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Bringing Medication into Japan

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Bringing medicine into Japan can be a confusing process, especially when you're dealing with prescription and non-prescription drugs that may not be available in Japan. There are strict rules when it comes to medication. As a traveller, it's essential to know what you can and cannot bring with you to ensure a smooth and safe trip. In this blog post, we'll go over the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to medication while travelling to Japan.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medication

  • Japan has a hardline approach to certain ingredients commonly found in OTC medication in other countries.

  • Medicine containing over 10% Pseudoephedrine and more than one percent of Codeine are prohibited. This includes popular drugs such as Advil Cold & Sinus, Sudafed, and Vicks Inhalers.

  • You can bring up to two-months (60 days) supply of legally allowed over-the-counter medication into Japan. This also applies to an equivalent amount of vitamins and contact lenses.

  • If you need more than two months' supply, a Yunyu Kakunin-sho or "Medical Import Certificate" is required.

Prescription Medication

  • You are generally able to bring prescription medicine with you to Japan without any special procedures as long as they meet the following conditions:

    • For your personal use only

    • An oral or an external medicine, not an injection

    • Not a prohibited or controlled substance in Japan

    • Up to 1 month’s supply only.

  • Some prescription medicines are outright prohibited like cannabis, opium and other stimulant drugs.This includes drugs such as Adderall, Dexedrine, and Vyvanse.

  • If your prescription includes narcotics such as codeine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, and pethidine, you must request permission from one of Japan's eight Regional Bureaus of Health and Welfare.

  • For psychotropics drugs, the allowable dosage depends on the drug. For example, Valium does not require a Yunyu Kakunin-sho if the active ingredient, diazepam, is in quantities lower than 1.2 grams.

Preparing Your Medication

  • When bringing medication with you to Japan, it should be in the original bottle or container.

  • Do not store in unmarked or differently labelled containers or bottles.

  • You should have a copy of the prescription and a doctor’s note explaining the purpose and instructions on use.

  • Injections are not allowed to be brought into Japan without prior permission from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

How to download and fill out the Yunyu Kakunin-sho click here.

Where can I buy OTC medication in Japan?

Japan has a wide range of pharmacies and drugstores, and Japanese OTC medicine is easily accessible. For a list of common large drug stores in Japan, you can check here.

Refilling Foreign Prescriptions in Japan

If you need to refill a foreign prescription in Japan, you'll need to consult with a Japanese doctor. Japanese pharmacies do not accept foreign prescriptions, and many foreign brands of medicine are not available. To find a list of English-speaking doctors, hospitals, and clinics in Japan, you can check here.

It is important to note that government laws and regulations change often in Japan. Therefore, it's essential to contact the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to ensure you have the most up-to-date information before your trip. It's always better to be safe than sorry, so make sure to double-check everything before leaving for your trip to Japan. With the right preparation, you can have a great time while staying healthy and safe.

Personnel Medical Equipment & Devices

The procedures for bringing personal medical devices into Japan are similar to those for drugs and quasi drugs. When bringing your medical devices, you don't need to apply for a "Yunyu Kakunin-sho" if the quantity meets the specified limits. Customs officers will verify the amount of medical devices you're carrying at the customs checkpoint.

  • You can bring one set of medical devices for household use, like electric massaging tools, without requiring a "Yunyu Kakunin-sho."

  • For disposable contact lenses, you are allowed to bring a supply that would last up to two months without the need for a "Yunyu Kakunin-sho" application.

  • For syringe for medicine, you are allowed to bring a supply that would last one month without the need for a "Yunyu Kakunin-sho" application.

Reference Links:

For more information on bringing and sending medication to Japan please check the MHWL FAQs

Contact for Drugs, Quasi drugs, Cosmetics and Medical devices:

Kanto-Shin’etsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare

ph: +81-48-740-0800                              

e-mail: (Arrival at: Narita international Airport, (Haneda) Tokyo International Airport)

Kinki Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare                

ph: +81-6-6942-4096 e-mail: (Arrival at: Kansai International Airport, Chubu Centrair, Naha Airport,...)

Contact for Narcotics and Psychotropics

Compliance and Narcotics Division, Pharmaceutical Safety and Environmental Health Bureau, Ministry of Health,

Labour and Welfare FAX +81-3-3501-0034 (Yes a fax number).

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