Travel insurance for Japan

Find out how to get the right travel insurance for trips to Japan with our partner,[1]

Covid-19 (coronavirus) – important information

From 17th May 2021, a travel traffic light system is being introduced and trips to green list countries will be legally permitted if you live in England. Strict border control measures will remain in place for your return to the UK.

Before you buy, you should consider the implications of your destination moving from a green list country to amber or red as you may incur additional costs and/or face travel restrictions that will not be covered by your travel insurance.

The traffic light rules only dictate what you have to do on returning to England – so even if a country is on the green list, you still need to check your destination's entry requirements and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for travelling there. If the Foreign Office has advised against travel to your destination and you still decide to travel, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase.

A few insurers do offer cover If you are an essential traveller, however if you are in doubt or have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing.

Until dates have been set to permit non-essential international travel from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland it is important that you follow all the rules that apply to your country of residence.

Do I need travel insurance for Japan?

It’s not a legal requirement to buy travel insurance for a trip to Japan, but it’s highly advisable. If you need medical care, lose your luggage, or have to cancel your hotel and plane tickets, you’d want to be covered.

Because of Japan’s location, you’ll need a worldwide travel insurance policy.

What should my travel insurance policy for Japan include?

  • Medical expenses
  • Cancellation or curtailment of your trip
  • Delays or missed departures for reasons outside of your control (like extreme weather)
  • Repatriation to the UK due to ongoing medical treatment
  • Lost or stolen baggage, including your passport
  • Personal liability cover

What might your policy not cover?

Some things are regularly excluded from policies, so look out for:

  • Exclusions for illnesses or injuries because of a pre-existing medical condition
  • Unexpected events, like terrorism, war, civil unrest or natural disasters
  • Accident, illness or injury as a result of intoxication
  • Illness as a result of prescription and over-the-counter medications prohibited in Japan
  • Travel to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear facility
  • Any problems arising from involvement in illegal activities
  • Accidents or injuries because of extreme activities like skiing or white-water rafting. If you plan on doing these, you'll need extra cover for extreme sports

If you travel overseas more than twice a year, save hassle by buying annual cover rather than multiple single-trip policies. You might save money too.

Healthcare in Japan for tourists

Medical care in Japan is expensive and doctors can refuse treatment to tourists without valid medical insurance - make sure your travel insurance includes medical cover.

The FCDO advises that while treatment and facility standards are high, the cost of treatment can be very expensive and clinicians may want proof you’re able to cover the costs.

Your treatment could be delayed while your policy is checked - contact your insurer as soon as possible if you need medical care.

Travel risks in Japan

Most trips are trouble-free but there are a few travel risks you should be aware of:

  1. Natural disasters

    Japan is in a major earthquake zone and tsunamis have occurred in the country. There are several active volcanoes in Japan, and the tropical cyclone (typhoon) season runs from June to December. See the FCDO’s Japan natural disasters page for more information

  2. Nuclear meltdowns

    The Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster happened in 2011 and there are some exclusion zones around the power plant as a result

  3. Groping on trains

    Groping on public transport is a problem in Japan, where it’s known as ‘chikan’. The police advise you shout at the perpetrator to attract attention and ask a fellow passenger to call the train staff

  4. Crime

    Crime levels are very low in Japan, but Tokyo’s entertainment districts are a little riskier

Do I need a visa for Japan?

British passport holders can travel in Japan for 90 days visa-free, but expect to provide evidence of a return ticket or onward travel. If you need to, you can extend your stay in Japan for up to six months. Check Visas Japan to find out more.

Other considerations for travel in Japan

When eating out and drinking in Japan you pay for your meal at the end, although tipping isn’t necessary.

Japanese people are friendly and welcoming but loud and boisterous behaviour is not as acceptable as it is in the UK.

Penalties for most offences tend to be more severe than in the UK and the police have the power to detain people for up to 23 days while they’re investigated.

Japan is largely a cash society, with the currency being the Yen. You may struggle to use your credit and debits cards in Japan, but Japanese post offices, 7-Eleven stores and JP Post Bank branches will accept some foreign cards in their ATM machines.

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