Arrival procedure in Japan.

I wanted to make a post about marriage in Japan and such, but forgot the cable for my camera (since I have pictures of documents I want to use) so that have to wait. I thought I would make a more useful post today, since I can see some people have come across my blog searching for arrival procedure in Japan (I can see it in the keyword search) I thought I might actually make such post, since I do have a good knowledge on that point. So… let’s get started.

Before landing

During the flight you will receive two slips of papers, one to give to immigration and one to give to customs. The one for immigration asks for your personal information (name, age, gender, passport number, flight number, profession, reason of stay in Japan, the number of days/months/years, intended address and etc). On the back of this slip you also fill out the amount of money you’re carrying into the country. A lot of people forget to fill out the back, so often an airport service person will check it while you’re standing in line at the immigration.

The second slip, for the customs, asks you if you’re carrying anything illegal goods (which also includes, meat, porn, plants, huge amount of tobacco and etc.) then you have to state wether you have previously been deported from Japan, been convicted by a crime in Japan and such things. Normally you just have to check “No” to all questions (especially if it is your first visit in Japan).


Then you arrive in Japan and just follow the others who were on the plane. Then you will be led to a big arrival hall, first you pass through a temperature check (they started doing that after the swine flu epidemic), you wont notice it, since it just looks like normal small cameras. If you have a fever, you could be stopped – but haven’t seen anyone being stopped, yet. Then you get to the main part – where Japanese passport holder and foreign passport holders are separated. If you’re a foreigner – you of course head towards the place where “foreign passports” are written – there will often be airport personal guiding you in a line. Sometimes you can expect to wait in line a fairly long time (especially in Narita aiport) though, due to the recent earthquake, the amount of tourists are probably smaller than normal peak times. But, if you’re making a schedule, please set aside at least 30 minutes for this.

Then you get to the immigration control person. They often do not speak to you, just hand them the slip with your information and your passport. Then they will look at it and stamp your passport. They will then ask for your fingerprint. There is a small machine where you place the index finger from each hand, the machine will tell you in English when to press down, sometimes you need an extra try, then it tells you to look (since it’s taking your picture). When that is done, the immigration person will give you back your passport and inside there is a part left of the immigration slip which should be kept like that (it’s stabled on one of the pages).

Then you go down to the baggage arrival and pick up your suitcase. Then you have to go to one of the custom guards waiting near the exit (even if you have nothing to declare). Then you give them the second paper slip and your passport. They often ask you about your purpose of stay, if you have any illegal goods and such. Then in some occasions they will ask you to open your suitcase (it has happened to me once out of seven times) and then they will look through it. After that they will tell you’re free to go and you then go to the door marked “exit” – you have now entered Japan.

Outside the doors is the arrival area, this is where you decide which kind of transportation is the best for you. Trains, busses or taxi.

Have a nice trip.


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