How to Travel With Your Pet To Japan – Part 1: Should You Travel With Your Pet To Japan?
By Skywing Knights // February 6, 2024
I have a dog. Her name is Sadie. I love Sadie and I would travel with her everywhere if I could. So, have I thought about traveling with Sadie to Japan? The country I lovingly call my ‘second home’? Yes. Yes I have. The result was me falling down into a rabbit hole of information regarding the process of bringing animals into Japan (and back into the US for that matter). And let me tell you… it’s a lot. So today, you lovely readers are the benefactors of my desire to travel overseas with my pup. Because today, we’re talking about the process of how to bring your pet (specifically dogs or cats) to Japan and how to travel with them once you’re both there. But first, for all my excitement… I wanted to answer this question before anything else.
Should You Bring Your Pet With You to Japan?
I wondered about this as I began my research. I find most humans can barely stand the 14 hour flight. Could my dog? Was that fair to her? And I’m sure many reading this have asked the same thing.
Ultimately, I truly believe that every individual’s situation is different. For instance, going to Japan for work or to live over there is very different then going over to Japan for tourism. Additionally, sometimes a pet functions as a service animal for specific individuals whereas, often times, for others they do not. And what about Emotional Support Animals? Where do they fit in?
I will tell you right away, that ultimately, I decided that I did not feel comfortable with bringing my pup with me to Japan. At least, not by plane.
What You Put Your Pet Through by Taking Them to Japan
If asked honestly, I would advise AGAINST bringing pets to Japan if your purpose for traveling there is for pleasure, and especially if you are going by plane. Why? Well, regardless of if your pet is small enough or not to fit in the cabin area of the plane, by taking your pet with you to Japan via plane you are knowingly subjecting them to:
- 12-14 hours of flight both ways in a confined, loud, pressurized space, and no guarantee of a place for them to relieve themselves.
- 12 hours of quarantine, minimum (and only if you correctly follow all importation procedures) once in the country of Japan. (And if you don’t follow procedures correctly, it can be MUCH, much longer!)
Additionally, you may also be forced to subject them to abnormal amounts of confinement depending on how large they are and how they can be transported once you are in Japan.
What If Your Pet is a Service Animal or You’re Moving to Japan?
All that said, not everyone going to Japan goes for tourism. And even if you are, if you require a service animal, it may be necessary to bring your pet with you if you intend to go.
It’s for those reasons that ultimately I decided I still wanted to share this information on how to bring pets into Japan. In short, this series of blogs is primarily to help make it easier for those who MUST travel with their pets to Japan. Why? Because I hope that this will help them be able to do everything possible to make the journey both safe and as comfortable and as stress-free as possible for their furry companions.
PLEASE Think About What’s Best For Your Pet
Regardless of my reasons for writing this blog series, I also wish to urge everyone, regardless of their circumstances, to think about what is ultimately best for their pets. You owe it to them. And for most people, that means leaving them at home in your home country.
Everyone’s Circumstances are Different!
If you need your pet to act as a service animal, that’s what they are there for. You don’t have to apologize or justify that. And if I had to hazard a guess, I think most service animals would prefer to be with the person they serve rather than away from them (and unable to do their job).
If you have to move to Japan, I think it’s always better to bring your pet rather than give them away. Pets are not objects to be thrown away. They are family members! You don’t give away family members.
Just bring them to Japan the RIGHT way! And then you will have no need to justify your actions.
But if you DON’T need to bring your pet, please, leave them home with someone you trust to keep them safe and happy while you’re away. I know it can be hard if you’re particularly attached to your pet, but the reunion will be wonderful – and a great reminder that you did the right thing for your pet.
What’s Involved in Bringing Pets to Japan
For a quick overview of what you need to do when thinking about bringing your pet with you to Japan, I’ve broken the research into 4 categories:
- Importing Pets into Japan (and back into your home country)
- Pets on Planes
- Pets on Public Transit and in Public Spaces within Japan
- Exceptions and Requirements for Service Animals and Emotional Support Pets
And let me tell you, there’s a lot to know in each category! For that reason, I’ll be breaking up the information into 4 blog articles and I’ll link them to each category above as they are posted. Until then, be sure to subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss any updates. And the first update on this wide, all encompassing question?
Importing Pets into Japan!
Stay tuned for that and until next time, be sure to give your pet some extra love,