Bringing medication to Japan

  • Bringing medication to Japan

    Posted by shapkaa on April 23, 2018 at 11:24 am


    I was wondering if anyone has experience with bringing small amounts (under 1 month) supply of the following medications to Japan:

    — Buproprion / Welbutrin

    — Gabapentin

    — Tramadol (this is the one I am most concerned about)

    — Albuterol inhaler


    I will only be bringing 15-20 days worth of these medications. I don’t think my other medications raise concern, but I am unsure of the above

    Accessible Japan replied 5 years ago 5 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Accessible Japan

    April 23, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    With medication, it is better to play it safe.  Some drugs that are normal in other parts of the world are banned here, even if they only make up part of the chemical combination.

    Here is a Q&A on bringing medications from the Japanese government:

    If you are bringing over one months worth, you will need a special import document called a “Yakkan Shoumei”:

    Q)  What  kinds of documents are required in order to apply for a “Yakkan Shoumei”?

    A)  The following documents are required in order to apply for a “Yakkan Shoumei”.

    1. Import Report of Medication (with your signature, and needed 2 copies only as to this document), filled in the blank application form according to the sample application document.
    2. Explanation of Product, filled in the blank application form according to the sample application document.  You have to create this document for each product.
      (Alternative documents such as pamphlets by manufacturers can be accepted, if they show the descriptions required in Explanation of Product.)
    3. Copy of Prescription or Direction for medicines with doctor’s signature, by which the Pharmaceutical Inspector can confirm the name and the quantity of each medicine only for your own use clearly.

    The safest thing to do though is contact the Kanto-Shin’etsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare: [email protected] (if you are flying into Narita or Haneda)

    Hopefully someone else can write about their personal experiences as well, since this is just the theory.

    • shapkaa

      April 23, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      I thought the Yakkan Shoumei was only required for doses higher than what is allowed (which for controlled medications is lower, but otherwise, it is 30 days?) Do you think if I called the Japanese Embassy tomorrow, they would be able to provide guidance?

  • Accessible Japan

    April 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Oh, you are right! Sorry, I’ll correct my answer.

    It won’t hurt to call the embassy, but the staff may not be able to answer yes/no as they are likely not sure about medications.

    The only real danger is that your medication might contain a forbidden substance as part of its compound.  This is from the Japanese Embassy in the US:

    Heroin, cocaine, MDMA, opium, cannabis (marijuana), stimulant drugs including some prescription medications such as Adderall, and including some medications available over-the-counter in the U.S. are prohibited in Japan. There are no exceptions in bringing these prohibited medications into Japan, even if the medication is legally obtained outside of Japan. The import of stimulant drugs such as methamphetamines and amphetamines in particular are strictly prohibited, even when accompanied by a customs declaration and a copy of the prescription. Japanese customs officials or police can detain travelers importing prohibited items. Japanese customs officials do not make on-the-spot “humanitarian” exceptions for medicines that are prohibited in Japan.

    So, you do not want to be surprised to find out your medicine contains something banned.

    In addition to calling the embassy I would also contact Kanto-Shin’etsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare: [email protected]

    Tell them your medication names and ask how to proceed.

  • Accessible Japan

    April 23, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    That sounds the safest. Best to get the information from the source.

  • shapkaa

    April 24, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    As an update, Kanto Shinetsu Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare just replied to me, and verified my medications are all fine to bring to Japan!! And I do not need paperwork.

    For future reference, for folks, this is what I listed (I put everything because I wanted to be thorough, since I was emailing anyway!):

    — Buproprion

    — Gabapentin

    –Tramadol HCL

    –Albuterol inhaler


    –Azithromycin (doc gave it to me as preventative for food poisoning)

    — ranitidine

    — Spironolactone



    –valcylovir HCL



    I hope y’all can relate to having to be on a ton of meds haha. I’m on even more than usual right now due to a safety incident, which complicates travel like this. Hopefully this helps someone in the future. I will report back on how the actual customs process goes a week from now. Hopefully, it all goes smoothly, but I have the email from the official source if anything goes wrong.


    Also, for those who take stimulants: unfortunately my doctor said there’s no good equivalent for Adderall that I can take while in Japan, so I need to forego treatment for my ADHD for two weeks while in Japan.

    • babyshark

      June 10, 2019 at 7:28 am

      Did you ask if it would be ok to bring generic adderall into Japan?  How was it going through customs?  Did you declare your medications?  I didn’t anticipate having to worry about this and now I’m super worried! Leaving next week …

  • Accessible Japan

    April 24, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Thank you for your follow up! I’m sure that will help many others in the future!

  • babajan

    April 24, 2018 at 10:34 pm


    I was traveling with a group of women from Canada to China and then into Tokyo Haneda. The youngest in our group is on two meds one of which was for her ADD – not sure what exactly. She called the consulate in Canada and then emailed with them what she was taking with her and they said that was fine as long as she had reported the ADD meds and it was a quantity of limited amounts. I am encouraging her to join this group and post as well as she is also hearing impaired with more details. She went through customs with an airport rep and they never asked her about meds or to show them. She was however prepared should they. I am thinking you will be fine and enjoy one of my favouritest places to visit.

  • Dalia

    August 31, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Hi all,

    Thanks for all of this helpful information. I am going to be in Japan for over a month and am worried about my medications. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Asthma, and allergies among other things. My med list is a mile long! My question is this: since I will have over a 30 day supply of my medications, is it best to go ahead and inform Customs or do I let them ask me? I sent an email to the address listed above clarifying if the meds on my list are ok to bring in. And I am finding conflicting information about Tramadol. So I put that on the list as well. I’d like to follow the rules but I also know that I will be exhausted and stupid after the long flight but I don’t want to be detained or arrested!

    Your advice/suggestions/comments are all welcome and thank you!

  • Accessible Japan

    August 31, 2018 at 11:05 am


    If you have time before departing, I would suggest contacting customs in advance.

    It very likely is OK, so their reply will help you feel assured.

    Sorry I cannot give a more helpful answer!

  • Accessible Japan

    June 10, 2019 at 11:00 am


    I talked with a person here in Japan who came with a group of students.  They contacted the authorities before coming and said that the process was really fast and just included sending the names of the medications (and pictures of the prescription I think).  But one person in the group uses medicine that is not allowed in Japan and they are just going without their meds while here.

    I’m not sure where you’re from, but this info may help:

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