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List of prohibited medications in Japan

Is Adderall illegal in Japan

List of prohibited medications in Japan

A Guide to Prohibited Medications in Japan for Tourists

When traveling to Japan, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the country’s regulations regarding medications. Japan has strict rules concerning the importation and use of certain drugs, and what may be readily available in your home country could be prohibited or restricted in Japan. This article serves as an inclusive guide, helping tourists understand the list of prohibited medications in Japan and those that require special permissions.

Stimulant Drugs

Medications containing stimulant substances, such as certain ADHD medications like Adderall, are generally prohibited in Japan.These drugs are tightly regulated due to their potential for abuse and misuse. The same goes for Vyvanse and Dexedrine.

However, it’s important to note that Ritalin (methylphenidate), another commonly used ADHD medication, is prescribed by certain medical professionals in Japan who are well-versed in its usage. If you have a legitimate medical need for Ritalin and plan to bring it to Japan, it is advisable to consult with the Japanese embassy or consulate beforehand to understand the necessary procedures and obtain any required documentation or permissions. It’s crucial to refrain from carrying any stimulant medications into Japan without the appropriate authorization from the Japanese authorities.”


Strong painkillers and opioids fall under the category of narcotics, and their importation is heavily regulated in Japan. Drugs like codeine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone are subject to strict control measures. Travelers should be aware that carrying these medications into Japan without proper permission is illegal. If you require these medications during your visit, it is advisable to consult with the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate to understand the necessary procedures for obtaining permission.

Cannabis-Related Products

In Japan, all forms of cannabis, including marijuana and products containing CBD (cannabidiol), are illegal. This includes medications derived from cannabis. Regardless of whether cannabis is legal in your home country, it is strictly prohibited in Japan. Travelers should exercise extreme caution and avoid carrying any cannabis-related products with them.

Psychotropic Drugs

Certain medications used to treat psychiatric conditions, such as some antidepressants and antipsychotics, may be restricted in Japan. These drugs are subject to special regulations, and travelers should check with the Japanese embassy or consulate to determine the specific requirements for bringing them into the country. It is advisable to carry a copy of the prescription and a doctor’s note for any necessary medications.

Injection Medications

If you need to carry injectable medications with you to Japan, it’s important to note that specific requirements must be met. Importing injectable medications generally requires a Yakkan Shoumei, a special import certificate issued by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. This certificate can be obtained by submitting the necessary documentation and following the designated procedures. It is essential to contact the Japanese embassy or consulate well in advance to ensure compliance with the regulations.

Other Medicines Prohibited in Japan

  • Chinese herbal medicines containing ingredients from species such as musk deer and bear, which are regulated by the Washington Convention, cannot be brought into Japan.
  • Vicks Inhaler containing L-Desoxyephedrine is not allowed into Japan, as it is regulated by the Japanese Stimulant Drug Control Law.
  • Tylenol Cold + Flu (Regular Tylenol is not prohibited.)
  • Nyquil and Nyquil Liquicaps (Dristan Sinus)
  • Advil Cold and Sinus (Advil Plain and Advil PM are not prohibited.)

Paul McCartney was once arrested in Japan for bringing in marijuana

Paul McCartney was arrested in Tokyo, Japan in 1980 for carrying 7.7 ounces of marijuana. He was traveling with his wife, Linda, and their two children. to begin a 10-day tour of Japan. When they arrived at Narita Airport, customs officials found the marijuana in McCartney’s luggage. He was arrested and taken to the Narcotics Detention Center.

McCartney was facing a possible seven-year prison sentence, but he was eventually released after nine days. He was deported from Japan and banned from entering the country for five years.

McCartney later admitted that he had made a mistake and apologized for his actions. He said that he had brought the marijuana with him because he was “naive” about Japanese drug laws.The arrest was a major setback for McCartney’s career. His tour of Japan was canceled, and he was forced to cancel several other concerts in Europe.

McCartney’s arrest in Japan is a reminder of the strict drug laws in the country. Marijuana is illegal in Japan, and possession of even a small amount can result in a long prison sentence. It is important to be aware of the local laws when traveling to any country, especially if you are carrying drugs.

Bringing in OTC and prescribed medicines to Japan

Central Tokyo

Maximum Quantity of Medicines that can be Brought into Japan

Generally, you may bring up to a two-month supply of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and up to a one-month supply of prescription drugs for personal use. However, reselling these is prohibited.

For topical medications (excluding poisons, potent drugs, prescription medicines, buccal tablets, lozenges, and suppositories) and cosmetics, up to 24 standard-sized items per product type can be brought in.

  • Topical products include items such as ointments and eye drops, while prescription drugs refer to medicines that require a doctor’s prescription.
  • Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, hair dye, bath salts, etc., also fall under the categories of quasi-drugs and cosmetics.
Can you buy medications online in Japan?

Yes, it is now possible to buy medications online in Japan, but only from licensed online pharmacies. The law changed in 2020 to allow this, but there are still some restrictions.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be bought online from any licensed pharmacy. However, prescription medications can only be bought online from pharmacies that have a physical location in Japan. You will need to have a valid prescription from a Japanese doctor in order to buy prescription medication online.


When traveling to Japan, it is vital to be aware of the country’s regulations regarding medications. Prohibited or restricted drugs in Japan include stimulant drugs, narcotics, cannabis-related products, certain psychotropic medications, and injectable medications. To ensure compliance and avoid legal issues, it is strongly recommended to consult the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate and obtain the most up-to-date information before traveling. Always carry a copy of the prescription and any necessary documentation to demonstrate the legitimacy of your medications. With this guide on the list of prohibited medications in Japan, we hope to help you have a safe and enjoyable trip to the country.”

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