Laws in Japan for Tourists


When it comes to traveling to exotic places, Japan is certainly at the top of many peoples’ list. It has the beautiful landscape and scenery, the delectably wonderful food, and cultural experiences that will leave you contemplating why you didn’t go sooner. There are, as always, certain things you need to keep in mind as a foreigner going to another country. Specifically, the laws and customs of that country. One of the worst things to have happen on your trip is to get caught up with the law of an unfamiliar place. In this article we will explore some of the laws you will need to know for your first trip to Japan.

Keep your trip a holiday with a tourist visa

It happens, on occasion, that some tourist will try to sneak some extra vacation money in by providing some sort of service or by applying for work in the country they are touring. This cannot be done in Japan. To be able to work in Japan, you will need to apply for and be accepted for a work permit. If you are found to be working without the appropriate permit, you will be subject to heavy fines and other adverse circumstances.

Think twice before you light one up

If you’re partial to a pack of cigarettes or anything of the like, think before you start puffing on one. The laws in Japan are very strict on when and where it is acceptable to smoke. Designated areas are assigned, but if you are caught smoking outside of one be ready for some hefty fines. Or, maybe try to kick the habit before you go. Also, note that you need to be 20 years or older to smoke in Japan.

It’s 20, not 21

That’s right. You only have to be 20 years old to consume alcoholic beverages in Japan. It’s not as early as places such as Germany, but hey, it’s still younger than 21. You will need to be careful, especially if you’re with younger travelers as Japan is very strict with this law. Steep fines and possible jail time are options if someone under 20 are caught drinking. Get more information. If you’re 20 or older, just be cautious as to how much you drink. A drunk and disorderly is also a downer for your vacation.

Age of consent and marriage in Japan

Speaking of legal age, the age of consent in Japan is 13 years old. Having said so, this is what it says in the Penal Code but the actual age is 18 years because of other laws and local ordinances enforced in the last two decades. Japan has also changed the age of marriage recently and today the legal age for marriage for both men and women are 18. Japan has been under criticism from overseas because the legal age of consent is still 13 while in most other developed countries it is 16 or even older and also because the legal ages were different for men and women. Refer to this page for more information on legal age of consent and marriage in Japan.

Who needs a hot dog when you could have Teriyaki?

It’s hard not to pack some snacks for a long flight. Just be mindful that it is illegal to bring any sort of meat product into Japan without first getting permission from the Japanese Animal Quarantine Service. Failing to do so could inflict heavy fines. Not to mention you’ll lose your food.

Enjoy the experience of a lifetime

When touring another country, make sure you are prepared for the laws of the land. By knowing these ahead of time, you can ensure that you are able to enjoy and experience the culture and beauty around you without running into trouble with the local authorities. If you are interested in reading about some weird laws that Japan has. Happy travels!

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