Country Guide: Japan

Due to the current coronavirus/COVID-19 situation and restrictions in various countries, the below information may not be accurate. This pandemic is a fluid situation. Check with authorities for local laws and restrictions concerning movements.

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Updated: August 30, 2016

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Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Original Customs declaration form C5360
  • Copy of passport
  • Detailed packing list / inventory in English or Japanese
  • Ocean bill of lading (OBL) /air waybill (AWB)
  • Keys / combinations to any locked baggage


Specific Information

  • The owner of the goods must be present in Japan prior to the Customs clearance.
  • The air shipment packing list requires a detailed value of the items.
  • Household goods and personal effects must be cleared within 6 months of the date of entry on the Customs declaration form C5360.
  • Two Customs declaration forms must be completed in duplicate for unaccompanied articles.
    • Both forms must be submitted to the officials at the accompanied baggage inspection area upon arrival in Japan.
    • One is used as the Customs record and the duplicate will be returned with an official seal.
  • This certified duplicate is required for clearance of the unaccompanied articles and shipments.
  • In the event the declaration form is not completed and certified by Customs officials upon entry, the shipment may be subject to duties and taxes.
  • Newly-purchased items are duty and tax free up to 200,000 in Japanese Yen / value per person, excluding an 8% consumption tax of the invoice.
  • The owner of the goods should keep receipts with English translation for new items, as duty and tax may apply.
  • Persons living in Japan for more than 1 year may import used household items and personal effects free of duties and taxes within specified timeframes.
  • Copy of passport includes all members of the family indicated on form C5360 with entry stamp, visa, photo and signature.
  • Original Customs declaration form C5360 certificated / stamped by Customs at airport of entry
  • Japanese houses and apartments are generally smaller than in Western countries.
    • Oversized furniture (e.g., couch, king size mattresses, etc.) may not fit through entrance doors, staircases, and other access areas.
  • Due to road conditions, traffic regulations /restrictions, ocean steel containers are inaccessible to an owner of the goods’ residence.
    • All shipments must be placed onto a smaller van from the container at a bonded warehouse on the day of delivery. 

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original passport
  • Vehicle registration
  • Application of duty exemption on automobiles
  • Proof of ownership for more than 1 year
  • Original bill of lading
  • Sales receipt / purchase receipt
  • Insurance certificate
  • Original Customs declaration form C-5360
  • KANGI form


Specific Information

  • Automobiles, boats, and other vehicles, may be included in household goods shipments, provided that the owner of the goods has owned the vehicle for more than 1 year prior to import from the origin country.
  • Automobiles and other vehicles may be imported temporarily free of duty and tax provided that they will be re-exported.
  • Automobiles must comply with Japanese exhaust emission control and safety regulations.   
    • A test of emission control and safety regulations will be given (SHAKEN).
  • Modifications can be quite expensive for an imported car to be examined and registered.
  • KANGI forms can be obtained by the Foreign Ministry in Japan.


Documents Required

  • Veterinary health certificate
  • Microchip
  • Vaccination record
  • Certificate from the Animal Quarantine Service

Specific Information

  • Dogs, cats, foxes, raccoons and skunks imported into Japan must undergo import quarantine requirements in accordance with the Rabies Prevention Law.
  • Animals are subject to a quarantine period up to 12 hours.
  • Pets not meeting the required criteria must remain at an Animal Quarantine Service for the necessary quarantine period up to 180 days.
  • Depending on the results of the import inspection, pets/animals may be denied entry into Japan.
  • The owner of the goods shall obtain a certificate issued by the responsible government agency of the exporting country; it is recommended that the forms be obtained from the Animal Quarantine Service in Japan.
  • Animals and pets must be implanted with a microchip.
  • Microchip implanting must adhere to ISO standards 11784 / 11785.
    • If not, please bring a microchip reader with you.
  • The following preparations are recommended prior to import:
    • Advance notification (notify agent at least 40 days prior to the arrival date).
    • Approval of import inspection of animals
    • Clinical inspection before departure (rabies and leptospirosis).
    • Certification from the responsible government agency of origin (veterinary health certificate).
    • Transport (pet transport cage must sealed)
  • The following criteria must be met for importation:
    • Microchip number (standard, number, date of inspection, inspection point).
    • Kept for the past 180 days (or since birth) in the exporting country, or kept only in designated regions since exported from Japan.
    • Not infected nor suspected of being infected with rabies (for dogs, rabies and leptospirosis).
    • No occurrence of rabies in the exporting country in the past 2 years.
    • Immunizations for diseases other than rabies and parasite treatment (date of treatments, address and name of the veterinarian who administered the treatments, vaccine effectiveness period, and product name).
    • The transport cage seal number.
  • For pets/animals that have been kept for less than 180 days in the exporting country before arrival in Japan, the date of entry into the exporting country and names of the countries (regions) where pets/animals had been before shall be clearly indicated on the certificate issued by the responsible government agency in the country of export.
  • If the pet/animal is in countries (regions) other than the designated regions, it will be detained in an Animal Quarantine Service to make up for the incomplete part of the 180 day residency period after arrival in Japan.
  • The rabies free designated regions (countries) as of June 7, 2005, are Taiwan, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii and Guam; further certification is required for pets/animals from regions other than these designated regions.
  • The quarantine period of pets/animals entering Japan will be within 12 hours if the following requirements are satisfied:
    • Pets/animals have a microchip implanted and were vaccinated twice against rabies with an inactivated vaccine.
      • The second vaccination was given not less than 30 days and not more than 1 year (or within the validity) after the first vaccination.
    • After the two vaccinations, a neutralizing antibody titration test was carried out at a laboratory approved by the Japanese government and showed a serum antibody level of at least 0.5 IU/ml.
    • At arrival not less than 180 days and not more than 2 years having passed since the above serum had been sampled. 
    • If 180 days have not passed at time of arrival, pets/animals will be detained in a quarantine facility to make up for the days of shortage.
        • Pets/animals that do not fulfill the above requirements shall be kept in quarantine for 180 days.
    • After vaccination the animal must receive subsequent rabies booster vaccinations.
    • The animal must show no clinical sign of rabies, and leptospirosis for dogs, immediately before departure.
  • Quarantine examinations performed at private residences are not accepted.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Plants with or without soil, fresh fruits and vegetables (a quarantine certificate is required prior to Customs examination).
  • To import fresh meat including poultry, sausage, ham, bacon or any other meat products requires an animal health certificate issued by the animal health authority of the exporting country.
  • Bones, eggs, fat, blood, skins, hides, pelts, Fur, hair, feathers, down, horns, antlers, hooves etc. (subject to an animal quarantine inspection)
  • Medicines and cosmetics (e.g., pharmaceutical products; amount for use during a period of 2 months; quasi-drugs: 24 pieces)
  • Firearms (a permit is required)

Prohibited Items

  • Opium, ether, narcotic drugs and utensils for opium smoking, and stimulants (including Vicks Inhalers and Sudafed)
  • Psychotropic substances (excluding those designated by an ordinance of the Ministry of Health and Welfare)
  • Counterfeit, altered, or imitated articles of coins, paper money, banknotes, or securities
  • Books, drawings, carvings, and any other article which injures public security or morals (obscene or immoral materials, pornography, etc.)
  • Articles which infringe upon rights in patents, utility-models, designs, trademarks, copyrights, neighboring rights, or layout design of integrated circuits
  • Firearms (pistols, rifles, machine guns, etc.) and ammunition (bullets) thereof, and parts of firearms
  • Weapons (swords, daggers, bows and arrows, etc. with blades more than 15 centimeters in length prohibited)

Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.



Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook

Wikipedia Entry for Japan

IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.