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Japan - Bio-Security

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  • All border measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 were lifted on April 29th, 2023.


Our thanks to Kirk Patterson at Konpira Consulting for keeping Noonsite informed throughout the Pandemic and for his border opening predictions.


  • April 2020 and life in Japan continued almost as normal. Schools and municipal buildings had closed, but there were no “stay at home” orders or other tough restrictions. The Japanese “please be careful” approach seemed to working fairly well (travel on Tokyo trains was down 70% from normal levels).
  • Cruising boats (and air travelers) coming directly from some parts of China and Korea were banned from entering Japan. Those coming from other parts of China and Korea were forced to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Passage time was able to be claimed as self-isolation and count towards the quarantine period.
  • Boats coming from the US (including Guam), Canada, NZ, Australia, SE Asia and European countries (so New Caledonia and French Polynesia) within the past 14 days were banned from entering Japan. After 14 days boats could come, but have to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Boats coming from other countries in the South Pacific (Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Solomons etc.) could enter Japan at this time with no restrictions.
  • Foreigners in Japan with visas expiring between March and June were given an extra 3 months, including tourists on short stays.
  • On 16 April, 2020, Japan declared a nationwide State of Emergency until 6 May. This was extended to May 31st. The country remained open to foreign boats but with 14 days self-isolation on board for all arrivals.
  • By the end of April, virtually all “major” Japanese marinas were (officially) closed to visitors (Japanese and foreign). That said, using an agent that has connections one could sometimes negotiate an exception. Most marinas would at least provide fuel to a passing cruiser.
  • On 14 May, 2020, Japan lifted the state of emergency across the country except for
    Hokkaidō and prefectures in the Tokyo and Osaka metropolitan areas.
  • By the end of May, 2020, self-isolation procedures for cruisers arriving from overseas started to be relaxed.
  • By July, 2020, Japan had still not set any national policy on how to treat arriving
    cruisers, leaving it up to each Quarantine district to decide how to handle them. Although over 120 countries were on Japan’s banned list at this time, the Okinawa Quarantine District (where most foreign cruisers clear in to Japan), were allowing cruisers to arrive from anywhere. Arriving yachts were subject to very relaxed self-isolation guidelines (i.e. banned from using public transportation (taxis, buses, trains, planes, etc.) but otherwise allowed to go to restaurants, supermarkets, etc.).
  • This was tightened up by the end of the year to the current protocols in place.
  • From 1 November, 2021, Quarantine on arrival was reduced to 10 days.
  • Up to April 2022, cruisers who had been at sea for 14+ days and who were citizens of one of the seven countries for which the visa-exemption policy was in effect, were able to enter Japan and get 90-day visas upon arrival. This loophole has now closed and the country is closed to tourists.
  • 1 June, 2022, borders opened to tightly scheduled tour groups with guides only.
  • 11 October, 2022, borders opened to triple-vaccinated arrivals after more than 2 years of Pandemic isolation. An article on the opening of borders can be found here.

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Japan was last updated 1 month ago.

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  1. August 4, 2023 at 12:45 AM
    Rob Hurlow says:

    We have just finished a second cruising season in Japan, having taken CAPAZ from Fukuoka up the west coast to Otaru Marina, in Hokkaido adjacent to Sapporo.

    We were able to harbor hop the entire way with no overnight passages. In May the weather and wind conditions were mostly fine as the southern monsoon winds had started. We found the small harbors and towns very welcoming. Most of the tie ups are to a harbor wall and free. Large fenders are strongly advised.

    We were able to leave our boat in Fukuoka between cruising seasons under the excellent care of Kirk Patterson, Konpira consulting. He also was a great help in obtaining services, repairs, haul outs, and dealing with local coast guard and customs officials. We were able to get the equivalent of a Japanese cruising permit and were not required to check in to any ports along the way.

    Otaru Marina in Hokkaido is a wonderful marina. We are leaving CAPAZ there for another off season. The marina manager, Akira Kadano, was able to help us winterize the boat and source a local boat guy to watch over us, also has helped us with repairs. A good yard and haulout option is there for boats under 20 US tons.

    Overall crusing in Japan has been a delight. We have been met with wonderfully kind and curious local people, love the food and affordable prices.

    1. August 4, 2023 at 4:31 PM
      profile photo
      Sue Richards says:

      Rob, thanks for this great feedback on cruising Japan. I suspect more and more boats are going to start heading that way now the officialdom has become alot simpler. If you have a blog about your time in Japan, or similar, please do let us know and we’ll add it to our Japan Links section.

  2. July 25, 2022 at 1:17 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Update from Kirk Patterson of Konpira Consulting, Japan: Japan has just entered a seventh Covid surge, setting a new record in infections since the pandemic started (but fortunately not in hospitalizations or deaths). So far, the national and local governments are not re-imposing any restrictions on activities/movement, but they have postponed the start of a campaign to promote domestic tourism. I had previously thought that Japan might open up to foreign visitors in September, but I think this latest surge makes that unlikely (especially as Japan has been carefully monitoring NZ’s experience of a major surge in infections after it ended its long, strict border restrictions). There are some rumors of an October 1 opening, but I think it will probably be late fall or even January 1. All of which makes it hard for the many cruisers trying to make yes/no decisions on whether to prepare for entering Japan next spring (the normal time to arrive in Japan).

  3. June 24, 2022 at 9:46 AM
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    sue-richards says:

    The announcement that Japan was opening to all foreign tourists from 1 June led to a great deal of misunderstanding: it does in fact only apply to tightly scheduled tour groups with guides. The number of tourists that can enter Japan each month is capped and maritime borders for yachts are still very much closed. Kirk Patterson of Konpira Consulting Japan told Noonsite; “A national election is scheduled for late July, so it is unlikely that any major opening will be announced before then. September is the earliest likely date that cruisers would be able to enter Japan, however there is still a great deal of uncertainty about what visas will be avail-able. In any case, April-June is the time for foreign cruisers to enter Japan so a September opening is too late for cruisers to come to Japan in 2022.” He adds “I do know, though, that a lot of foreign cruisers are wanting to come to Japan. Compared to 20-30 boats in a typical pre-pandemic year, I’ve got a “possible client” list for 2023-2024 of about 30 boats….and that’s just people who have contacted me, so I would guess that the total number of boats seriously con-sidering coming to Japan as soon as it opens is well over a hundred.”

  4. April 23, 2020 at 6:40 AM
    maximum says:

    Hello ? everyone I am an Argentinian living in japan for a while now in Tokyo ! and getting interested in Buying a boat sailing and using the boat as House !
    Can someone advise me place to find cheap used boats for buying ! Websites , suggestions, how to save in getting the license for sailing ! Any public institution? For practicing and taking exam ? Any advise is welcome.
    Messenger Maximiliano Paradiso
    What’s app +5491164166669

    1. April 24, 2020 at 7:38 AM
      kirk says:

      Hi, Maxim…I am a Canadian who has cruised Japan for six years (and lived here for a total of 32 years, 25 in Tokyo). I currently operate a marine-tourism company (see Konpira Consulting ad). For what you want to do, the best way to start is to join the Tokyo Sail and Power Squadron…; the membership chairman is John Marshall — TSPS is a group of foreign sailors n Japan, mainly the Tokyo area. Through them you can learn how to prepare for the Japanese boat-license exam and take it in English, can sail on other members’ boats, and get ideas on how to search for a boat (there are several websites for buying/selling boats, but they are all in Japanese). You can’t technically make a boat your official, registered residence, but you can use it as a floating cottage! To moor a boat within commuting distance of Tokyo, though, is very expensive (some TSPS members actually moor their boats in the Seto Inland Sea and fly there 1-2 times a month for some weekend sailing…cheaper than keeping the boat near Tokyo). Anyway, I recommend that you join TSPS and then take it from there. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions — Good luck!

    2. May 11, 2020 at 6:29 PM
      maximum says:

      Hey ? Kirk
      Captain Kirk maybe !? ?
      Thank you ? for the info ! I will do that ! Is ok with the Japanese websites I have Automatic translation, if you can give me some of them I really appreciate!

      Keep in touch

  5. August 15, 2019 at 8:08 AM
    toddst says:

    I just concluded a passage from Portland, OR to Yokohama, Japan, spending about a month moving from a Wakkanai, Hokkaido landfall to Yokohama Bayside Marina where I left my 60’ s/v Elcano.
    I had the excellent assistance of Kirk Patterson of Konpira Consulting for the month I spent in Japan and recommend him most enthusiastically for help understanding and navigating through the complexities of Japan. He knows boats having circumnavigated Japan solo and made numerous offshore passages; he knows Japan and the considerable Japanese marine bureaucracy having lived there for decades; he is fluent in Japanese and he is well known in the marinas and sailing communities around Japan. In addition, he is a valuable source of local weather forecasts, local charts and fishing gear hazards, which are ubiquitous, and the specifics of where to find moorage in ports.
    Kirk can be reached at

    Todd S Thompson
    s/v Elcano

    1. December 28, 2019 at 6:45 AM
      malos says:

      What were the procedures for leaving? Anything special or notice required?

  6. March 13, 2019 at 6:10 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    Mar 13, 2019 06:10 AM

    Upon arrival in Okinawa from Tahiti (French Polynesia), we were instructed by the Japan Coast Guard (+81(0)98-951-0120) to clear in at Naha harbor. Best to communicate via email (they reply quickly – using on-line translator):

    You can easily get the “pre-arrival procedure form” (to mail to JCG prior to landing) with a simple web engine search. The pre-arrival procedure form is rather long, detailed, and clearly designed for large vessels, thus no worries if you can’t fill in all boxes.

    In your mail to JCG, ask them to arrange landing location with the Naha port authority (+81(0)98-862-2328) as they don’t speak English either.

    Our landing position at Naha commercial harbor:
    Quay 5 – N26°12’34 E127°40’22

    Fee: approx. 300 Yen/night (based on tonnage – 5 tons)

    Customs office at Naha Port: / +81(0)98-862-8529

    All Customs procedures are explained and relevant forms available at:

    For tax-free fuel, you need Customs form C2160 – “Declaration of loading of [your] ship’s stores of domestic goods [i.e. Japanese gas!]”

    Sailing boats can’t stay in Naha commercial port. Shortly after completing all entry formalities, you will be asked to move to Ginowan marina (West coast) or Yonabaru marina (East coast).

    We moved to Itoman fishing port “Fisherina”, where we stayed 1 week at a floating pontoon. The Fisherina office is closed on Wednesday. No English spoken but friendly and helpful staff with whom we could ‘easily’ communicate through real-time voice translation app.
    Mooring coordinates: N26°07’43 E127°39’04

    Tariffs: 1500 Yen/night (based on boat length – our boat is 35′ feet long)
    Gasoil/Diesel: delivery by truck at the pontoon upon request (provider called by Fisherina office)
    Fresh water at the pontoon: 50 Yen/hour (long hose available upon request at the office)
    Facilities: WC, showers (hot water – 200 Yen/shower), beverages (vending machines)

    No Internet / WIFI but if needed, possibility to get connected at the Fisherina office
    Free public WIFI networks widely available in Okinawa (e.g. BeOkinawa, NahaCity, etc.)

  7. August 30, 2015 at 11:13 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    A useful website to get the contacts of the various marinas where you can stop in Japan is (English version available). They do not all speak English on the phone though…

  8. February 9, 2015 at 12:28 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Regarding notice of arrival to Japan Coast Guard: The email addresses for the Ogasawara Coast Guard Station in Chichi Jima is and for Kawayama Coast Guard on Honshu is

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