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Moving a Pet to Japan

Rules and Regulations for International Pet Shipping

What Pet Travel Documents Are Needed to Travel to Japan?

Japan has very strict requirements when it comes to importing cats and dogs. As long as you are well-prepared and your pet follows all the rules, then your move to Japan should be smooth sailing. 

We've outlined the basic requirements on this page but you can also find the requirements directly from Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries website.

Like many countries, Japan has some varying requirements depending on your pet's country of origin. The requirements we have outlined below are for pets traveling from the mainland USA to Japan.


All pets are required to have an ISO-compatible microchip implanted before the first required rabies vaccination. This can be done on the same day, as long as the chip is present first. The chip number must be readable at every vet visit and must be reported accurately on all of your pet's paperwork. If your pet has more than one microchip, then all readable chip numbers should be listed on your pet's paperwork.

Do note that if the microchip cannot be read or does not match the number on your pet's paperwork then they may be subject to a 180-day quarantine period in Japan or will be sent back home at the pet owner's expense.

Rabies vaccinations administered prior to the microchip are not considered valid.

Rabies Vaccinations & Rabies Titer Blood Test

Japan requires two rabies vaccinations, after the microchip is implanted. 

First rabies vaccine:

Must be given when the pet is at least 91 days old and must be administered at least 30 days before the next vaccination.

Second rabies vaccine:

Must be administered at least 30 days after the previous rabies vaccination and before the previous vaccine expires.

**The ORIGINAL signed Rabies Vaccination Certificates must travel with your pet into Japan.

Rabies titer blood test:

The rabies titer blood test must be administered by a USDA-Accredited Veterinarian and completed AFTER the second rabies vaccine is given. This can be done the same day as the rabies vaccine as long as the blood is drawn AFTER the vaccination is administered. The blood test must be completed within the validity period of the rabies vaccination, meaning before it expires.

The rabies titer test result must be >/= 0.50 IU/mL in order to be considered passing.  All rabies titer tests (FAVN) must be completed at an approved laboratory (in the US, the KSU Rabies Lab is approved). 

The rabies titer test is valid for 2 years from the date of sampling as long as the rabies vaccinations do not expire beforehand.

If you do not want your pet to be quarantined in Japan, then your pet must wait 180 days from the date of the blood sampling for the titer test before entering Japan. The rabies vaccinations must be kept up to date during this time.

*Do note that the ORIGINAL rabies titer test results must travel with your pet into Japan. The results take several weeks for the lab to process and the original document will be mailed to the submitting veterinary clinic.

Other Vaccinations

While Japan does not require additional vaccinations for cats and dogs, it is recommended that your pet is up to date on the following.


  • FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, Panleukopenia)
  • Feline Leukemia


  • DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza)
  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough)
  •  Leptospirosis
  • CIV (Canine Influenza Virus)

Advance Notification

The importer or pet owner must notify the Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) at the port of entry your pet will be coming into Japan at least 40 days prior to arrival. The Notification and Approval documents will be issued and this acts like an import permit. 

If there are any changes to your pet's travel plans after the "Notification" has been issued, you will need to let AQS know so they can issue a "Modification of Notification of Import of Animals."

*If you are working with Starwood to transport your pet, we will take care of this on your behalf.

Other Required Treatments

While not mandatory, it is sometimes recommended that cats and dogs be treated with an external parasite (fleas and ticks) treatment and an internal parasite (nematodes and cestodes) treatment within 10 days prior to export. If administered, these treatments should be reported on the health certificate.

Health Certificates

A clinical exam and Japan Certificates A & C must be completed and signed by a USDA Accredited Veterinarian within 10 days prior to travel and must be endorsed by the USDA.  You cannot use the standard USDA APHIS 7001 Form. You must use the Japan-specific health certificates available on the USDA-APHIS website. 

The ORIGINAL endorsed health certificates MUST travel with your pet into Japan.

If you hire Starwood to assist with your pet's relocation, we will take care of the final exam, paperwork, and USDA endorsement on your behalf.

Photo of Pet

While Japan does not require you to submit a photo of your pet along with their other documentation, we will ask you for photos so we can put a face to a name.

What Are the Pet Restrictions for Japan?

Age Restrictions

Dogs and cats must be at least 91 days old before they can receive the first rabies vaccination.

Do I Need a Microchip for My Pet to Travel to Japan?

All pets must have a microchip that is ISO-compatible (Avid, Trovan, Destron, etc.) Microchips must be implanted before the rabies vaccination is done because the number must appear on all of your pet’s health and import documentation.

What Are the Quarantine Requirements for a Pet Traveling to Japan?

If your pet is compliant with all of Japan's import requirements, then they will spend less than 12 hours in quarantine. 

Upon arrival to Japan, pets are inspected by Animal Quarantine Service. If they meet all requirements, then they can proceed to be cleared through customs and then released to the pet owner or consignee (person receiving the pet).

If they are found to be non-compliant, then your pet may be quarantined for up to 180 days.

Are There Any Area Specific Pet Requirements in Japan?

Dogs can only be imported through specific approved ports of entry to Japan. This restriction does not apply to cats. The approved ports include:

Airports: New Chitose Airport, Narita International Airport, Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport), Chubu International Airport, Kansai International Airport, Kitakyushu Airport, Fukuoka Airport, Kagoshima Airport, Naha Airport

Seaports: Tomakomai Seaport, Keihin Seaport (Tokyo, Yokohama), Nagoya Seaport, Hanshin Seaport (Osaka, Hyogo), Kanmon Seaport, Hakata Seaport, Kagoshima Seaport, Naha Seaport

Dog Registration & Vaccination

Dogs are required to be registered within the municipality where they will be living. You must do this within 30 days of your dog's import to Japan. 

Japan also requires that dogs are vaccinated for Rabies once per year. 

Top Destinations in Japan

Our Japan pet shipping services include:

  • Door-to-door transport
  • Assistance with health certificates, import certificates, and other travel documents needed for animal transport to Japan (outlined above)
  • USDA endorsement of all relevant documents where required
  • IATA-compliant flight kennels provided with personalized labels, identificationand emergency notification instructions
  • Customs clearance and delivery to your home
  • Local pet taxi service to and from the airport, your home, veterinarian, kennel, or groomer
  • Travel consultation and flight reservations

We will inform you of your pet's full itinerary before the trip and we will update you as your pet travels to Japan.

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