Bringing Medication

For regulations, visit the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

For more information and application forms (Yakkan Shomei), visit the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare's Official Q&A for those who are bringing medicines into Japan.

Bringing or Importing Medication into Japan for Personal Use

Japan has very strict guidelines and regulations in regard to the bringing medications. An importer of medications (drug, quasi-drug, cosmetics and medical device) for business purposes needs a License from the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law.

There is no need for a License for individual's importing or bringing medication for personal use. An individual can import restricted quantities of medication without special procedures. Medication imported or brought into Japan for personal use must not be sold or given to others.

Travelers should bring a script as well as a letter for each drug's name and purpose from their doctors.

Drug or Quasi-drug : Up to 2 months' supply

Poison, Deadly poison, Prescription Drug : Up to 1 month's supply

Drug for External Use (excluding Poison, Deadly poison, Prescription drug) : Up to 24 per item

Injectable drug and Syringe for the drug: Up to 1 month supply (Only "Pre-filled Syringe" or "Self-injection Kit")

Other Drugs, Quasi drug : Up to 2 month supply

Note: A quasi-drug is a product that has restricted purpose of use, has a mild action on the human body, and is not categorized as a medical device (e.g. hair tonics, bath preparations, etc.)

Note: "For External use" indicates a product such as an ointment or eye drops.

Cosmetics: Up to 24 pieces per item

Medical Device (for home use only) : 1 set (e.g. electric massager)

Disposable contact lens: Up to 2 month supply

Note: To import more than the allotted amount, or to bring prohibited items (such as syringes), a yakkan shomei (medication import) document must be applied for and approved prior to intended trip. For more about the Yakkan Shomei and to access the needed application files, please click here.

Import Prohibited or Restricted Drugs

Import of stimulants (Amphetamine, Metamphetamine, etc.) is prohibited by the Stimulants Control Law. An importer of Narcotics, Psychotropic drugs needs a license from the Director-General Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare under the Narcotics and Psychotropics Control Law, a contact point for the application of the Narcotics Control Department of the Bureau.

In accordance with CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), import of drugs including the following substances is restricted.

1. Rhinoceros horn

2. Musk

3. Tiger bones

4. Fel Ursi etc.

It is illegal to bring into Japan some over-the-counter medicines commonly used in the United States, including inhalers and some allergy and sinus medications. Specifically, products that contain stimulants (medicines that contain Pseudoephedrine, such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers), or Codeine are prohibited. Up to a two-months' supply of allowable over-the-counter medication and up to a four-months' supply of allowable vitamins can be brought into Japan duty-free.

Some popular medications legal in the U.S., such as Prozac and Viagra, are sold illegally in Japan on the black market. You are subject to arrest and imprisonment if you purchase such drugs illegally while in Japan.

Further reference

Japanese physicians can often prescribe similar, but not identical, substitutes to medicines available in the U.S. A list of English-speaking medical facilities throughout Japan is available here.

A Japanese doctor, consulted by phone in advance, is also a good source of information on medications available and/or permitted in Japan.

If you need to bring more than the restricted quantity of medication into Japan for personal use, and you plan to arrive at one of the following airports, please contact the following Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9:30 AM to 5:45 PM)

Kanto-Shinetsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare
(Place of arrival: Narita international Airport, Tokyo International Airport, etc.)
TEL: +81-48-740-0800

Kinki Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare
(Place of arrival: Chubu Centrair International Airport, Kansai International Airport, etc)
TEL: +81-6-6942-4096

Okinawa Narcotics Control Office, Kyushu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare
TEL: +81-98-853-7100

Narcotics and Psychotropics

Compliance and Narcotics Division, Pharmaceutical and Food Safety Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
FAX +81-3-3501-0034
(Place of arrival: All)