This information is based on my personal experience visiting Japan with Guide Dog Nixon in March - April 2019. Steps may change in the future, particularly with the Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics in 2020. Follow the official guidelines linked below.
Quarantine when travelling anywhere
Please read our Introduction to the Quarantine Process Page first.
Japan Quarantine System
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Regardless of the origin of your travel, quarantine information for Japancan be found on the MAFF website.
Please note: Japan has a very narrow definition of an Assistance Dog.
Temporary Assistance Dog Certification
Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Although not part of the quarantine process with MAFF, you are now required to also obtain a Temporary Assistance Dog Certification through MHLW for travel to Japan.
You will need to get in touch with a Japanese veterinarian authorised to do quarantine health checks before you travel
In case of an emergency, we recommend where possible to use the same veterinarian as the one doing your scheduled quarantine health checks, because you must report all veterinarian visits to them
I have used Daktari Animal Hospital authorised to do quarantine health checks which is central in Tokyo and the staff speak English. The contact details are below:
Tokyo Medical Center: 2F., 5-14-1,
Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tips for completing the Temporary Assistance Dog Certification
You do not obtain Certification directly from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. You must go through your local training school and complete it before going to Japan
For guide dog users - direct your local guide dog school to the Japan Guide Dog Association if your local school does not have a Japanese affiliation
Expect the application process to take weeks
When applying - you need to send your (country of origin) Import Permit, Japanese Approval of Import Inspection of Animals, a separate photo of you and your dog, and your local Assistance Dog ID
'Designate Juridical Persons' means the name of your affiliated Assistance Dog School in Japan or the organisation in Japan that is applying for the Certification on your behalf
Write year/month/day NOT day/month/year OR month/day/year
Your signature needs to be witnessed and dated (even though the form doesn’t stipulate this)
Your training school at home must sign the bottom and include the role of the staff member and full name of their organisation even though this is repeated in the address section
Don’t forget to have your Temporary Certification stamped when you go through quarantine at airport arrivals in Japan
You must elaborate in a separate Word document why you need an Assistance Dog in Japan e.g.:
‘Mainly visiting friends in Tokyo; sightseeing around Tokyo and possibly other parts of Japan. To allow me to enjoy my activities in Japan to their fullest, I require the presence of my primary mobility aid, Guide Dog Nixon, to support me in maintaining my independence, which is so very important to me, and reduce my reliance on others. Nixon will allow me the opportunity to enjoy accessing my holiday destinations with confidence and enjoyment.’