Travel Requirements: Japan

Japan is a country rich in culture, history, and geography. There is no “best time” to visit Japan, since the country shines in different ways, year-round. Just like there is no “best destination,” there is also no “best list” for what you need to bring. One thing that is for sure before you leave, though, is to double-check your documents. Here, we’ll walk you through the essential documents you need for your trip.


Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Japan?

For most travelers: no.

Most travelers visiting Japan for up to 90 days do not need a visa, but you do need a valid passport for the entire time you are there. This is known as the “visa free” duration of your stay. Japan authorized a list of “visa-exempt” countries whose residents can travel for tourism with just a passport. For a full list of the countries, see here.

For those travelers outside of the U.S., Europe, or Australia, you will need to obtain a Japan Tourist Visa, which authorizes a single, short-term tourism stay of up to 90 days.

Travelers staying longer than 90 days will need to obtain specific visas, such as a working/long-term stay, non-working, or family-related visas. These require specific scenarios and don’t usually apply to most tourists, but be sure to check with the local agencies to double-check your situation.

As of April 2023, travelers are no longer required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

What Travel Documents Do I Need?

Travelers need:

  • A valid passport
  • Your onward/return ticket for your stay
  • Completed customs/immigration procedures documents (via Visit Japan Web) upon arrival
  • These are registered online via the Visit Japan Web portal

As of 2023, Japan lifted COVID-19 registration requirements, although tourists are still encouraged to upload your proof documents online.

Am I Eligible to Travel to Japan?

If you are a resident of one of these visa-exempt countries, have a valid passport, return ticket for your trip, and registered your trip via the Visit Japan Web portal, then you are eligible to visit Japan!

Do I Need to Learn Japanese?

In short: no. Tourists who only know English can still get around Japan without speaking Japanese, as most places are known for being tourist-friendly. There are also a wide array of signs, tools, cultural cues, and even apps you can use to get by.

Even if you don’t speak Japanese, it may be a good idea to pick up a few key phrases, invest in a phrase book, or consider a travel guide to help you get around.

Does My Health Insurance Work Abroad?

Japanese hospitals do not accept insurance from overseas. This means that if you (the tourist) get sick or need medical attention while traveling in Japan, hospital costs can be very high. This is why we recommend travelers purchase private medical travel insurance for the duration their stay.

Things to Avoid When Traveling to Japan

Japan is known as a relatively safe destination for tourists. However, it is important that tourists are aware of local customs and culture. Here are some cultural habits you should NOT do when traveling to Japan:

  • Wear shoes indoors: Always take shoes off before entering someone’s home. Other places such as hotels, temples, shrines, museums, restaurants, and castles may also require you to take your shoes off. Check local customs if you have any questions for your specific destination
  • Eat while walking: Unlike on American sidewalks, eating while walking is a social no-no
  • Smoke in public/non-designated areas: Smoking should only be done in designated areas
  • Tip your server: Japan does not practice “tip culture” that many Americans are used to
  • Being loud in public: Use a respectful volume when talking in public
  • Take photos without consent: In some places, photography is prohibited. Japan has very strict “copyright” laws, and photos can be a violation against that. Be sure you are aware of signs that say whether photos are permitted. If you aren’t sure, try asking someone.
  • Train etiquette: Do not talk on the phone on the train in Japan. While many Americans find that public transportation is a good time to make calls, talking on the phone on the train in Japan is considered bad manners. Instead, sit quietly if you must text or send emails.
  • Enter the train tracks: Do not walk on the train tracks in Japan, this is actually forbidden.


Do I Need Travel Insurance for Japan?

At a minimum, your travel insurance should cover trip cancellation, trip interruption and emergency medical expenses. When it comes to international travel, the US Department of State outlines key components that should be included in your travel insurance coverage.
AXA Travel Protection plans are designed with these minimum recommended coverages in mind.

  • Medical Coverage – The top priority is making sure your health is in order. With AXA Travel Protection, you can have access to quality healthcare during your trip overseas in the event of unexpected medical emergencies.

  • Trip Cancellation & Interruptions – Assistance against unexpected trip disruptions can dampen the mood, AXA Travel Protection offers coverage against unforeseen events.

  • Emergency Evacuations and Repatriation – In situations where transportation is dire, AXA Travel Protection offers provisions for emergency evacuation and repatriation.

  • Coverage for Personal Belongings – AXA offers coverage for your belongings with assistance against lost or delayed baggage.

  • Optional Cancel for Any Reason – For added flexibility, AXA offers optional Cancel for Any Reason coverage, allowing you to cancel your trip for non-traditional reasons. Exclusive to Platinum Plan holders.

Or, give our licensed travel agents a call: 855-327-1441 Monday-Saturday, 8 am-7 pm CST to speak with someone who can personally walk you through your travel needs.

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