Bringing medication into Japan?

I am planning to visit Japan in June and I’m wondering if there is anything I need to do in order to bring my prescription medications into the country. These include meds for asthma, allergies (including an epipen), depression and birth control. Does anyone have any advice or previous experience?
Thanks so much!

Hi - so it depends on two things really - first is how much you’re planning to bring, and second is if any are restricted. You’re allowed to bring in up to a month’s worth of prescription medicine without any paperwork, (and two month’s of over the counter stuff). If you have more than a month’s worth of the former,you need a Yakkan Shomei, which is a form you fill in along with a stamped letter from your doctor showing it is prescribed to you, with the specific amount listed on it. This is sent off and then if approved, they send you back the paperwork to have with you on your entry to Japan. Depending on which country you’re coming from you can find guidance online like here for America:

Even if you have less than a month’s worth, it’s advisable to have a letter from your doctor listing your prescriptions and what they are for so you can prove they are for personal use.

Medicine regulations are pretty weirdly strict around certain areas like stimulants (vicks inhalers can be banned, for example). So try to find your country’s up to date guidelines, but some details are included in the link above.

This all depends on them actually checking you though, so it may all amount to nothing! I had to do it in the past for stuff like contact lenses, but have never actually been checked - it’s luck of the draw, or you can voluntarily declare it at customs.

Don’t make the same mistake I made. I got the forms, got the doctor to fill them out, but didn’t realise they had to be sent to the consulate (Australia). Lucky the guys in customs allowed me to bring in my medication (depression & medical). If you have to send the forms in allow for at least 8 weeks turn around

Hey Teechan!

Lily’s response has it all. I moved to Japan last month, bringing with me 12 months of medication. I downloaded and printed a Yakkan Shomei from the Japanese Embassy of Australia website, included all of the relevant information about my medication, and submitted it via email. I received a response within one week approving the medication and with information on what information I needed on hand to bring through customs.

Once I arrived at Haneda I had the Yakkan Shomei and my doctor’s certificate ready for inspection, but they never actually checked my luggage.

However, I absolutely recommend that you check the Japanese Embassy website of your country for information on what requires a Yakkan Shomei or what is outright banned. You can even send an email to the officers who approve the Yakkan Shomei if you’re unsure. I had a query about some other medication, and they responded within 24 hours. The last thing I wanted was to be stopped at the airport for something small like basic aspirin or an asthma inhaler!

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