Customs and Duties in Japan
Awareness of Travelers’ Obligations for a Better Trip
Every foreign traveler landing in Japan must fill in documents including a form dedicated to customs declaration. The Japanese government is very strict regarding the products and items imported on its territory.
Arrival on the Japanese territory
Personal belongings are not subject to customs duties as long as their quantity can be deemed reasonable for a normal consumption over a fixed period of time (maximum 90 days for many touristic visas). For their travel, adults can bring without being taxed:
- Up to 3 bottles of alcohol, 400 cigarettes or 2 ounces of perfume (From October 2021 these quantities will be reduced by half),
- Items whose global purchase value is under ¥200,000 (~US$1,845). For higher value products, a written custom declaration is required.
- Cash as long as the amount in inferior to ¥1 million (~US$9,226.
It is forbidden to import dangerous products, especially all kind of drugs, including those deemed "soft." The penalty can be heavy (imprisonment) and Japanese officials take the issue seriously: canine units frequently inspect luggage in the airports.
Leaving Japan with goods / Online purchase
On their way back home, tourists in Japan can bring back souvenirs from their travel in the archipelago without paying duties if the total amount does not cross a specific threshold (for example 430€ for European citizens).
Foreign visitors in Japan can be exempted to pay the Japanese VAT (10%) thanks to the Duty Free system, applicable from ¥5,000 (~US$46.13) of goods purchased on the same day in the same shop. Note, however, that many exceptions exist depending on the type of item and if it will be consumed in Japan or not.
For online purchase, the regulations on importation from Japan may require the payment of customs duties and / or VAT that are fixed by each country, depending on the items’ nature and value.
In any case, make sure to check the conditions for importation of Japanese products in your country.