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Japan - Clearance

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COVID-19: Entry protocols for yachts have been affected by the pandemic. See the Biosecurity section for details.

Initial entry into Japan must be made at an official Port of Entry.


The JCG (Japan Coastguard) requires all vessels to report at least 24 hours before arrival via their online pre-arrival procedure form. The form can be downloaded (in English) from the Japan Coastguard website and faxed or emailed ( to the relevant JCG office.

The form is designed for commercial vessels, so don’t worry too much if you can’t fill in all the boxes. The JCG are good at answering emails and use an online translator.

It is recommended to request the JCG arrange a landing location with the port authority of your chosen POE, as they probably don’t speak English.

A Closed Port Permit can also be applied for in advance of arriving in Japan (see below).


Closed-Port Permit System

Ports in Japan are divided into closed ports and open ports. In May 2018, a new system was introduced and foreign cruisers can now apply, either before or on entering Japan, for a “blanket” closed-port permit that allows them to enter all closed ports at any time, with no expiration date (which is 98% of the country, including all anchorage spots). There is no longer any need to prepare a long list of all the intended ports of call.

This is a very simple one-page form available on the MILT website. Full details can be found at

The permit is valid indefinitely (as long as the boat is in Japan and its ownership, name, home address, etc. remain unchanged), with no need for permit renewals and there is no fee.

Applications can be made by e-mail, and the permit will be returned by e-mail. It takes approximately a week to get the permit. Alternatively, you can visit the MILT office in your POE on arrival, but be prepared to wait a week.

Open Ports

Officially when visiting open ports (large commercial ports), one is required to submit Customs and Coast Guard Port Entry and Port Departure forms.

Coast Guard: In fact, many Coast Guard at open ports waives that requirement for pleasure vessels (small boats under 20 tons), but Customs does not.

Customs: To avoid dealing with all the Customs paperwork in open ports, pleasure boats can be exempted by requesting registration as a domestic (coastal) cruising boat — “Naiko Senpaku” or “Naikosen”  on entering the first port in Japan. This is strongly recommended but you will have to be firm and persistent in order to get it.

For further details on the Naikosen, see the Customs section.

General Process:

On arrival, report to the nearest JCG office immediately. The Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine offices are normally in the same building in the main harbor – sometimes one can tie up to their jetty to complete the formalities. They will advise on the best berth or anchorage. Officials may come to the yacht, if not the captain should go to their offices.

It is best to attempt to arrive on a weekday as Immigration cannot be done on weekends, during daylight.

The formalities are time-consuming as there are lots of forms to fill in, but this is mostly routine and officials are always very friendly and courteous.

  1. Quarantine:
    If planning on getting a Naikosen (see Customs) inform Quarantine as soon as they come on board as they will need to do a more detailed inspection and give Customs a certificate that then allows them to issue a Naikosen.
    Quarantine officers will want to see any fresh produce (better not to have any onboard – see Customs for more details), pets, give crew a health check etc. and have forms to fill in. They may inquire about fumigation. It’s possible a de-ratting certificate will be asked for. If there is not a de-ratting certificate, then the yacht may be checked by inspectors.
  2. Customs:
    Will do an extensive search of the boat (approx. 1 hour) and have forms to fill in.
    Request a “Naikosen” to change one’s boat to domestic status for Customs purposes.
  3. Japan Coast Guard (JCG):
    May well come with Customs and ask questions in order to fill in their forms.
  4. Immigration:
    Will record fingerprints and take ID pictures, check and stamp passports and issue visas.

It is not necessary to use an agent, although they can assist with entry to ports and marinas, clearance, plus overcome the language barrier. There is just a lot of form-filling.

Domestic Cruising:

It is not necessary to report to officials in every port. If you have a Naikosen, plus the Closed Port Permit, then cruising Japan is virtually paperwork-free.

Superyachts over 24m are now also eligible to apply for a Naikosen, exempting them from having to clear in/out at every port.

If you do not have a Naikosen, then you may get visited by Customs as you cruise the country and have to complete some paperwork.

The Maritime Safety Agency office can often be a useful source of local information.

Last updated:  February 2022

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Japan was last updated 4 weeks ago.

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  1. 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).

  2. June 24, 2022 at 9:46 AM
    profile photo
    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.”

  3. 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

  4. 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?

  5. 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="lazy" 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.)

  6. 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…

  7. 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