Country: Japan 
Japanese Public Access Dog Laws

Time to read: Approximately 2 minutes

Japan has specific Assistance Dog Laws and Eligibility Criteria which are listed below. Please familiarise yourself with these before you start the Travel Rules process.

Assistance Dog Eligibility Criteria

You must meet the Assistance Dog Eligibility Criteria for travel to Japan

Japan Assistance Dog Access

  • Access for Assistance Dogs is guaranteed in Japanese public facilities, stores, and hospitals (including zoos!)
  • Visitors must complete the Japanese Temporary Assistance Dog Certification to be granted these rights
  • If you have any access issues, please keep your cool and show page 2 of this Aqua coloured section on this Japanese language version of the Assistance Dog Access Leaflet (PDF). Whenever I have had to show this Guide, staff have apologised profusely for their lack of awareness. You can also read the English version of the Assistance Dog Access Leaflet (PDF).
  • There are tactiles in a lot of places in Tokyo
  • It is not common to see people with a disability out and about in Japan
  • Therefore, access laws are not widely familiar. There is unlikely to be any malicious intent behind any resistance you may experience
  • The stickers below indicate that Assistance Dogs are welcome (visual description below).
Guide Dog Nixon sitting in harness in front of a Japanese cafe with Assistance Dog Access Law signage
Nixon is allowed to access this store because of the sinage

Assistance Dog Information

  • As of 2019, there are only about 950 guide dog teams, 65 mobility service dog teams and 68 hearing dog teams in the whole of Japan for a population of 127 million
  • Be prepared to be a bit of a spectacle because of the existence of few Assistance Dogs, however Japanese people are usually discreet about their intrigue
  • Japanese people are quite aware of our dogs' role, relevant protocol and our rights
  • Here is some general information on Assistance Dogs in Japan from the MHLW.
Japanese Assistance Dog Access signage
A person in a wheelchair with their Assistance Dog adjacent to three Japanese Assistance Dog Access stickers and an English Assistance Dog Access Sign. The sign reads: "These are Service Dog Welcome stickers for shops, restaurants, taxis, various facilities and hospitals with the city government. This sign will make service dog users confident and happy whenever they go".