Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Before You Go > The 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games
Before You Go:
Print our Traveler’s Checklist card and be sure to:
Major events are a prime opportunity for crime. It is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times to avoid becoming a victim:
For more information about Safety & Security, visit the State Department’s country information page for Japan.
Remember: You are subject to all Japanese laws, which may differ from those in the United States. If you violate these laws even unknowingly, you may be arrested, fined, jailed, expelled, and banned from re-entering Japan. Expect increased police presence and enhanced security measures throughout Tokyo during the Olympics, particularly in and around sports venues.
Prescription Drugs: It is important to note that some medications that are routinely prescribed in the U.S., including Adderall and Vyvanse, are strictly prohibited in Japan. Small quantities of some medications may be brought into the country for personal use, but depending on the medication and amount brought, you may need to obtain an import license before arriving in Japan. All medications containing amphetamines and cannabis and its derivatives, including CBD oil which may contain THC, are illegal. Many over-the-counter and prescription medications common in the United States, including ones for pain, depression, ADHD, and many kinds of decongestants and allergy medications are illegal.
The Japanese government decides which medications may be imported legally into Japan. The Japanese Embassy and consulates in the United States provide limited information but do not have a comprehensive list of specific medications or ingredients. Please see more information on importing medicines into Japan.
U.S. Embassy Tokyo: Visit the Embassy’s webpage, https://jp.usembassy.gov/, for more information about American Citizens Services (ACS) units at the U.S. Embassy and Consulates, routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens, security and fraud warnings, and other topics.
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420 Japan
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 03-3224-5000
For local news and information in English, follow these Japanese government Twitter accounts:
The Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held primarily in locations throughout Tokyo, with some additional venues in other areas. Unlike previous Games, more than 40 venues are spread over 9 prefectures, and there is no central Olympic Park
Transportation and Accommodations:
You will likely do a lot of walking because some metro stations near venues will be closed for security purposes during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Hotels will be at capacity during the Olympic and Paralympic Games and costs are expected to be high. Be sure to make arrangements well in advance. Camping is only permitted at designated campgrounds, most located outside Tokyo metropolitan area. If you want to camp, make reservations early and expect a long commute into the city center.
Be prepared for high temperatures and little shade. Learn the warning signs for heat-related illnesses and how to prevent them at the CDC Extreme Heat information page. You may bring one non-alcoholic drink up to 750 milliliters into Olympic venues.
Travelers should understand the cultural norms of the country they will be visiting. Pay attention to local laws and customs because they can be quite different from the United States, especially if you intend to travel alone. Learn more from the Japanese National Tourism Organization.
Visit the State Department’s country information page for Japan for detailed Safety and Security information.
There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Japan. See our LGBTI Travel Information page for further details.
Travelers with disabilities can learn more about resources available in country from the Japan National Tourism Organization’s traveling with a disability page.
You must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket for tourist/business "visa free" stays of up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for the entire time you are staying in Japan. If not, it’s likely that the airline will not allow you to board. If the airline does allow you to board, Japanese Immigration will not grant you entry, and the U.S. Embassy will not be able to assist. View our Japan Country Information page for detailed Entry, Exit, and Visa Requirements, and be sure to check your passport’s expiration date today! Contact the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. or the nearest Japanese Consulate if you have further questions.
Passports lost in Japanese cities are frequently turned in to the nearest police station (“Koban”) and can often be quickly retrieved. If you lose your passport while traveling on public transportation, you may want to check with the lost and found office at the destination before contacting police.
If your passport is lost or stolen, you are advised to report the loss/theft to the local Japanese Police Station. You can contact the police at 03-3501-0110, if you are in Tokyo, or #9110, throughout Japan, for instructions. You will also need to come into the embassy to get a new passport. Visit U.S. Embassy Tokyo’s Passport Services page for more detailed information.
If your “green card” or Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), is lost, stolen, or destroyed during your stay in Japan, you will need to obtain a “Boarding Foil” from the Embassy before you return to the United States. You will need to pay the $575 fee online, schedule an appointment, and report to the Embassy at the scheduled time with your passport and additional documents. You will then be interviewed by a Consular Officer. Please visit the Embassy website for detailed instructions.
If you left your Green Card in the United States, you may wish to ask a friend or relative there to send you the card rather than investing time and money in applying for a boarding foil.
Driving in Japan is complicated and expensive. Traffic moves on the left side of the road. Those who cannot read the language will have trouble understanding road signs. Highway tolls can be very high. City traffic is often very congested so plan for long delays even when travelling relatively short distances. There is virtually no legal roadside or curbside parking; however, traffic is commonly blocked or partially blocked by those illegally parked curbside. During the Olympics, significant traffic restrictions will be in place. Roads in Japan are much narrower than those in the United States. If you choose to drive in Japan, an international driving permit issued in the United States by the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Alliance is required of short-term visitors who drive in Japan. Please visit the Embassy’s website Driving in Japan for details.
Train travel is widely available, safe and effective for travel throughout Japan. Rail travel is often faster and more efficient than driving or flying. Flights are also available to popular tourist destinations. Information on the Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass), train companies and transportation options in Japan is readily available online.
If you are traveling to remote areas in the mountains or islands of Japan, be aware that you may not have access to phone or internet for days at a time. Leave detailed written plans and timetables with a friend or family member before traveling to remote areas.
It is important to note that some medications that are routinely prescribed in the U.S., including Adderall and Vyvanse, are strictly prohibited in Japan. The Japanese government decides which medications may be imported legally into Japan. The Embassy and consulates of Japan in the United States provide limited information but do not have a comprehensive list of specific medications or ingredients. If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Japan at email@example.com or visit https://is.gd/gUXdin to ensure the medication is legal in Japan. Please visit the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo’s website for more information on importing medicines into Japan.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. If you lose or run out of essential medication, you will need a prescription from a doctor licensed in Japan to fill the prescription at a local pharmacy. Be sure to bring your prescription with you and ask your doctor or pharmacist to write the generic—not brand name—of the drug. Bringing your prescription may help health care providers identify the medication you need
Please note that some drugs which may be legal outside of Japan, including marijuana and synthetic drugs, remain illegal in Japan. Cannabis/marijuana is illegal in Japan, and possession may result in imprisonment. Japan does not make exceptions for medical marijuana or CBD that may contain THC. Having a prescription for cannabis/marijuana does not exempt you from Japanese law, which makes no distinction between medical and recreational use of marijuana. Even possession of a small amount for personal use can result in a long jail sentence and fine. The vast majority of arrests of U.S. citizens in Japan are for drug-related offenses, and arrestees often spend months or years in detention. Japanese authorities aggressively pursue drug smugglers and users, including recreational users, with sophisticated detection equipment, "sniffing" dogs, blood tests, “stop and frisk” tactics, and other methods. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking a drug that is illegal in Japan are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and fines. Japanese customs officials carefully screen incoming packages, and individuals who are mailed drugs can be arrested and prosecuted as drug traffickers.