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 natural disasters.
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 Terrorism
- 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 high.
- 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 spend.
- Go to places you know before, have been recommended by well-known, hotel service or travel guides.
- Never join ongoing invitees and say no to offers of free drinks and invitations that seem too good to be true.
- 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 the police.
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 Japan.
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 Japanese authorities:
- Comprehensive Living Guide for Foreign Residents in Japan
- Information to Help When Disaster Prevention and Disaster
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 falling objects.
Stop the car: If you are in a car, park on the roadside and be seated. Avoid parking on or under bridges.
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 aftershocks.
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 System
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 the weather.
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 in Japan
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 available.
- 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 protected]
Outside the embassy opening hours, the public can contact the UD’s 24-hour operating center on +47 23 95 00 00; [email protected]
See new and important information about entry bans to Japan in connection with covid-19, under the chapter on health.
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 police.
Norwegian emergency passports are also accepted as travel documents on par with ordinary Norwegian passports.
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 authorities.
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 (covid-19)
- 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 up-to-date information.
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 location.
For Japanese experts, the following pages are recommended:
- The Ministry of Health’s website for updated information
- 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 proceed.
- Japan National Tourist Organization, – tel: 050-3816-2787,
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 physician.
Time difference compared to Norway – 8 hours winter time, -7 hours summer time. According to allcitycodes, 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 (fire/ambulance).
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 carriers.
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 Yodobashi Camera).
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 stores.
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 7/Eleven nearby.
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 percent 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 following conditions:
- 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 license
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 international.
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 03-5463-6000/042-334-6000.
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.