japan-drone-laws
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. 

Table of Contents

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

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. 

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

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. 

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)

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.

Advantages

DISAdvantages

2.Dji Mavic Air 2 - My favorite drone overall

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.

Advantages

DISAdvantages

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:

romania flying map dji