Drone regulations in Japan

In this article, you will learn which drone laws apply in Japan.

According to the Japanese Civil Aviation Law, you must register any drone that weighs 100 g or more. Registration takes place in three steps.

1. Registration

You can register your drone directly online. To do this, you as the owner must also carry out an online identity check. You will need the following documents:

  1. As a natural person: identity card, driving license or passport
  2. As a company or organization: gBizID
  3. As a tourist who is not a resident of Japan: A copy of the passport and a copy of a document issued by a public institution that verifies the name, address and date of birth of the holder

In case of registration by an authorized representative: In addition to the identification documents A) to C) above, a document proving the power of representation (e.g. power of attorney).

2. Payment

Once your application has been approved, you will be asked to pay the application fee. The amount varies depending on the type of registration and the identity check. The registration fee can be paid by credit card, online banking or bank transfer. When paying by bank transfer, enter the fee payment number you received from the government as the reason for payment.

Online application with individual number card (Japanese citizens) or via gBizID (company):

  • 900 yen (approx. €5.57) for the first drone
  • 890 yen (approx. €5.50) for each additional registration

Online registration with other means of identification such as driver’s license and passport (tourist):

  • 1450 yen (approx. €8.57) for the first drone
  • 1050 yen (approx. €6.49) for each additional registration

Written registration by mail:

  • 2400 yen (approx. 14.84 €) for the first drone
  • 2000 Yen (approx. 12.37 €) for each additional registration

3. Issuance of a registration ID

Once you have completed steps 1 and 2, you will be issued a registration ID for your drone by the government. The registration ID must be clearly and permanently affixed to a clearly visible external part of your drone and must not be easily removable. For drones under 25 kg, the font height must be at least 3 mm. For drones over 25 kg, the font height must be at least 25 mm.

In addition to affixing the registration ID, your drone must be equipped with a remote identification function or remote ID function (RID), which transmits identification information remotely via radio waves.

The following flights are exempt from the installation of RID equipment:

  • Flights over a specific area that has been notified to the government in advance, with all necessary measures, such as hiring assistants to monitor the drone flight and demarcating the area
  • Flights carried out by anchoring the drone to a sufficiently strong cord or similar (no more than 30 m long)
  • Flights authorized by the National Police Agency, the Prefectural Police or the Japan Coast Guard for security or other purposes requiring special confidentiality

Overview: Drone rules in Japan

Recreational use of drones allowed? Yes, after registration or approval
Commercial use of drones permitted? Yes, after registration or approval
Maximum Altitude:150 Meter (492,1 Fuß) in uncontrolled airspace.
Is drone insurance mandatory? No. Learn more about drone insurance here.
Does the drone need a badge?Yes.
Drone labels can be ordered here
Is a registration necessary? No.
Keep distance to airports
Respect the privacy of other people
Contact information

UA/Drone Counseling Service: [email protected].

Additional rules for drone pilots in Japan

In Japan, you are not allowed to fly your drone under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are caught doing so, you could face a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine of up to 300,000 yen (approx. 2,500 euros).

You should check the airworthiness of your device before every flight. You must also control it in such a way that it does not pose a danger to other aircraft, people or objects.

In Japanese airspace, you may only fly your copter in daylight and within visual range.

You may not use it to transport dangerous materials or drop objects.

As far as we know, there is no special insurance requirement. However, you should insure your drone due to the high costs that can arise in the event of damage.

Safety distances and flight bans in Japan

There are three types of airspace for which authorization is required in Japan:

  • the airspace around airports
  • Airspace above an altitude of 150 meters
  • Airspace above densely populated areas

You can see exactly where the airports and densely populated areas are located on this map. Although it is currently only available in Japanese, it is self-explanatory. The areas that are considered densely populated are colored red and the airspace around airports is colored green.

Flying drones must always keep a distance of 30 meters from uninvolved persons, vehicles and buildings.

The operation of drones over crowds and events without authorization is prohibited in Japan. Flights are not permitted over roads, in public parks in Tokyo and Osaka, or over the Emperor’s Palace, other government buildings, nuclear power plants and military facilities. A distance of at least 300 meters should be maintained. You can find a list of the prohibited zones here.

If you want to fly outside of these rules, for example to film an event or fly at night, you will need a permit. You can also apply for this online via the Dips web portal.

Good to know

If you do not follow the above rules and are caught, you could face a fine of up to 500,000 yen (approx. 4100 euros). Further penalties apply for drone flights involving alcohol or drugs.

There are special regulations for radio technology in Japan. It must have a seal of conformity. If your drone is home-made or differs in any way from conventional devices, it is best to find out about the regulations on this page.

To our knowledge, there is no distinction between drone flights for recreational and commercial purposes in Japan.

In the past, an activist landed a drone with radioactive material on the Prime Minister’s roof as a protest against the Fukushima policy. Due to this incident, you should exercise particular caution, especially near government buildings, and refrain from flying drones to avoid unnecessary trouble.

We have researched the listed drone regulations for Japan to the best of our knowledge. We can not guarantee the correctness of the information. If you want to be on the safe side, please contact the competent aviation authority. Alternatively, you can also ask the embassy in your country for further information about the regulations. Please leave us a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your copter in Japan!

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About the author

Since January 2015, we travel around the world. In our backpack we carry a camera drone which we use to capture the best places from a bird’s perspective. First we travelled with a DJI Phantom 2. But now we use several drones like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ or the DJI Mini 3 Pro. On our blog we share the best tips for you about travelling with a drone. If you have questions about this article or new information, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment!


  • Naoki | 01.09.2018

    Be aware that Japanese regulation about radio communication is bit strict.
    2.4GHz is OK, but for 5.8GHz you need to get licenses of both radio operator and radio station.

    • Francis Markert | 26.10.2018

      Thanks for that valuable addition!

  • Javier Camacho | 06.04.2019

    Hi Francis, do you know if I can fly my drone in Naritas Temple? Is that considered a public park? I am going to Narita and Tokio with my wife and 2 kids but I am wondering how much I would be able to fly it with out getting into trouble. Thanks.

  • Erik van der K. | 10.02.2020

    Thanks for this helpful article. I’m planning on going to Japan on March 20 until late April. I already figured that flying in cities, near airports etc are a no go. But do I understand correctly that you can fly in recreational areas like Hakone / Fuji Five Lakes, Yoshinoyama, Koyasan, Okunoshima, Yakushime, Nakasendo trail (Magome to Nojiri), (Yabuhara to Narai) and (Karuizawa – Usui Pass to Yokokawa) without applying for any permit? (I’m flying a DJI Mavic 2 Pro)

  • Lego | 04.05.2022

    Please duly note that the laws are updating in 2022.
    Faliure to register both drone and pilot prior to flight from this summer can carry penalties of 500.000JPY or up to one year in prison.

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