Laws in Japan foreigners and tourists should know.

Japan is one of the most favorite tourist destinations worldwide for good reasons. From the rich and fascinating culture to the stunning and picturesque natural views, a vacation to Japan is all to desire. Not to mention the warm and friendly locals that brighten your days throughout your stay.

But to get the best out of your trip to Japan, it’s crucial that you educate yourself on essential laws foreigners should know. That way, you won’t be in a stressful situation with law enforcement. While there are many of these laws, this post will explore the most important ones that will make your stay in Japan stress-free.

Always take your passport wherever you go.

Japanese law allows the police to perform random identification checks on locals and foreigners. With a population of about 126 million, it’s unlike you’ll be stopped for a random ID check. However, if you’re stopped and cannot produce your passport, you might be taken in for further questioning by the police. You can avoid this unnecessary stress by just going around with your passport – whether you want to buy something at a nearby convenience store or sightseeing around town.

Never work on a tourist visa.

You might be tempted to make some quick cash while on your tourist visa, whether through teaching locals English or working in a hotel for free accommodation. Whatever the case, do not engage in paid labor on a tourist visa, as it is illegal.

If you are caught doing so, you will be fined and banned. You’re in Japan as a tourist, so do the things that tourists do – like feasting on sushi or ramen, dining at an izakaya, or visiting the temples. First, obtain a valid work visa if you want to work in Japan.

You cannot smoke in public spaces.

If you come from the Western world, you might be used to smoking on the street and in other public spaces. In Japan, it’s illegal to do so, and if caught, it can cost you up to 20,000 yen (~$144) in fines.

Always find a designated smoking area if you want to take a puff. You can find one near office buildings, outside train stations, parks, and other places. If you’re going to smoke at a restaurant, do well to request a table in a smoking area.

The legal drinking age is 20 years old.

In the UK, the legal drinking age is 18. It’s 21 in the United States. In Japan, it’s 20 years. So if you’re under 20 years old as a tourist in Japan, you cannot consume alcohol. Sure, some underage individuals get away with purchasing alcohol because the establishment did not perform an ID check before selling them alcohol. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The last thing you want is a criminal record, which might affect your chances of engaging in some transactions or applying for a work visa. Get more info here on the legal drinking age in Japan.

Other laws you should know

Other laws to bear in mind as a foreigner in Japan include:

・You should obey the traffic rule – if you fail to comply, you can be fined between 7,000 to 35,000 yen. Even worse, you put your life and the lives of others at risk.

・The act of dueling and related activities are punishable.

・Begging for money is illegal under the Misdemeanor law.

・Talking to a bus driver while the bus is in motion is prohibited.

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