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Japan Customs Restricted Food Items

Can i bring food to japan

Japan Customs Restricted Food Items

Can I bring food to Japan?

Understanding the Do’s and Don’ts: Bringing Food into Japan

Japan, a country known for its rich cultural heritage, technological advances, and exquisite cuisine, welcomes millions of tourists each year. Whether you’re planning to visit the cherry blossom-filled parks of Kyoto, immerse yourself in Tokyo’s dazzling neon landscape, or explore Hokkaido’s breathtaking scenery, it’s crucial to understand the country’s customs and regulations.

One aspect that often piques the interest of travelers is Japan Customs Restricted Food items. In simpler terms, the questions that typically arise include, “Can I bring food into Japan?” and “What food items are permissible?” Let’s delve into these queries in detail.”

The Importance of Quarantine Regulations

Like many countries, Japan has strict quarantine regulations to protect its environment and agriculture. The Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, along with the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, implements rules regarding bringing food into the country. The purpose of these regulations is to prevent the introduction of foreign pests and diseases that could potentially harm local crops, livestock, and human health.

Food Items You Can Bring

As a general rule, processed foods like chocolates, candies, cookies, and canned goods are usually allowed into Japan.

If you wish to bring instant noodles, they are also generally allowed, but they must not contain meat or egg ingredients in the soup or seasoning. If they do, they must comply with Japan’s strict import conditions, which may include a specific heat treatment process.

Tea, coffee, and other dried, roasted, or processed food items are also usually permitted, given that they are fully sealed and are for personal use.

You are allowed to bring all types of edible fish and seafood products, including smoked salmon and dried fish, into Japan without needing quarantine.

Dairy products such as butter, cheese, cream, and milk are also allowed, but the combined total weight must not exceed 10 kilograms. This rule also applies to yogurt and lactic acid bacteria drinks.

You’re free to bring certain nuts and spices like almonds, cashews, coconuts, pistachios, walnuts, pepper, and dried macadamia seeds (except for cultivation purposes) into Japan. However, these items must be declared, but they don’t require an inspection certificate.

Food Items You Cannot Bring

Japan has strict regulations against bringing in certain foods, especially fresh produce and animal products.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are generally prohibited due to the risk of introducing harmful pests and plant diseases. Similarly, meat products, including raw and processed meats, are not allowed due to concerns about diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza.

Bringing in dairy products from certain countries is also restricted due to concerns over Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease.

Certain fruits and vegetables can  be brought in, but they require an inspection certificate. These include:

  • Fruits: Durian, Pineapple, Kiwi, Coconut Palm, and Chestnuts
  • Vegetables: Carrots, Garlic, Ginger, Artichokes, Asparagus, Chicory, Shallots, Cilantro, Basil, and Lemongrass

When it comes to specific types of mushrooms like Matsutake, Borcini, and truffles, there is no requirement for an inspection.

Declaration Upon Arrival

Even if you are confident that the food you’re carrying complies with the regulations, it’s essential to declare all food items upon arrival. If you fail to declare food products, you could be fined or, in some cases, face criminal charges.

In addition to filling out the declaration form, you may also be required to go through a quarantine inspection where your luggage will be checked. So, it’s advisable to pack food items in a way that they can easily be inspected.

Seek Guidance from Official Resources

The rules for bringing food into Japan are detailed and sometimes complex. They can also change based on outbreaks of agricultural diseases in different parts of the world.

In conclusion, while it is possible to bring specific foods into Japan, it’s crucial to understand Japan’s customs restricted food items and procedures to ensure a smooth and pleasant journey. Compliance with local regulations not only preserves Japan’s unique ecosystems and public health but also reinforces the mutual respect that underpins international travel.

Comments (22)
  1. Winston ROBERTS says:

    Can I bring a small plastic bottle of honey from New Zealand?

    Please advise.

    1. jluggage says:

      From April 22, 2019, strict animal quarantine rules were applied to souvenirs from overseas trips. However, honey that has been processed as a final product is not subject to animal quarantine, so you can bring it to Japan.

      I also directly asked the animal quarantine office about this. They said that as long as the honey or propolis does not contain actual bees, it can be imported.

  2. Someone says:

    Can I bring 2 Liters of Olive Oil to japan?

    1. jluggage says:

      There is no particular restrictions on bringing in olive oil as long as they are for personal use. 2 litter sounds reasonable amount. it should be okay.

  3. Caroline says:

    Hello, is it okay to bring commercially purchased, small packets of seeds (ie to grow flowers in the garden) into Japan from Australia? They would make nice light omiyage! Thank you 🙂

    1. jluggage says:

      Hello! While bringing small packets of commercially purchased seeds as omiyage might seem like a lovely idea, Japan has strict plant quarantine regulations. All seeds, regardless of quantity or purpose, require an import inspection. You’ll also need a Phytosanitary Certificate from the Australian government’s agricultural agency, certifying that the seeds are free from harmful pests and diseases. Even with this certificate, some plants are still restricted or prohibited.

  4. Carlos says:

    Hello. Can I bring olives with the pimento in its juice? It is packed in a heavy duty plastic pouch from the factory/distributor.

    1. jluggage says:

      Hello! I consulted with the Plant Protection Station in Japan about this, and they told me that olives with pimento packed in bottles or pouches, including the type you mentioned, should generally be acceptable for entry.

      However, as with all items, it’s always a good practice to declare them upon arrival in Japan to ensure a smooth process with the customs officials.

  5. Aby says:

    In malaysia for muslims traveller, there are a lot of ready made rice with meat curry in seal packages being sold. Are we allowed to bring in such items to enter japan for our own consumption while travelling in japan. Thanks.

    1. jluggage says:

      Hello! From the information I obtained after contacting the Animal Quarantine Station in Japan, such products can typically be brought into the country if they are designed to be preserved for over a year without refrigeration. This indicates that the packaging and preservation processes used for these products should meet certain standards to ensure the food remains safe over an extended period.

      However, it’s essential to note that even if the product states it can be preserved for over a year, in some cases, this might not guarantee its allowance into Japan. Upon your arrival, you’ll be required to declare these items, and the authorities might inspect their condition and packaging. If there are any concerns regarding the product’s standards or safety, it might not be permitted for entry.

      For a smoother experience, ensure that the products you intend to bring are in pristine condition and retain their original labels, providing clear information about their contents and shelf life.

  6. JP says:

    Hello, is it ok to bring canned goods specifically corned beef from Philippines to Japan? Thank you

    1. jluggage says:

      Based on my research and a conversation with the Animal Quarantine Station in Japan, canned corned beef can generally be brought into the country if it’s designed to be preserved at room temperature for over a year. This suggests that the canning process should ensure the food’s longevity without the need for refrigeration.

      However, upon your arrival in Japan, you’ll need to declare this item. The authorities will then inspect the condition of the cans and the manner in which the corned beef was processed. This is to ensure that the product meets Japan’s food safety standards. If there’s any indication that the can or its contents might be substandard, there’s a possibility it won’t be permitted entry.

      To ensure a smooth process, make sure that the packaging is in good condition and retains its original labels. This can help provide clear information about its contents and the duration for which it can be stored at room temperature.

  7. Thea says:

    Can magic sarap a powdered seasoning from philippines allowed in Japan? 54

    1. jluggage says:

      Hello. Based on the information I’ve gathered, “Magic Sarap” contains chicken fat and chicken meat. These ingredients are restricted for import into Japan. Therefore, it would be best not to bring this product into the country to avoid any potential complications at customs.

  8. Nikki says:

    Can I bring protein powder from New Zealand, into Japan? Please advise.

    1. jluggage says:

      In general, protein powders can be brought into Japan. However, it’s essential to ensure that the protein powder does not contain any meat-derived ingredients.

      If you’re certain that your protein powder is free from meat ingredients, it should generally be okay. Nonetheless, always declare any food or health-related items upon arrival in Japan to ensure a hassle-free customs experience.

  9. Ann L Eisenmenger says:

    Can I bring commercially packaged flax seed? It’s for eating, not planting.

    1. jluggage says:

      Based on the information I’ve gathered, when importing grains such as flax seed that have not been processed (like compressed, shredded, crushed, or pulverized), it’s necessary to provide a Phytosanitary Certificate. This certificate should be issued by the relevant government agency of the exporting country, in this case, New Zealand. The certificate will facilitate the import inspection process upon your arrival in Japan.

      If your flax seed package doesn’t come with such a certificate, there might be complications during customs clearance. I would recommend either ensuring you have the appropriate documentation or consulting with the supplier/manufacturer in New Zealand about obtaining one.

  10. Philip says:

    Can I bring bottled sardines and sealed dried squid in my checked-in baggage to Japan?

    1. jluggage says:

      For bottled sardines: If the sardines are commercially packaged and sealed, there generally shouldn’t be any problem. However, ensure that the packaging clearly indicates the contents and, if possible, lists the ingredients.

      For sealed dried squid: Similarly, commercially packaged and sealed dried squid should be permissible. It would be beneficial if the packaging is clear about its contents.

  11. Sato says:

    Can I bring homemade retort food to japan from Malaysia?

    1. jluggage says:

      While Japan does allow the import of commercially produced retort foods, homemade foods, in general, pose a bit more of a challenge due to the lack of standardized labeling and potential concerns about the safety and content of the product. Additionally, certain ingredients are restricted for import.

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