Bringing medicine into Japan may be a potential hazard as some common prescription medication – and even some over the counter medications – available in other counties may be illegal in Japan. Decisions on what medications or medical devices may be imported legally into Japan are made by the Japanese Government and is subject to change.

Over-The-Counter Medicines

Some over-the-counter medicines including types of inhalers, allergy and sinus medications are illegal in Japan. Specifically, products that contain stimulants or Codeine are prohibited if it contains more than an allowed quantity of the stimulant ingredient. This includes medicines that contain Pseudoephedrine, such as Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers.

According to Japanese law, up to a two-months’ supply of allowable over-the-counter medication or vitamins may be brought with travelers.

Prescription Medications

Heroin, cocaine, MDMA, opium, cannabis (marijuana), stimulant drugs including some prescription medications such as Adderall are prohibited in Japan. There are no exceptions in bringing these prohibited medications into Japan, even if the medication is legally obtained outside of Japan.

Japanese customs officials or police can detain travelers importing prohibited items.

Up to one month’s supply of prescription medicine (that is allowed by Japanese law) can be brought into Japan. Travelers should bring a copy of their doctor’s prescription as well as a letter stating the purpose of the drug. Those who must carry more than one month’s supply, or are carrying syringes (pumps) or a CPAP machine, must obtain a Yakkan Shomei, a type of import certificate, in advance and present the certificate with your prescription medicines at Customs.

As the list of allowable medicine is subject to change, we strongly recommend that you visit the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s website and contact them via email to confirm that your medications are allowed in Japan.

PLEASE NOTE that this information does not constitute legal advice and is meant only as a guide. Please contact the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare directly to make sure you are complying with all government laws and regulations.

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