Last updated: 20 Sep 2021

Japan

About

Blending the old and the new, Tokyo is a city that is difficult to define. Cutting edge technology stands beside ancient temples, flashing neon lights bathe kimono-clad women, and shining skyscrapers tower above stunning Shinto shrines.

Tokyo Disneyland is a faithful replica of the Californian original, complete with Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, as well as shows, parades and firework displays. The unique DisneySea Park is set against the backdrop of Tokyo Bay.

Roppongi Hills has been created as a city within a city, and this very popular complex offers visitors a taste of Tokyo's future. Every inch of Roppongi Hills has been beautifully designed; visitors can wander through peaceful Japanese gardens and beside water walls, then eat and shop in one of more than 200 restaurants and boutiques.
Capital:  Tokyo (TYO)
Currency:  Japanese Yen (JPY)
Language:  Japanese. English is widely understood, but may not always be spoken. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 81
Time Zones: UTC / GMT +9 (7 hours ahead of South Africa)
Public Holidays 2021: 

Jan 1, 11; Feb 11, 23; Mar 20; Apr 29; May 3-5; Jul 19; Aug 11; Sep 20, 23; Oct 11; Nov 2, 23

Side of the Road: Left. An international drivers permit is required, and you should carry your South African drivers licence. 
Best Time to Go: March – May and September – November. Avoid the peak times during this period (cherry blossom and autumn foliage times, Golden Week and Obon)  
Best for: Traditional Performing Arts, Architecture, UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Plugs: 100 volts, A.C. There are two kinds of frequencies in use; 50 Hertz in eastern Japan and 60 Hertz in western Japan (including Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka). 2-flat-pin plugs.
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink. Bottled water is widely available. If travelling to the Fukashima area, avoid drinking tap water and bottled water sold in the area. 
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services upfront. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended. Medications containing stimulants or codeine are illegal. Should you bring medication on your travels, you should check to make sure that they do not contain these ingredients (certain medications which are commonly available in South Africa, such as nasal sprays, will therefore not be allowed into Japan – check with the Japanese embassy if unsure). If you are bringing medication on your travels, it should be in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.
Customs: Japan has a strict social etiquette and expect visitors to be polite and respectful.  Shoes should be removed when entering a person’s home or restaurant. Bowing is a common greeting, but handshakes are becoming more common. Table manners are important – if using chopsticks do not position them upright in the bowl. Do not douse your rice in soy sauce. The Japanese people are very tolerant of visitors, and will appreciate attempts to respect their social values. 
Local Offences / Laws: Identification should be carried at all times. Penalties for crimes tend to be severe and prison life is strict. There is a zero-tolerance for drug-related crimes. 
Travel Tips / Warnings: If travelling to Fukashima, avoid buying food and water.  The most common dangers to travellers are natural disasters – typhoons (August – October) and earthquakes.  Although credit cards are accepted in major hotels, restaurants and stores, Japan is a cash society.
Duty Free: The following goods may be imported into Japan by travellers 20 years of age and older without incurring customs duty:
• 400 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g of tobacco or 500g of a combination of these.
• 3 bottles (approximately 750ml each) of alcohol.
• 60ml of perfume.
• Other goods up to the value of ¥200,000
Prohibited Imports: Prohibited items include narcotics, firearms and ammunition, explosives, counterfeit money, obscene material, and articles which infringe upon intellectual copyright. Restricted items include animals, plants, medicines and cosmetics, hunting guns, air guns and swords. You should be aware that in Japan cold and flu medication containing stimulants are illegal. You are not permitted to take commonly available nasal decongestant medication such as Sudafed and Vicks inhalers into Japan.
Prohibited Exports: Narcotics and stimulants, child pornography and goods that violate design copyrights, trademarks, patents, breeding and intellectual copyrights

Travel Alerts

Last updated: 09/09/2021

Entry into Japan is permitted for some foreign nationals under certain conditions unless they have visited any high-risk country in the past 14 days.

Entry restrictions

  • Passengers are not permitted to enter Japan if they have a Chinese passport issued in Hubei or Zhejiang province, or if they have visited any of the following countries and regions in the past 14 days: The European Union Algeria, Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Bhutan, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Returning residents of Japan who have departed from Japan provided holding a valid re-entry permit, and a test certificate showing a negative test result for Covid-19 tested within 72 hours before departure.;
      • If these passengers have been to Indonesia or Kyrgyzstan in the past 14 days they must quarantine for 10 days at a designated hotel (day of arrival not included) and will be subject to testing on day 3, 6, and 10, after which they may finish their 14 day quarantine at an approved facility.
      • If these passengers have been to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates or Zambia, in the past 14 days they must quarantine for 6 days at a designated hotel (day of arrival not included) and will be subject to testing on day 3, and 6, after which they may finish their 14 day quarantine at an approved facility.
      • If these passengers have been to the United Kingdom or South Africa in the past 14 days they must quarantine for 3 days at a designated hotel (day of arrival not included) plus an additional 14 days self-quarantine;
    • Passengers travelling to Japan under special exceptional circumstances, provided holding a valid visa issued by Japan and a test certificate showing a negative test result for Covid-19 tested within 72 hours before departure;
    • Passengers who are Japanese Government scholarship students, provided holding a confirmation letter issued by the Japanese overseas establishments;
    • Passengers travelling with a company or group that can ensure the necessary epidemic prevention measures;
    • Passengers holding a visa issued by Japan saying "EX-R" in the remarks section, provided arriving in Japan on or before the 21st January 2021, and they have not been in the United Kingdom or South Africa in the past 14 days; or
    • Valid until 5th October 2021: Passengers holding either an Olympic/Paralympic Identity and Accreditation Card ("OIAC" / "PIAC"), a Pre-Valid Card ("PVC", which will be validated into their OIAC/ PIAC), or an Invitation Letter issued by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, provided they present the "Quarantine" screen of OCHA installed in their mobile phones. Please note that passengers whose Function Japanese is starting with "*" on the OIAC/PIAC will not be eligible for visa waiver. All Olympian passengers will be subject to an antigen (PCR) test upon arrival and are required to wait for their test results before proceeding to immigration.
  • Visa or additional documentation is required for nationals of Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Brunei Darussalam, Congo (Democratic Republic), Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Honduras, India, Israel, Korea (South), Lesotho, Macau, Mexico, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay or Vietnam.
  • Passengers who have been accredited by Japan (this includes diplomatic agents, consular officers, members of administrative and technical staff, members of the service staff, and family members of the said parties, or any officials of international organizations and their family members subject to international agreements concluded by Japan regarding privileges and immunities) must follow the following guidelines to enter Japan:
    • If they reside in Japan and are re-entering the country, passengers must hold a passport with a 'Diplomatic' or 'Official' status of residence attached, an identification card issued by the Ministry of Foreign affairs (MOFA), and a completed Embarkation and Disembarkation Card for Re-entrants. Passengers aged 14 or under may hold a letter of identification issued by the MOFA or an embassy in Tokyo instead of an identification card. 
    • If they are newly assigned to Japan, passengers must hold a passport with a 'Diplomatic' or 'Official' visa attached (if a visa is required), and a letter issued by the MOFA or the embassy in Tokyo of the passenger's country verifying that they have been assigned to Japan.
    • Passengers holding a United Nations Laissez-Passer and a passport which requires a visa for Japan must have a 'Diplomatic' or 'Official' visa.
  • Passengers holding either an Olympic/Paralympic Identity and Accreditation Card ("OIAC" / "PIAC"), a Pre-Valid Card ("PVC", which will be validated into their OIAC/ PIAC), or an Invitation Letter issued by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be refused boarding if they are not able to present the "Quarantine" screen of OCHA installed in their mobile phones.
    • The following PVC holders are exempted from using the OCHA:
    • PVC holders who present a copy of the "Written Pledge" submitted to Japan Sports Agency by the Japanese Olympic/Paralympic Committee (JOC/JPC) as an organisation in charge for receiving the delegation members;
    • PVC holders under the International Dignitary Programme (IDP) who bring a "Prior Consent Form" to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) or the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT).

Transit restrictions

  • Passengers are permitted to transit through Japan to the Philippines if they meet all of the following conditions:
    • They will transit on the same day;
    • They are arriving and departing from the same airport;  
    • They will not leave the transit area of the airport;
    • They are not departing with low cost carriers such as Cebu Air (5J). Passengers are permitted to depart with Philippine Airlines (PR), Japan Airlines (JL) or All Nippon Airways (NH).
  • Passengers are not permitted to transit for longer than one calendar day through Japan.

Form requirements

  • Passengers are required to complete an online questionnaire and present the generated QR code upon arrival into Japan. The questionnaire can be found here.
  • Passengers are required to complete a questionnaire on their flights travelling to Japan.
  • Passengers entering Japan are required to set their smartphone to save location information and install the following apps upon arrival for the implementation of quarantine: OSSMA (Location information-confirming app), Skype (Video call app), and Covid-19 Contact-Confirming Application(COCOA). Passengers will be able to rent a smart phone at the airport at their own cost if they do not have a smartphone.
  • Passengers travelling to Japan directly from Singapore must hold a visa or a Re-entry Confirmation letter from the Japanese embassy and a 'Cover Letter' permitting the passenger to take a Covid-19 test in Singapore.

Test requirements

  • Passengers aged older than 6 years entering, re-entering, or returning to Japan must submit a printed inspection certificate showing a negative Covid-19 test result carried out within 72 hours before departure issued by a medical institute. The inspection certificate can be found online here. If passengers are holding a negative test certificate which is not in the format of the inspection certificate, it will be accepted provided that the test result meets all the requirements stated above. The negative test result must include all of the following:
    • Passenger's name, passport number, nationality, date of birth, gender (the test result will still be accepted if it only states the passenger's name and date of birth); 
    • Testing method (RT-PCR, LAMP, TMA, TRC, SMART AMP, NEAR, Next Generation Sequence, Quantitative Antigen test (CLEIA) are accepted; please also note that qualitative Antigen test will not be accepted);
    • Sample collection method. Currently only the following sample collection methods are valid and accepted by Japanese authorities: Nasopharyngeal Swab, Saliva, or Nasopharyngeal and Oropharyngeal mixed;
    • A negative test result, sample collection date and time, date of issuance of the test result; 
    • Name and address of the medical institute; 
    • Must be written in English, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Ukrainian, Urdu or Vietnamese;
    • Either signature of the doctor or an imprint of a seal, unless the test result was issued in Eswatini, Seychelles, Chile, Germany, Burkina Faso, Burundi, United States, South Africa, Lesotho or Jamaica.
  • This above requirement to hold an inspection certificate or a negative Covid-19 test result does not apply to:
    • Children aged 6 years and under, provided they are accompanied by their parents with a negative test result;
    • Passengers holding a consular letter from a Japanese overseas diplomatic establishment or foreign embassy in Japan  stating that passengers cannot obtain a negative test result before travel for a justifiable reason. These passengers will be subject to a Covid-19 test on the third day after arrival, and will also be required to quarantine at a designated place. After receiving the negative test result, they will be required to install the COVID-19 Contact-Confirming Application (COCOA) and continue their quarantine at home until 14 days after arrival.
    • Transit passengers.  
  • Seamen travelling to Japan are required to hold a certificate of a negative Covid-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours before departure in order to get onboard a vessel.
    • This requirement does not apply to seamen in transit. 
  • Passengers travelling to Japan directly from Singapore present the 'Cover Letter' and a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test certificate obtained from an authorised medical institution in Singapore within 72 hours prior to departure to Japan.

Quarantine and testing on arrival

  • Passengers are subject to a mandatory PCR test upon arrival.
  • This does not apply to:
    • Passengers in transit; or
    • Crew members. 
  • Passengers must quarantine for 14 days on arrival in Japan. Passengers are prohibited from using public transport, including taxis and domestic flights, during these 14 days.
    • This does not apply to crew members. 
  • Passengers who have visited Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Indonesia, Kyrgyz or Zambia in the past 14 days must quarantine for 10 days in designated accommodation on arrival.
  • Passengers who have visited Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Myanmar, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom or Russia (Moscow city) in the past 14 days must quarantine for 6 days in designated accommodation on arrival.
  • Passengers who have visited Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Libya, Namibia, Netherlands, Oman, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Suriname, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, the United States or Venezuela must quarantine for 3 days in designated accommodation on arrival. 
    • These passengers are required to continue their quarantine at home until the 14th day after completing the quarantine in the designated accommodation. 
    • The requirement to quarantine in designated accommodation does not apply to international transit passengers who will depart from Japan on the same day.
  • Seamen will be permitted entry even if one of the crew members is tested positive upon arrival, provided the rest of the seamen are tested negative for Covid-19 upon arrival, and submit a "Certificate of Testing for Covid-19".

This Information is intended as a Guideline.

Issuing Authorities

a) Embassy of Japan
259 Baines Street, Corner Frans Oerder Str.
Groenkloof, Pretoria, 0001
Private Bag X999, Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 452-1500 /1619
Fax: (012) 460-3800
E-mail: consul@pr.mofa.go.jp
Website: www.za.emb-japan.go.jp
O/hrs: Submissions: 0900-1230 Mon-Fri / Collections 0900-1230 & 1400-1600

b) Office of Consul of Japan
21st Floor Office, The Towers,
2 Heerengracht Cnr, Hertzog Blvd,
Cape Town 8001
Tel: 08000 60109 (visa related queries)
Website: www.za.emb-japan.go.jp
O/hours: Consular: 0900-1230 / 1400-1600 Mon-Fri
(Closed between 1230 and 1400)

 

Visa Requirements

Visas are required by SA passport holders.

PROCEDURES:

TEMPORARY VISITORS (Business and Tourism)
(a) Visa applications will only be officially accepted by the Visa Section if fully completed application forms, together with the required attachments, are submitted together. THE FLIGHT ITINERARY FOR EACH APPLICANT IS TO BE SUBMITTED.
(b) No Scanned Photos are accepted.
(c) Applicants must present themselves in person once when applying for a visa with the following exceptions:
i. An employee of a member company of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Japan in SA, or a
company that holds stock, or that has business relations with such a company;
ii. An employee of a company that has regular business relations with a company listed on the Stock
Exchange in Japan, or an employee of a company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange;
iii. A dependant of such an employee (spouse and/or children under the age of 20), when applying
at the same time or later as the employee.
iv. In addition to the normal documentation required below, an applicant must also submit an
Organigram of his/her employer company that shows the applicant’s designated position.
v. Also required is an official letter on a valid, original company letterhead signed by superiors other
than themselves requesting an exemption from personal appearance at the Visa Section.
vi. The Embassy of Japan reserves the right to request an applicant to appear in person in certain
instances.
vii. An applicant may use a Visa Company or a Travel Agency for the submission or the collection
of a visa, depending on whether they prefer to present themselves in person on submission or collection.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR VISA APPLICATIONS:

Submit supporting documents (no staples) in the following order:

*Passport (valid min 3 months from date of application) Make sure that there are at least two blank pages available.
*1 Application form fully completed and signed by the applicant
*1 photograph ( 45x45mm) (faced straight towards camera against white/off-white background).NB paste photograph on application (no staples)
*Employer's/university/school letter
* Invitation letter , as well as  copy of host's Japanese Residence Card (front & back) when staying with family/friends in Japan.
*Fully detailed day to day itinerary as well as flight itinerary from Travel Agent
* Most recent bank statement, showing a positive bank balance. A copy is accepted (no need to be certified).
*Proof of hotel accommodation.

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
BUSINESS VISA
(a)ORIGINAL letter from applicant’s company/employer in SA stating the nature of the visit, as well as the names and addresses of companies the applicant will visit in Japan. The letter must also confirm that the company will bear all costs for the visit
(b) Invitation letter from a company in Japan that the applicant intends to visit
(c) Daily itinerary FROM the inviting company in Japan. 
(d) Business letter to be addressed to : Embassy of Japan, Visa Section Pretoria

TOURIST VISA
(a) Daily itinerary of places where applicant will visit in Japan
(b) Names and addresses of hotels with copy/copies of booking vouchers
(c) Most recent bank statement (one month) with confirmation of sufficient funds
(d) Copy of invitation letter, should applicant be invited by a friend/family (additional documents may be requested)
(e) Copy of invitees Alien Registration Card if the invitee is a foreigner staying in Japan OR copy of invitees passport if the invitee is a Japanese citizen.

MULTIPLE VISA
(a) In addition to the requirements for a Business Visa, the applicant (South African Passport holders only) must be a manager or higher or employed by that company for longer than one year.
(b) The official company letter must also confirm the employment period of longer than 1 year or that the applicant’s position is manager or higher.
(c) Non-South African passport holders living in South Africa can apply for a Multiple Visa in certain circumstances. Contact the Visa Section for details on (012) 452-1500.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO AVOID DELAYS

PASSPORT
You must enclose your passport. Please check that it is valid. Make sure that there are at least two adjacent empty pages available.

VISA APPLICATION
Type or complete the application in CAPITALS
Must be FULLY completed – if a question does not apply to you, answer “Not applicable”
If you are a tourist or visiting family, enter your hotel, or family address, as guarantor or reference in Japan.
If you are traveling for business purposes, enter the name and address of the Japanese company that has invited you, as guarantor or reference in Japan.
If you are traveling for both business and sightseeing always apply for business visa.

PHOTOGRAPHS
Should be 45X45mm, face front, against a white or off-white background.
Please do not staple your photograph to the application form.

ITINERARY
Should be on Travel Agency or Airline stationery. E-Tickets are usually accepted.
One itinerary is required for each applicant.
Must show departure from SA and entry/departure to and from the destination country(s)
Copies of faxes or emails are usually accepted
Tour brochures are usually not accepted
Do not write notes on the itinerary before submitting.

BUSINESS LETTER
If traveling on business an original business letter of financial responsibility is required.
The letter should be addressed: Embassy of Japan, Visa Section, Pretoria, South Africa
The letter should contain four brief paragraphs:
- The purpose of the visit (business negotiations)
- The name and address of the host company in Japan
- A guarantee of the applicant’s financial support while visiting Japan.
- A guarantee of the applicant’s return transportation or repatriation if required.
- The letter should be signed by a company manager other than the applicant.

BANK LETTER
Should be ORIGINAL bank letter. BANK Statements are also acceptable. 

Visa Processing Time

3-5 working days (CPT) / 2 working days (PRY)

Visa Validity

3 Months

Visa Cost

Single Visa R360.00
Multiple R715.00
Payment strictly cash only - to be paid on collection.

SA Representative

South African Embassy
4th Floor, Hanzomon First Building
1-4 Kojimachi-CHIYODAKU, Tokyo
102-0083
Tel: 0081 3 3265 3366
E-mail: visa@dirco.gov.za
Web: www.sajapan.org

Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Japanese Encephalitis (Not available in SA), Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Polio