Visitors from most European countries, Australia and North America are usually issued a 3-month tourist visa on each entry to the country (see below). Nationals from other countries will have to obtain a visa in advance to enter Japan.
Foreign tourists are required by Japanese law to carry their passports with them at all times.
Citizens of nations other than those listed below must apply for a 90-day tourist visa in their home countries from the Japanese embassy or consulate.
Passport photos and a return ticket are usually necessary. Processing is usually free of charge.
Countries that have reciprocal visa exemption arrangements with Japan are:
6 months or less: (An extendable 3-month visa is usually issued on arrival, for further details see Immigration Offices).
Austria, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Switzerland, UK.
3 months or less: (A non-extendable 3-month visa is usually issued on arrival).
Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Guatemala Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Iceland, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Malta, Macedonia, Mauritius, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and Uruguay.
90 days or less: (A non-extendable 90 day visa is usually issued on arrival).
Barbados, New Zealand and the USA.
14 days or less:
If in doubt, check with the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your country.
Foreign Embassies & Consulates in Japan
Types of Japan Residence Visa
Visa Telephone Service Number: 03 5501 8431
According to Japanese law there are 27 types of residence visa as well as the tourist visas described above. Residency periods for these visas range from permanent status to a 15 day transit visa, including visas for 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, 3 months, 90 days and 15 days. Visas which allow paid work on the whole require a Japanese company, school, university or individual to act as sponsor.
* accounting or law business
* artist - artists, musicians and writers; not allowed to receive an income
* company internal transfer - employee of a foreign company with main or branch office in Japan, transferred to Japan for a specified period of time
* cultural activity - students of Japanese arts and martial arts etc - technically are not allowed to receive an income
* diplomat or consular official
* education - language teaching in Japanese elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools and private language schools
* entertainment industry
* family resident - spouses and children of persons holding specified visas
* foreign spouse or child of a Japanese national - typically 1 or 3 years. Spouse visa holders can legally work
* government official
* humanities, social science knowledge or international business
* investment or management - managers of trading companies with offices and 2 or more full time employees
* media - employees of media organizations including newspapers and TV stations inclusing freelancers
* medical care - qualified doctors or Japan licenced nurse
* overseas student - students of Japanese universities or vocational schools
* permanent resident - spouses of Japanese nationals and long-term residents who have lived in Japan at least five consecutive years are advised to apply for this visa
* professor - professors, assistant professors and lecturers (full-time or part-time) who work in a Japanese university, usually 1 or 3 years
* religious - members of religious groups sent to Japan to undertake religious activities
* research - paid research under contract with a public or private institution
* school attendance - high school or language school students
* settlement visa - cases determined by the Justice Ministry
* short-term resident - 15 day or 90 day tourist or family visit visa
* specific activity - cases determined by the Justice Ministry
* spouse or child of a permanent resident - this visa is valid for between three months and three years and the holder is only allowed to work with permission of the immigration office
* technical skill
All Japan visa holders in the majority of cases will need a re-entry permit to re-enter Japan after travel abroad. Single or multiple use re-entry permits valid for 3 years can be obtained at immigration offices and at airport immigration offices in the case of emergency. Stamps corresponding to the re-entry permit fee must be purchased from booths either in or near the Immigration Office.
Working Holiday Visas
Japan has mutual working holiday visa agreements with Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Korea and New Zealand. Young people normally between the ages of 18-25 (sometimes 30 with the agreement of the immigration office) may work part-time during a one-year stay in Japan.
For further details on visas for Japan contact the Japanese embassy in your home country
All non-Japanese citizens who are resident in Japan for more than 90 days will need to apply for an alien registration card (gaikokujin-toroku-shomeisho) within their first 90 days of residence. Alien registration cards are issued from local ward offices and contain the photograph (but no longer the fingerprint) of the holder.
Alien registration cards are necessary documents for obtaining a driving license, opening a bank account, buying or moving into a house or apartment and other activities requiring legal proof of identity. Foreign residents of Japan are legally required to carry their alien registration cards at all times.
Alien registration cards need to be updated if the holder's visa status changes or the holder moves to live in a different ward of the same city or to a different city within Japan.
Tokyo Kyoto Fukuoka Hakone Hiroshima Ibaraki Kamakura Kobe Nagasaki Nagoya Nara Niigata Nikko Oita Okinawa Osaka Saitama Sakurajima Sapporo Sendai Shizuoka Shodoshima Toyohashi Tsukuba Yokohama