Can You Fly A Drone in Japan? (Answered)


In this blog post, we’ll explore the question, “Is drone flying allowed in Japan?”.

So, let’s jump in and discover everything you need to know — regulations, penalties (if any) and safety tips to keep in mind!

Can You Fly A Drone in Japan

Can You Fly a Drone in Japan?

Yes, you can fly a drone in Japan. However, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and guidelines to ensure a safe and legal flying experience. Here drone flights are regulated by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB), which has specific rules and restrictions in place to protect public safety and privacy. By adhering to these regulations and respecting the local authorities’ guidelines, drone enthusiasts can enjoy capturing stunning aerial footage while exploring Japan’s beautiful landscapes.

Overview of Drone Regulations

Let’s take a look at some of the key points for drone regulations:

Maximum Altitude Limits

  • Drones must not be flown higher than 150 meters above ground level, unless specific permission has been granted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
  • If flying a drone in or around airspace where air traffic control is in place or flight paths are defined, the altitude limit is reduced to under 60 meters and at least 9 kilometers away from the perimeter of an airport.

Distance Restrictions

  • Drones must not be operated within 30 meters of people, buildings, and vehicles, except for the operator or a participant involved in the drone operation.
  • Flight within 9 kilometers of an airport and 300 meters of a flight path is prohibited unless permission has been obtained from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

Prohibited Activities and Actions

  • Drones are not allowed to be flown over people, moving vehicles, and buildings in densely populated areas unless permitted by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
  • Drone operations are prohibited during night hours (from sunset to sunrise) without special permission from the relevant authorities.

Privacy and Data Protection Considerations

  • All drone operators must ensure they do not photograph or record in areas where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as private residences and non-public indoor spaces. Any collected data should be handled responsibly and not used for unauthorized purposes.
  • Operators must obtain explicit consent from individuals before capturing their image or any other personal data using drone technology. Non-compliance with this regulation could lead to penalties under the Act on the Protection of Personal Information.

Commercial Operations

  • All commercial drone operators must obtain permission from the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism prior to flying in densely populated areas or outside the hours of sunrise to sunset.
  • Commercial drones cannot be flown more than 150 meters above ground level, and they should not be flown closer than 30 meters from people, buildings, and vehicles without explicit permission.

Penalties for Violating Drone Regulations

If you’re found to be in violation of drone regulations in Japan, there can be serious consequences. This includes a fine of up to 500,000 yen (around $4,500 USD) if you fly your drone over densely inhabited areas, around airports, during nighttime, or beyond the visual line of sight without necessary permissions.

In more serious cases, such as using drones for dangerous purposes or causing harm to people or property, you could face criminal charges. These charges range from causing injury or death, where penalties can include prison terms, to violation of the Aviation Act that carries a hefty fine or even imprisonment. It’s crucial to be mindful and respect the rules in order to avoid these penalties.

Tips for Safe and Responsible Drone Flying in Japan

To ensure a positive drone flying experience and comply with the regulations, here are some essential tips to keep in mind:

  1. Fly Legally: Always adhere to Japan’s aviation laws, which restrict drone flight to daylight hours, below 150 meters, and outside of no-fly zones like airports or crowded areas.
  2. Maintain Line of Sight: Never fly your drone beyond your visual line of sight to avoid collisions with unseen obstacles or other aircraft.
  3. Respect Privacy: Don’t fly over private property or film people without their consent, respecting privacy is a crucial aspect of responsible drone use.
  4. Control Weather Check: Prior to liftoff, check weather conditions; adverse weather like high winds or rain can destabilize your drone and lead to accidents.
  5. Keep Updated: Regularly check for updates to drone regulations and technical aspects of your drone to ensure safe and legal operation.


Can I Fly My Drone at Night in Japan?

Yes, you can fly your drone at night in Japan. However, you must adhere to strict safety rules, such as maintaining visual line of sight and avoiding crowded areas, to ensure safe and legal operation.

Can You Bring a Drone to Japan?

Yes, you can bring a drone to Japan. However, you must adhere to Japan’s drone regulations for safe and legal operations, which include avoiding populated areas, night flights, and flying near airports. Always respect local rules and privacy.

Do I Need a License or Permit to Fly a Drone in Japan?

Yes, to fly a drone in Japan, you require a permit if flying in densely populated areas (over 4,000 people per square kilometer) or near airports. No license is needed for recreational drone flying under certain conditions, like maintaining specific altitude and distance.


Before you launch your drone into the Japan skies, it’s crucial to understand the area’s drone laws and regulations.

This applies not only to Japan but also to other destinations around the world. For example, if you’re heading to Zion National Park, it’s important to know the specific rules and guidelines for drone flying there. Similarly, if you have dreams of capturing breathtaking footage of Santa Monica Pier or exploring drone opportunities around Downtown Toronto, it’s essential to be aware of the local drone regulations in those locations as well.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

So, whether you’re planning a leisurely flight or engaging in commercial drone operations, make sure to fly responsibly, and stay informed.

Resources and Further Information:

Photo of author
Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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