vaccinated travellers who do not follow this process will be required to self-isolate for the full 14 days.
More details on Japan’s current quarantine rules, including rules for those travelling from countries other than the UK, are available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. New measures may be brought in at short notice.
Demonstrating your COVID-19 status
Japan will only accept the UK’s letter version of proof of COVID-19 recovery and vaccination record. They will not accept digital proof. You must show the original and hand over a copy of it on arrival, either on paper or by email if electronic proof. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
The measures listed above do not apply to passengers who are transiting through one Japanese 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 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.
Regular entry requirements
In normal circumstances, if you have a ‘British Citizen’ or ‘British National (Overseas)’ passport you can enter Japan as a visitor for up to 90 days without a visa. You may need to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket.
If you have a different type of British nationality, or you wish to enter Japan for other purposes (long-term stay, study, settlement, employment); if you have any doubts about whether you’re eligible to enter Japan (eg, if you have a criminal record or have been arrested even if it did not result in a conviction) or about visa matters generally, contact a Japanese Embassy or Consulate. Visas aren’t issued after arrival in Japan.
It’s illegal to work in Japan without the correct visa, however informal or temporary the work. Don’t overstay your permission to remain in the country, otherwise you risk arrest, detention and a heavy fine.
Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Japan.
The use or possession of some common prescription and over-the-counter medicines are banned under Japan’s strictly enforced anti-stimulant drugs law. This includes Vicks inhalers, medicines for allergies and sinus problems, cold and flu medication containing Pseudoephedrine and even some over-the-counter painkillers like those containing codeine. Foreign nationals have been detained and deported for offences - ignorance may not be considered a defence. You should check the status of your medication with the nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate before you travel.
If you’re travelling with prescription medication that is permitted under Japanese law, you’re normally allowed to bring in up to one month’s supply. You’re advised to bring a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating the medical condition that the medication has been prescribed to treat. For more guidance on travelling with medication, check information pages from NHS Choices and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) in our foreign travel checklist.
If you need prescription medicine for long term use, you may need to provide extra paperwork, such as an import licence. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare provides information about bringing medication for personal use.