We round up the requirements for a holiday to Japan © Guitar photographer / Shutterstock
We round up the requirements for a holiday to Japan © Guitar photographer / Shutterstock

Do you need a visa to go to Japan?

TripFalcon March 18, 2021

Last Update: 2021-03-17 23:11:39

With its pulsing, modern cities, beautiful rural landscapes and world-renowned cuisine, Japan tops many travellers’ bucket lists. Deciding to go is the easy part, but the logistics of getting into the country can be a little more tricky to navigate. Here’s our guide to Japan’s entry requirements, with information on visa types, costs, and details on how to apply for one. 

What you need to know about visas in Japan

Residents of 68 countries can enter Japan for up to 90 days for tourist purposes, with a free visa upon arrival. These countries include the UK, USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and most countries in Europe. For a complete list of visa-exempt countries and visa durations, consult the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

On entering Japan, all holders of foreign passports are photographed and fingerprinted. If asked, travellers arriving with a visa upon arrival should be able to provide proof of onward travel or sufficient means to purchase an air or ferry ticket; in practice, this is rarely asked. Your passport should also be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

Travellers not from a visa-exempt country will need to apply for one via their nearest Japanese embassy in their home nation, or organise a visa with an accredited travel agent approved by the Japanese Embassy. The cost of visas vary in each country, but are approximately 3000 yen ($27) for a single-entry visa and 6000 yen ($55) for a double-entry or multiple-entry visa. Fees are collected in the currency of the country in which the embassy is located.

The processing period for visas is approximately five working days from the day after the acceptance of application. For more info about the requirements of applying for a Japanese visa in specific countries, see the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Extending a visa is possible from within Japan for citizens of Austria, Germany, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Mexico, Switzerland and the UK, who are able to extend their temporary visitor visa once, for another 90 days. Visitors wishing to do this will need to apply at a regional immigration bureau in Japan before the initial visa expires. 

For other nationalities, extending a temporary visa is difficult unless you have family or business contacts in Japan who can act as a guarantor on your behalf. Options should be discussed at your nearest regional immigration bureau.

Longer, working visas are also available to visitors of Japan, which allow people to study, train or work in the country. These usually grant entry for either three years, one year, six months or three months. These visas must be applied for in advance of travel, via an embassy in your country of origin. 

There is also a specific ‘working holiday visa’, which allows visitors to engage in small-scale employment while visiting the country for tourism purposes. These are available to people between the ages of 18-30 from 26 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Korea, the UK and a number of countries in Europe. The number of hours that can be worked and type of work permitted are limited under this visa. 

Source: lonelyplanet