Time to read: Approximately 3 minutes

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (MAFF) is the Responsible Authority for the entry of dogs to Japan.

For Japan, read both the Assistance Dog and Standard (pet) Dog Travel Rules provided. For any contradictions, clarify with the Responsible Authority.

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A cherry blossom in full bloom in Japan displaying its delicate pink petals.
Guide Dog Nixon in harness lying in front of TravelPaws Founder Nina, at Narita Airport, Japan departure lounge, April 2019

These notes include my personal experience travelling to Japan with Guide Dog Nixon in March 2019. I lived in Japan for four years in the early 90’s so have a personal love for the country.

- Nina Smith, Founder and Director, TravelPaws

Japan Overview

It's worth considering the personality of your dog before deciding to take them to Japan — would they cope with long flights, crowds and small spaces?

  • Spring and autumn are beautiful times of the year to travel in Japan.
  • If you travel in summer, take care on the very hot concrete with your dog's paws and be warned, it is humid for you and your dog.
  • If you go in winter take care in slippery conditions

Non-Japanese Assistance Dogs need to obtain the same certification as domestic Assistance Dogs through the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan - See Temporary ID.
Unfortunately, Japan has a very narrow definition of Assistance Dog: "Service dogs for mental disorders, autism, emotional disorders, epileptic disorders, PTSD, etc. cannot be accepted as assistance dogs in Japan." - See Eligibility Criteria

Guide Dog Nixon sitting in harness in front of the cherry blossoms in Tokyo, Spring 2019

Contact the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (MAFF)

Be prepared

  • Confirm any specific requirements with all Responsible Authorities before booking your trip. This includes both entering/leaving any country and all airline/cruise line requirements.
  • The Travel Process can take several months so leave plenty of planning time for your trip (except for valid EU Pet Passport travel).

Travel Rules for Assistance Dogs

The links below detail concerns specific to Assistance Dogs. Visiting these links will open another website.

Assistance Dog Eligibility Criteria

There is no standard that all countries follow for recognising Assistance Dogs. Check whether your dog qualifies.

Bringing Assistance Dogs into Japan

The process for bringing a recognised Assistance Dog into Japan.

Japanese Temporary ID

Japan requires your Assistance Dog obtain the same certification as domestic Assistance Dogs.

Travel Rules for Standard (pet) Dogs

These links detail the process for Standard (pet) Dogs, which Assistance Dogs may still need to follow. Visiting these links will open another website.

Bringing all dogs into Japan

The process for bringing all dogs into Japan.

Taking all dogs out of Japan

The process for taking all dogs out of Japan.

Miscellaneous Information

Extra information that is specific to the region or country.

Japan Layover Process

Be aware that an extra process is required for layovers in Japan.

Japanese Public Access Laws

Requirements and rights covering Assistance Dogs and their Handlers.

Related TravelPaws Countries

TravelPaws has other listings that may also be of interest:

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