Vaccinations for Japan
Planning a trip to Japan? From the cityscapes of Tokyo to the temples of Kyoto, there’s much to see and do in this one-of-a-kind East Asian country.
As with any holiday abroad, it’s important to prioritise your health and safety. Here we share what vaccinations you’ll need to travel to Japan as well as other health risks to be aware of before your trip.
Are you up to date on your British immunisations?
Many British immunisations are listed among recommended travel vaccinations. It’s therefore wise to stay up to date with all your vaccines to limit your risk of illness abroad.
This includes many vaccines from childhood such as tetanus shots which should be given 5 times before the age of 14 for long-lasting protection.
Your GP should have records of all your previous vaccinations including the most common routine immunisations.
Do you need any vaccinations to visit Japan?
You no longer need to take a COVID-19 test before entering Japan. However, if you are not triple vaccinated you will still need to take a PCR test within 72 hours prior to arrival and show a negative Covid-19 test result certificate. Entry requirements are subject to change, so you should always check the latest advice before you travel.Book COVID-19 PCR test
All travellers to Japan will also be advised to have a variety of different vaccinations. Make sure to use our vaccination checker to discover the vaccinations you’ll need for your trip.
The most common vaccinations for Japan include:
Hepatitis A is a virus that causes a liver infection. It’s not usually serious but can cause unpleasant symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, a fever, loss of appetite and stomach pain. Not many people in the UK are offered the hepatitis A vaccine unless they are at high risk or travelling to a destination where it is widespread.
Hepatitis B is a serious virus that is often the cause of liver disease and liver cancer. All babies born after 2017 and adults in high-risk groups are offered the hepatitis B jab on the NHS.
Tetanus is a serious condition that is caused by bacteria entering the body through a wound. It is very rare however most people will have been vaccinated as a teenager, with the 3-in-1 Td/IPV vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria and polio.
Yellow fever is a serious infection that is found in parts of Africa, Central America, South American and Trinidad. It is spread by mosquito bites. Yellow fever is not high risk in Japan, however if you are travelling to other high-risk countries after your visit, you may want to consider getting a vaccination.
Japanese encephalitis is a virus that affects the brain. It is spread through mosquitoes and typically presents little to no symptoms or mild short-lived symptoms, which are often mistaken for flu. It’s commonly found in rural areas of southeast Asia, the Pacific islands and the Far East.
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infection that is spread via the bite of an infected tick. It is very rare and can be found in parts of Asia and Europe, including the UK. Ticks typically live in woodland and grassy areas so you should have the TBE vaccination if you are going to a rural part of Japan.
How much do vaccines for Japan cost?
- Free NHS travel vaccines: A limited selection of travel vaccines are free on the NHS. These include hepatitis A, typhoid, tetanus (as part of the tetanus/diphtheria/polio jab) and cholera.
- Other vaccines: You will have to pay for other travel vaccines either at your GP surgery or at a private centre. The current cost for vaccinations for Japan are approximately: £50 for Hepatitis B, £90 for Japanese encephalitis, £65 per injection for TBE (minimum of 2 required) and £60 for yellow fever.
Where can I get vaccines for Japan?
The NHS provides a number of routine British vaccinations and travel vaccines. These includes:
- Hepatitis A
- Diphtheria, polio and tetanus (combined vaccine)
- Hepatitis B (at a cost)
Other vaccinations including yellow fever, tick-borne encephalitis and Japanese encephalitis are available at certain vaccination centres. Use our travel vaccination checker to find your local clinic.
How far in advance do you need to get vaccines for Japan?
Different vaccinations will need to be given at different times before you travel. It’s therefore important to plan at least 8 weeks ahead of your trip, ensuring you have enough time to book an appointment for each jab.
Some vaccinations such as tick-borne encephalitis and hepatitis B will also need more than one dose, several weeks apart.
What happens if I don’t have these vaccinations?
None of the recommended vaccinations are mandatory for entering Japan. However, that doesn't mean you can cross them off your list. Each of these infections present serious risk of illness and a vaccine is the best way to avoid this.
Common risks when going to Japan
Aside from tropical illnesses and infections, there are some risks to be aware of when visiting Japan. Like all countries, you should exercise normal safety precautions such as keeping up to date with the latest COVID-19 requirements and risks.
Food and water safety
The water in Japan is generally safe to drink, especially in cities such as Tokyo. Many train stations and public areas have water fountains to top up your water bottle.
In general, it’s always recommended to practice good food and water precautions to reduce your risk of illness. This is especially important if you are travelling to a rural area with lower levels of sanitation.
Temperatures and climate
Japan has a typhoon season from May to November. There is also a continuous risk of earthquakes and tsunamis. Keep a basic emergency supply kit close by and find out where your local shelter is.
The temperature can vary in Japan, from cold heavy snowfall in winter to higher climates in summer. Make sure to pack suncare products including sunscreen for both cloudy and sunny days. And don’t forget aftersun to relieve the symptoms of sunburn.
To help prevent the risk of tick-borne encephalitis and other insect-borne diseases, you should wear insect repellent during the day and night to avoid bites.
Contact with animals
Animals are generally safe in Japan however you should always take precautions. Snakes, giant centipedes and the denki mushi caterpillar can be found in rural areas and can present poisonous or unpleasant side effects if touched.
You should also be aware of giant hornets which are typically seen in the summer months. These venomous insects can be lethal so look out for warning signs and nests.
To summarise, there are a number of recommended vaccinations to travellers visiting Japan, including hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis and tetanus. Make sure to plan ahead and book in your vaccinations well in advance of your trip to avoid contracting a tropical illness.