Service Dog Traveling To Japan

  • Service Dog Traveling To Japan

    Posted by Demi on September 9, 2022 at 10:54 am

    Hello, my name is Demi and it is nice to meet you all! I am in the middle of trying to prepare to go on a trip to Japan. However, I am finding information on the web very confusing. I have what is termed a “hidden disability” and I have a service dog that helps me with these disabilities. I have read that Japan does not accept any dog as a service animal unless it is:

    1) A guide dog

    2) Mobility assistance dog

    3) Hearing dog

    As of lately, I have also been having trouble with standing or walking under certain circumstances (which can happen at any time). I have been using my service dog, which is trained for other things, to help me with my mobility if I get an attack that leads to difficulty walking. For the most part, I am physically fine and able to walk, but when I go through an episode it can get as bad as having to have someone pick me up and carry me, or help me up and walk slowly. However, my service dog will be getting training to be assist with mobility (and potentially smell work to alert before it gets to a really bad stage).

    I am left confused about the laws of Japan regarding this. Once my service dog is properly trained in mobility assistance and smell work, would Japan recognize that as being qualified? Is the law for mobility assistance only for those who cannot walk at all and need a wheelchair?

    Also, I have trained my dog all his service tasks, and will now also train him in smell work and mobility assistance. Would Japan not allow me to have my service dog with me, because I trained him (and not an organization)? Does it help that I used to professionally train dogs?

    Lastly, what happens to all other people who have and thus NEED their service dogs? If it wasn’t for me having mobility issues now, I especially would have no hope to have my service dog legally recognized in Japan. What does this mean for those who have service animals that do not fit the restrictions of Japan? Are we not allowed to go to Japan at all then? I know we ourselves can enter the country, but we have a service animal for a reason—including cardiac alert dogs, which I hear is also not recognized as a service animal in Japan. Since we cannot be separate from our service dogs, and it can be extremely dangerous and even fatal, how does Japan handle that? Nothing else to be done? One cannot enter the country at all, because their disability requires a service dog that the country won’t see as one?

    These are honest questions, and even though it’s very saddening and frustrating, I wouldn’t want myself or another to prepare to visit a country only to be denied access on the basis of not accepting a trained service dog. It would be a waste of time too, if I or another cannot be allowed entry into a country (in this case specifically, Japan) and would like to know before thinking it could even be a possibility to visit.

    I did not mean for this post to be so long, my apologies! But thank you to any who have read this post in its entirety, and to those who may share any answers to the questions above!

    You are much appreciated!

    Demi replied 1 year, 9 months ago 3 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Ohayo Travel

    September 10, 2022 at 1:40 am

    Hi, yes the law defines the three as the service dog. In your case it should be recognized as 介助犬 or the mobility assistance dog from the philosophy of the law as the definition (article 3) of 身体障害者補助犬法 or Disabled Person Assistance Dog Act as it says that “the mobility assistance dog” helps someone who need help to change the position of the body, to stand up, to walk, to open/close the doors, etc. The law requires the dog needs to be accredited by the designated organization as “assistance dog” (article 16) . I understand this is simply because you need to distinguish those assistance dog from ordinary dogs.

    So I think you should follow the instruction to obtain the temporary certification written in “the Notice to Assistance Dog Users from Overseas” in the site below.

    I actually have no experience suppoting people like you though. If there is anyone who had a similar experience , please add comments.

  • Demi

    September 10, 2022 at 10:35 am

    Thank you so much Ohayo! I really appreciate it!

    Would you also know if Japan allows dogs with e-collars? Or is Japan one of the countries that bans it?

  • Ohayo Travel

    September 10, 2022 at 11:06 am

    A lot of devices are on the internet for sale. No results showing any law or regulations to control the sale and the use of the electronic-shock collars in Japan. Quick internet check.

  • Josh Grisdale

    September 14, 2022 at 10:23 am


    @ohayotravel did an amazing job, but will add one more link for you to check out:

    I should also warn you, even for people from Japan with fully certified service dogs are still often refused entry at some locations like restaurants. It is illegal to do so, but most stores/restaurants aren’t aware of this. That is why having a temporary certification will help.

    I don’t want to discourage you from visiting (quite the opposite, we want you to come!), but think you should be aware that this may happen. If it does, just remember that your attempt to go in places will be helping others who will follow after you.

    • Demi

      September 19, 2022 at 12:57 pm

      Thank you Josh! I very much appreciate it!

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