Japan Travel Information
From March 27, entry bans have been introduced from
Norway to Japan. For more information about coronavirus
and travel restrictions, see the section Health.
On a general basis, Japan is a safe country to travel
in. There is low crime, and Japan has a well-developed
police and health care system. English, on the other
hand, is not as widespread as in Norway and Europe, and
language problems can arise in connection with contact
with local authorities - especially outside typical
tourist areas. The biggest potential danger in Japan is
Terror or military conflict: There
is a low risk of terrorist attacks in Japan, although
there are some extreme organizations and sects. In the
event of threatening situations, you should contact your
local police. Feel free to contact the embassy or the
nearest Norwegian consulate.
Despite occasional sharp rhetoric from neighboring
countries, military conflict in Japan is also considered
unlikely. Should such a situation arise, this will be
notified via formal channels, and it is recommended to
follow the advice of the Japanese authorities.
The Japanese Civil Defense has prepared a brochure
that informs about warnings and measures related to
armed or terrorist attacks.
- Protecting Ourselves Against Armed Attacks and
- Civil Protection Portal Site
Crime: Crime in Japan is generally
low. Despite large crowds and the fact that it is common
to carry a good deal of cash, there is little pocket
theft. Travelers should be alert, however, and take
reasonable precautions. Read more about this under
general advice for travelers.
- Countryaah: Tokyo is the capital
of Japan. Check to find information of population, geography, history,
and economy about the capital city.
It is worth noting that there have been some cases of
foreigners being exposed to threats and credit card
abuse in Japan's larger nightlife districts. The vast
majority of events of this type occur in the larger
Tokyo nightlife districts, such as Roppongi and the
Kabukicho area of Shinjuku. Foreigners may be stopped
on the street by English-speaking depositors, or
contacted at bars, clubs or restaurants and asked for a
different dining location. For tourists who do not speak
Japanese, it may be tempting to join a place where they
can speak English, and it is often lured with free
welcome drinks or the like.
When visiting such a night out, there are several
possible scenarios, or variants, of these:
- The victim is presented with a bill that is
substantially higher than initially anticipated, and
is threatened to pay by credit card or to withdraw
money from an ATM.
- The victim is checked up and asked to buy drinks
for women, who then order drinks that are priced so
- The victim gets added alcohol or very strong
alcohol in the drink and falls asleep (so-called
"drink spiking"). While the victim is asleep, credit
cards are charged for high sums. In some cases, the
victim may be subject to robbery or abuse.
Most visits to Tokyo go smoothly, but be on your
guard to make sure you are not exposed to such scams.
Some precautions that can help are:
- Consider leaving a bank and credit card at the
hotel. Only bring as much cash as you intend to
- Go to places you know before, have been
recommended by well-known, hotel service or travel
- Never join ongoing invitees and say no to offers
of free drinks and invitations that seem too good to
- Don't walk alone and watch out for each other.
Foreigners who are out alone are typical targets.
- Don't drink too much. Surprisingly intoxicated
people are considered simple targets.
If you are exposed to crime, contact with Japanese
police can also be challenging. In many places, language
problems will make it difficult to communicate with the
police, but by dialing the emergency number 110,
English-language personnel will always be available. If
you submit a police report or similar, a copy of the
police report for insurance settlement will be required
for many. In Japan, you usually won't get such a copy.
You can request a copy, or permission to take a photo of
the report, but if this is not possible you should at
least be able to request a report number. Many will
accept this as proof that you have been in contact with
If you need legal assistance in Japan, travel
insurance companies can often assist to a certain
extent, or else the Tokyo Embassy has a list of some
English-language lawyers in central areas.
Traffic: There is left-hand
traffic in Japan. There may be heavy traffic,
but traffic rules are followed, and motorists mostly
respect other road users.
Earthquake: Japan is in one of the
world's most active seismic zones, and a natural
disaster is the most current and potentially the most
devastating crisis situation one needs to be aware of in
Earthquakes cannot normally be predicted, even with
continuous seismic monitoring. If measurements show that
there is an imminent danger of a major earthquake, an
alert will be broadcast over TV, radio as well as other
channels. Follow local government directions.
See information on earthquake preparedness from
- Comprehensive Living Guide for Foreign Residents
- Information to Help When Disaster Prevention and
During an earthquake
Most earthquakes rarely last more than one minute.
Time may feel long and intense. Once it has started, you
only have a few seconds to act. An earthquake can be
quite daunting, but protecting one is usually not
dangerous in itself.
Protect your head: Stay away from
things that may fall. Although new buildings are built
to withstand relatively large earthquakes, lamps, roof
panels, etc. may fall. Take refuge under a solid table,
in a doorway or in an empty corridor. Stay away from
windows that can shatter and shelves that can tip over,
and pull to the outside of large open spaces. Use a
helmet, pillow or similar to protect your head. Don't
run out during the quake - you can easily be hit by
Stop the car: If you are in a car,
park on the roadside and be seated. Avoid parking on or
Search for an open place: If you are
out: Watch for falling objects (signs, glass, wires).
Avoid house walls, walls and posts. An open space is the
best. By the sea - be aware of the danger of a tsunami.
Wait: Wait until the quake is over
before moving from a safe place and be ready for any
Right after an earthquake
Protect your head: Watch out for
things that may fall off your roof or shelf, and often
use a helmet or other items to protect your head. This
applies both when you move out of your immediate place
of refuge and if you leave the home. Sudden earthquakes
can trigger further collapse of both objects and
buildings long after the original earthquake.
Protect from fire: Immediately after
an earthquake, it is important to extinguish any fires
as soon as possible. Check gas stoves, electrical
installations, other sources of energy for possible fire
hazards. During a major earthquake in Tokyo, the spread
of fire in densely populated areas is considered the
greatest potential danger to life.
Secure escape route: It is possible
that the exit has been blocked or otherwise locked. It
is important to secure an escape route as soon as
possible in the event of an aftershock. Set up doors and
windows so they cannot be blocked by aftershocks.
Be calm and patient and help injured:
If anyone is injured, give first aid. Seek
medical help at designated evacuation sites in the
neighborhood. If you yourself are injured and are
conscious, it is important not to use force
unnecessarily. Try to call for help.
Drain water in bathtubs and buckets:
The water can quickly shut down, but there is water in
the piping for a while.
Listen to the radio and TV and
follow the instructions given
Find out the evacuation bag so you are clear if
evacuation is needed.
Consider trying to find missing family members, or
waiting for them at home. Often it is easiest to have
the home as a meeting point for the family. If you have
to leave the house, let us know where you are and who is
with you. If possible, leave a message on voicemail.
Bring the evacuation bag.
Leave the car: Blocked roads make
rescue work difficult, and many roads are closed.
The tsunami is a tidal wave that is often triggered
by an earthquake in the ocean and can lead to enormous
destruction. In the aftermath of major earthquakes, the
geographical location of the earthquake will always be
reported as well as whether there is a danger of a
tsunami or not via official Japanese channels.
Listen to warning and recommendations:
In most cases, a potential tsunami will be notified
before the tsunami actually hits land. Use TV, radio or
the internet to bring you any notifications and
recommendations after an earthquake. In coastal areas,
alerts will often be called out via speaker system or
the like. Ask others nearby if you do not understand any
notice. For example, look at JMA's web pages.
Height: A tsunami will do the most
damage near the coast in places directly hit by the
tidal wave. Therefore, if you are in coastal areas, it
is important to reach the altitude as soon as possible.
If you live in or are often located in coastal areas,
you may want to be aware of the closest safe area and
how to get there as soon as possible.
A typhoon is a tropical cyclone that hits Japan on a
regular basis and can lead to very strong winds and
large amounts of rainfall. The typhoon season in Japan
lasts from June to October and can cause major damage to
buildings and people due to toppled trees, earthen
grass, floods and the like.
It is recommended to stay indoors when the typhoons
are at their worst, and especially to avoid areas along
the coast and rivers. Large amounts of rain can also
cause flooding and landslides in exposed areas.
Official weather information from Japanese
authorities can be found on the links below. Here you
can see, among other things, whether warnings have been
issued in Japan. Follow the typhoon's expected movements
and warnings for the area you are in.
The bottom link shows an explanation of the warning
system used in Japan.
- Japan Meteorological Agency - weather forecasts
- Japan Meteorological Agency - warnings
- Japan Meteorological Agency - Emergency Warning
Typhoons are not dangerous in themselves, but there
are several things to be aware of. Unlike earthquakes
and tsunamis that can be over in a short period of time,
a typhoon can last a long time and cause major damage to
infrastructure and buildings.
Listen to notification and recommendations:
As always, it is important to get good
information, and the Japanese authorities provide this
via TV, radio and the internet well in advance of a
typhoon hitting land. Special warnings in vulnerable
areas will be reported here.
Avoid coastal areas: Strong winds,
heavy rainfall and large waves can be dangerous for
obvious reasons, and it is recommended to avoid coastal
areas and other areas that are particularly exposed to
Be aware of landslides and floods: A
typhoon can cause both landslides and floods, and it is
not uncommon for missing and dead to be reported because
of this. Be careful if you are in an area that may be
subject to landslides or floods.
Damage to infrastructure and buildings:
If you have to move outside during a heavy
typhoon, you should be ready for large amounts of
rainfall. Strong winds can loosen branches from trees or
blow down objects from buildings. The winds often lead
to stops in train traffic, and using public transport
can be challenging. In case of particularly strong
typhoons, often a lot of public transport will be
preventively stopped in advance. In some cases, power
and telephone network problems may also occur.
See also information on Japanese typhoon readiness:
- Comprehensive Living Guide for Foreign Residents
After a crisis situation
Notify how you feel: Notify family
members, the employer and the Norwegian authorities.
Also tell me if you should be away from a vulnerable
area! Remember, many people wonder how you feel and may
be looking for you, even if you find yourself completely
untouched by a disaster.
Depending on where the disaster is, telephony lines
can be put out of play. Either way, the network
(including the mobile network) will quickly become
overloaded. Authorities will also often actively shut
down traffic to ensure that essential lines of
communication are maintained. Telephone boxes are likely
to be operational even in the event of a power outage,
and Seven/Eleven stores in Tokyo will often have
emergency lines available.
Imagine getting through the situation where
you are: An evacuation from Japan is unlikely
to be necessary. Japan has a well-developed health care
system, generally good infrastructure and responsible
and reliable authorities. Most Norwegians in Japan are
also settled over long periods. This also makes it
advisable to leave the place immediately for both
security and personal and psychological reasons.
Sources of information: In
connection with a crisis situation, good and reliable
information is very important in order to safeguard your
own security. Here is a simple overview of places where
you can find information.
Local Authorities: Visit your local city office and
local fire station for information on emergency
preparedness in the immediate area. You can also search
the local government websites for information.
- Tokyo Metropolitan's guide to disaster
preparedness can be useful for self-preparedness,
even for those living outside Tokyo.
- Tokyo International Communication Committee -
Here are a number of links with more information on
emergency preparedness, medical guidance, language
assistance, and more.
- Japan Metrological Agency - JMAhas continuously
updated weather, climate and earthquake information,
including typhoon, tsunami and volcanic activity
alerts. This is the Japanese government's primary
channel for a series of official disaster alerts.
JMA's multilingual weather portal.
- Television and Radio - Most major TV and radio
channels will have regular updates in the event of a
crisis. On newer TVs, it will be possible to switch
to English language or text on several of NHK TV's
broadcasts. The radio channels AFN (AM 810kHz in
Tokyo) or InterFM (FM 76.1Mhz in Tokyo) will have
English news updates.
- Embassy websites, Facebookand Twitter will be
used in emergency situations, but note that the
freshest and most detailed information is available
directly from Japanese sources.
Travel registration :
Norwegian citizens staying for a shorter or
longer period in Japan are encouraged to register on
reiseregistrering.no. See also the embassy's pages for
more information on travel registration.
Other: Norwegian citizens are
encouraged to have valid travel insurance.
In some local areas near the Fukushima Dai-ichi
nuclear plant, which was hit by the earthquake and
tsunami disaster in 2011, there are still restrictions
on residence and travel that must be observed.
- Police: 110 - always have English speaking staff
- Ambulance/fire: 119
In a crisis and emergency, Norwegians in Japan are
asked to contact the Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo on +81
(0) 3 6408 8100; email@example.com.
Outside the embassy opening hours, the public can
contact the UD's 24-hour operating center on +47 23 95
00 00; UDops@mfa.no.
See new and important information about entry bans to
Japan in connection with covid-19, under the chapter on
Please note that entry regulations may change. The
Foreign Service is not responsible if the following
information on entry regulations or visa requirements is
changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the
traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for
entry and to familiarize themselves with the current
entry rules for each country.
Note that in border checks to Japan, it is checked
whether your passport has been lost. If you have
previously reported your lost passport in Norway or
other countries, this can no longer be used even if you
find it again later. If lost passports are found, they
must be handed in to the Norwegian embassy or the
Norwegian emergency passports are also accepted as
travel documents on par with ordinary Norwegian
Entry with a foreigner passport or refugee
certificate requires a pre-travel visa. Contact the
Japanese Embassy in Norway: Practical information (visa)
Even if you register with the Japanese authorities,
this does not mean that the Norwegian authorities are
informed. In addition, you should therefore register
your trip with the Norwegian authorities. This is
important for the embassy to be able to assist
Norwegians in the country in the event of a crisis. See
our travel registration pages for more information.
In Japan, the import of fresh fruits, vegetables and
meat is prohibited. There are very severe penalties for
drug imports. Specific requests for Japanese customs
rules should be addressed directly to the Japanese
The import of domestic animals into Japan is managed
by the Japanese authorities and more information can be
read about specific procedures at the Ministry of
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF's) websites or
by direct contact with MAFF. Animal Quarantine Service.
Coronavirus (covid-19): Travel
restrictions and other preventive measures in Japan may
change at short notice. Travelers are advised that many
airlines are now reducing Japan's services. It is
already difficult to find tickets from Norway to Japan,
and it is expected that it will be even more difficult
or impossible in the future. Norwegian tourists who are
still in Japan should, in consultation with their
airline, consider booking tickets so that they can
return home as soon as possible.
In Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health
provides health advice, and you can find information and
guidance from Norwegian health authorities on the
website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Collection of Foreign Ministry information and links
can be found on the theme page on coronavirus.
In particular, note that the Norwegian authorities
encourage avoiding travel that is not strictly
necessary. Everyone who arrives in Norway from abroad
must quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they
have symptoms or not.
- Travel contamination advice, new coronavirus
- no's advice
The coronavirus continues to spread in Japan, and the
Japanese government has declared a state
of emergency throughout the country.
This means, among other things, that the governors of
these prefectures are given extended powers to handle
the crisis situation. In Tokyo, for example, the
governor has asked all residents to stay home as much as
possible. Many stores and services will be closed or
inaccessible, but basic and necessary infrastructure,
such as public transport, will be available.
Norwegians in Japan should keep abreast of
developments through news media and via Japanese
authorities, and follow the instructions and advice
given by the authorities.
The following travel restrictions to Japan are
relevant to Norwegians in connection with covid-19:
An entry ban has been introduced to Japan for
all non-Japanese citizens who have stayed in Norway and
a number of other countries for the past 14 days.
Japanese authorities state that, following an
individual assessment, exceptions to the entry ban can
be made. This can be done, for example. apply to
Norwegian citizens who are married to Japanese citizens
and who are permanently resident in Japan. Questions
about such exceptions must be directed to Japan's
embassy in Oslo.
If you can still travel to Japan, either because you
have been exempted from the entry ban or because you
have not stayed in any of the countries on the ban list
for the last 14 days, you must be aware of quarantine
requirements on arrival and that it has been
introduced. visa requirements for entry into Japan for
Norwegian citizens. This applies both for short
stays under 90 days and for longer stays. An entry visa
for Japan issued before March 20 is no longer valid.
Resident Norwegians in Japan who leave the
country after April 2, including those with permanent
residence permits, will also initially be subject to
Japan's entry ban. Contact the Japanese Embassy
or Immigration Office for more information.
See information from the Japan National Tourist
Organization for an overview of all entry bans and
quarantine rules, and contact the Japanese Embassy in
Oslo or in the country where you find specific and
There are also restrictions on post between Japan and
Norway. Japanese post offices will no longer receive
parcels and letters to Norway, and delays can be
expected on shipments from Norway to Japan. Private
courier companies may be an option.
If you are infected with the virus, you must expect
that the journey may be delayed and that you may be
subject to isolation. For visitors, medical expenses can
be high. All travelers should have a good travel
insurance ready before leaving for Japan anyway.
Anyone who is suspected of being infected with the
coronavirus should first consult their regular physician
over the telephone for consultation. Not all hospitals
and clinics can accommodate patients infected with the
coronavirus, and a physician or one of the guidance
services below may refer potentially ill to the correct
For Japanese experts, the following pages are
- The Ministry of Health's website for updated
- Local guidance services for people who are
suspected of being infected
For non-Japanese speakers who become ill during their
stay in Japan and do not already have a permanent doctor
or clinic, it is recommended to use one of the guidance
services below. Here you can get advice on how to
- Japan National Tourist Organization, - tel:
Japan Visitor Hotline .
- AMDA Multilingual Consultation Service Regarding
Covid-19, tel: 03-6233-9266/ 090-3359-8324
- Covid-19 Call Center (Tokyo), Tel: 0570-550-571
In addition, local authorities have established
English-language telephone services and websites where
travelers can get both general and practical
information. Opening hours vary from place to place, but
many are open 24 hours a day.
- Okinawa: 0570-050-235
- Kumamoto: 080-4275-4489
- Fukuoka: 092-286-9595
- Yamaguchi: 092-687-6639
- Osaka: 06-6941-2297/06-6773-6533
- Kyoto: 075-343-9666
- Wakayama: 073-435-5240
- Aichi: Telephone contact is obtained via a link
on the Aichi Multilingual Call Center website
- Mie: 080-3300-8077
- Tokyo: 03-5285-8181; 0120-296-004, Himawari
- Ishikawa: 076-222-5950
- Nagano: 0120-691-792
- Saitama: 048-833-3296
- Hokkaido: 011-200-9595
Japan generally has a high standard of health and
sanitation and maintains about the same level as in
Norway. However, contact with the Japanese health system
can be a costly affair for foreigners, and good travel
insurance is recommended.
The Public Health Institute provides official health
professional travel advice and health professional
guidance to Norwegians when traveling abroad.
There is generally a good standard of health care in
Japan, but there may be limited English skills, and
communication can be challenging. In emergencies, an
ambulance can be called by calling 119, or police are
also on call at 110. The police emergency number should
always have English-speaking staff available. For less
acute situations, medical advice can be sought in
English at one of the services below:
- Japan National Tourist Organization
There is generally no need for anything other than
regular vaccines when traveling to Japan. For longer
stays in the districts, vaccines against Japanese
encephalitis - meningitis may be appropriate. See the
vaccine chart for more information and consult your
doctor if you are unsure.
The import of medicines for personal use is often
possible if you have a medical certificate indicating
that the medication is necessary for you. In addition,
medicines should be in original packaging. However,
there may be some drugs that are illegal in Japan or
that will require prior approval from Japanese
authorities. It is recommended to check with Japanese
authorities in advance.
For longer stays, it is usually unproblematic to
access medication locally in consultation with a
Time difference compared to Norway - 8 hours winter
time, -7 hours summer time. National phone code is +81.
The first zero of the phone number must be removed if
calling from abroad.
Power: 110V/50Hz (East Japan) and 60 Hz (Western
Japan) Power Plug - JIS C 8303/Nema1-15.
Emergency telephones: 110 (police), 119
Internet domain -.jp.
Currency unit is Japanese yen (JPY)
Mobile and the Internet: Norwegian
phones usually work with Japanese mobile networks, but
SMS can be unstable in Japan, especially across
Wireless internet access is not as widespread in
Japan as it is in Norway. Even in places that advertise
with "WiFi" or "Hotspot" you will often find that you
must have subscribed in advance. You can buy a prepaid
sim card or rent a portable wi-fi router that provides
internet access for a foreign PC or mobile phone. This
can be obtained after arrival at the airport, or at
major urban electronics stores (such as Bic Camera or
Payment: Japan is still a prominent
cash community, and cash payment with Japanese yen is
preferred in many places. Credit cards can largely be
used for payment at hotels, restaurants and in larger
Many Japanese ATMs do not accept foreign cards. Most
Norwegian cards can be used at ATMs belonging to
Prestia/SMBC, post offices, 7/Eleven or Family Mart.
Depending on the location, ATMs may be closed in the
evening, but in central areas there is usually a 24-hour
Japan does not provide gratuity. Often a Japanese
will be embarrassed if you try to tip him/her. In hotels
and exclusive restaurants, 10-20 per cent of the bill is
charged as service.
Public transport: Public transport
is very well developed and very precise. Taking trains
and subways is easy and convenient, and in the larger
cities it is usually signposted in English.
It is safe to take a taxi, but be aware that most
taxi drivers do not speak English. It is also worth
noting that since only major streets have names, taxi
drivers usually start from well-known landmarks and
larger hotels. Therefore, it always pays to have a map,
written in Japanese, showing where to go, with the
destination clearly highlighted.
International driver's license: In
order to drive a car in Japan, you must have an
international driver's license issued under the Geneva
Convention of 1949. This can be used in Japan under the
- up to one year from the date of issue
- up to one year after arrival in Japan
- you must also bring your Norwegian driver's
It is best to obtain your international driver's
license before traveling from Norway, as the embassy
cannot issue a driver's license; neither ordinary nor
NB! There are two kinds of international driving
licenses issued in Norway. International driving
licenses issued under the Vienna Convention of 1968 can
not be used in Japan!
Alternatively, it is possible to order an
international driver's license by mail as long as you
are registered with an address in Norway, but case
handling and mailing can take time. See KNA's homepage
on international driver's licenses or contact them
directly for more information.
When your international driver's license expires, you
will need to obtain a new Japanese driver's license.
This is done on the basis of your Norwegian driver's
license, not the international one. This is done at a
Driver's License Center (in Japanese
unten-menkyo-shikenjou) where you live. For more
information, see the Valid Driving License in Japan.
Driver's License Centers are found in all areas of
Japan. Information is usually found on the websites of
the current prefecture police.
You can obtain 24/7 English guidance from the Tokyo
Metropolitan Police Drivers License Telephone Service at
Prior to the visit to the Driver's License Center,
the driver's license must first be translated into
Japanese. Translation is performed at JAF offices. See
JAF's website for more information.
Other: There are severe penalties
for importing drugs into Japan and zero tolerance for
possession of illegal drugs.
Smoking is generally allowed in restaurants and night
spots in Japan, but depending on the location there may
be separate smoking areas or bans. Outdoors, there are
usually designated smoking places, and smoking on open
street should be avoided. Police and other patrols crack
down on outdoor smoking outside designated locations and
it can be fined.
Foreigners must be able to identify themselves at the
request of police, and it is mandatory to bring a
passport (or residence card for stays over three months)
at all times.
There may be far between every garbage bin in Japan,
but waste is never thrown on the streets. This also
applies to cigarette butts and ash. Instead, carry a
bag/bag where you can store your own waste until you are
at home or find a trash can.
The embassy in Tokyo's website has an overview of
some useful resources that can be useful when visiting
and staying in Japan - alert apps, communication cards,
contact cards, etc.