Drone Laws in Japan (Regulation updated for 2020)

height flight limit

150m max height

can't fly over crowds of people

Don't fly over crowds

plane icon white

Don't fly near airports

drone distance range white icon

30 m from property

All Drone Laws in Japan in 2020 (Ultimate Guide)

What’s interesting about flying drones in Japan? When you hear Unmanned aerial vehicle, the first thing that comes to mind is stealth weapons or advanced package delivery drones. 

Today drones are used for practically anything from capturing wedding photos or carrying out mapping or industrial inspections. 

With more people adopting the use of drones in Japan, few are aware of the laws involved given the dense government websites, written in Japanese. 

Japan Civil Aviation Authority is the custodian of drone laws in the country. 

Can I fly my drone in Japan?

Yes. It is legal to fly a drone in Japan. For a while, there were no drone laws in place, till some random guy decided to fly a drone filled with radioactive sand over the Japanese prime minister’s house. Unfortunately for the industry, unpleasant events such as those never go unnoticed. Japan set up drone laws to act as a basic regulatory framework for the industry.


Who do I contact?

You can get in touch with the JCAB, which is the body concerned with drones.

Email: hqt-jcab.mujin@ml.mlit.go.jp 

Tel +8135253 8111

japan drone shot
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How are drones classified in Japan?

Drones are clustered into a general category, meaning the law does not separate commercial from recreational. Both are subjected to the respective codes of contact and restrictions. It is important to point out that the Japanese authorities are considering starting up a drone registration authority. 

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Laws around the flying of commercial and recreational drones in Japan

To fly in the following areas, you must have authorization from the ministry concerned:

  • 150 meters – 492 feet over the ground
  • Near any airports, airstrips or helipads.
  • Flight above densely populated areas
  • To receive authorization, apply 10 days before you perform the said operation.
  • You can only fly a drone during the day
  • Drone pilots must always maintain VLOS in their operations.
  • Keep 30 meters away from private property or people.
  • Do not use drones in the transportation of harmful goods
  • No intentional or accidental dropping of goods with the drone.
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How to apply for permission to fly a drone in Japan?

Your request should be submitted 10 days prior and can be sent via mail or post. An easier way would be to personally drop it at the office concerned. Applications sent via email or Fax will not be accepted unless under emergency situations. 

To send it via post, use this application form

When addressing the letter, it is highly advisable that you address it in Japanese.

Can I fly a drone in Tokyo?

Yes, you can. However, it is important to point out that, most parts of the 23 wards fall under the densely populated category.

What is the penalty for breaking the drone rules?

You will fall under this category if you were flying an illegal operation. The extent of your punishment shall be determined by the courts. The judges will gauge your infraction and arrive at a decision whether you are culpable or not. The Civil Aviation Act proposes a penalty of:

  • Up to 500,000 yen
  • Flying under the influence of alcohol could land you a jail term or sentence in excess of 300,000 yen.

In worst-case scenarios, your penalty might be extended to the Protection of Cultural practices, Road traffic Act and others.

Do I need permission to fly my drone in Japan?

If your drone falls in the below 200 g cartegory, you do not need permission.However, you still need paermision if you plan on flying it close to an airport. 

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What are my top drones to fly safely in Japan?

My following two recommendations are 2 great compact drones that are quite silent and also small enough to travel with and not stand out as annoying.

1.Dji Mavic Mini - The best international travel drone (under 250g)


30min battery


No follow me

DJI has surprised us with this incredible camera drone under 250g, which is half of the weight required for registering in the first place.


I have covered it much more in depth in my article review and even compared it with the DJI Spark and Mavic Air.


  • 30 min battery life
  • under 250g
  • super portable
  • 4km range
  • can edit videos in the app


  • no obstacle avoidance
  • no settings for iso and shutter speed

2.Dji Mavic Air 2 - My favorite drone overall

4k 60fps

34min battery


Follow + obstacle avoidance

mavic air 2 package fly more combo
If you want more control over things like shutter speed, iso and such, the best professional drone that still falls under the 500g category is the DJI Mavic Air.
It's made mostly for people who want to play around with settings and enter into the pro category.


DJI lowered it's price since it was first released.


  • 3 way sensors
  • 68kph (fastest among the 3)
  • follow me mode(quite a few options)
  • 8gb internal storage
  • ISo & shutter speed settings
  • 6 photo modes
  • takes RAW photos
  • 100mbps bitrate


  • battery life ins't that amazing
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Restricted Areas and Geofencing (drone FLying map)

The best way to figure out what areas you can fly in, while you're here is by consulting DJI offilicial map.
They do a great job mapping the places that one should avoid while flying in every country:

  • airports
  • military bases
  • prisons
  • power plants
  • any high risk areas
romania flying map dji
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Make money with your drone

  • Only if you're serious
  • No experience required
  • I make up to 200$/h after it
  • Yes, it's a course
  • Yes, It's the best I know
  • Everything from A to Z

How do you make money with your drone, though?

Okay, so you got your new and fancy drone, but how do you stand out from any dad out there who has the same drone and watched some tutorials online?

I did exactly that and barely had any success. 

But now I’m charging 5x as much as before and even have to refuse clients from time to time.

I even bought about 7 online courses… and I didn’t make much progress.

So how did I finally make it to this level?

If you want the short answer, I learned everything from this guy Alex, who’s making $200 per hour with his drone. And he’s even teaching exactly how to do that.

This is pretty much what you need to know:


1. Make sure you have a proper drone.

If you have any of the latest DJI Drones, like the Mavic Air 2, for example, you’re ready to start making money.

No need to overthink this, but if it’s any help, check this comparison of the best camera drones compared in 2020.

types of drones

2.Learn how to create the best content to stand out

You won’t stand out from the next dad who bought a DJI drone for Cristmass in the eyes of your clients if you don’t do this.

It’s WAY more important to know what you’re doing than the gear you have.

You’ll need to learn and master the following:

  • Flying your drone(to stand out from people with basic drone shots)
  • Preparing for the flight and weather in advance
  • Learn the best drone settings (you need a proper setup template)
  • Create the Video Script (it's way easier if you know what to shoot)
  • Have a set of great cinematic shots you know how to do
  • Know how to edit the video so it stands out
  • Learn how to color grade

This is why you HAVE to invest in a proper way to learn things (instead of watching tutorials here and there).

3.Find clients that pay 5x more than regular

But not so fast.

You won’t make a penny if you don’t know how to find your clients.

I have struggled finding clients even when my videos were getting pretty good.

Until I learned a few tricks and how to find and approach them so they won’t be able to say no.

And what’s best, I learned how to get the price I asked for.

How can you do the same?

I have tested quite a few courses online and watched tons of videos on youtube, but frankly, I have learned more from one single course than from everything else… and all that in like a weekend.

Made back the money from this investment in myself in a single week and then much more.


How do I learn all of this? From youtube?

You could simply go online and learn everything in terms of video from youtube, forums, facebook groups etc.

However, let me tell you, it’s the worst way to learn all of this(and the slowest).

You won’t have a Complete Step By step guide on how to do everything.

I found myself frustrated, even after I learned how to do most of the video stuff that I still lacked some knowledge and I didn’t know why my shots weren’t standing out.

I got some general promotion ideas from some articles online, but again… I didn’t have much success and was charging too little for my time.

This is exactly where I learned how to make $200 per hour with my drone (From A to Z)

This course is hold by Alex Harris, who’s an international video creator, director, and drone operator with tons of experience.

And I had a great time stealing his know-how(and greatly profited from it, lol).

I recommend you watch his video presentation bellow and check out the course sales page. It’s quite cheap, considering you’re getting 320+ minutes of everything you need to know, step by step and 80+ minutes on how to actually find the ideal clients for you.

I'm a big drone enthusiast, the owner of DronesGator.com and I also make weekly videos on my drone YouTube channel.

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