Are Drones Allowed In Japan

Are Drones Allowed In Japan?

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have revolutionized the way we capture images and videos from the sky.

They are used in various fields, from photography and filmmaking to agriculture and disaster management. However, as drone usage increases, so does the importance of understanding the regulations that govern their use in different countries.

This article focuses on drone regulations in Japan, a country known for its technological advancements and strict laws.

Drone Regulations in Japan

Japan has specific laws governing the use of under £300 drones. The Civil Aeronautics Law, revised in 2015, outlines the rules and restrictions for drone usage.

Drones weighing more than 200 grams cannot be flown in densely populated areas or near airports without permission from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT).

Flying drones at night or beyond the operator’s visual line of sight also requires special permission. Violation of these laws can result in hefty fines or even imprisonment.

Places Where Drones are Allowed in Japan


While restrictions exist, there are still many places in Japan where drone usage is permitted. These include rural areas, private properties with permission, and designated drone parks.

Some popular tourist spots also allow drone usages, such as the Tottori Sand Dunes and parts of the Okinawa Prefecture. However, drone operators must still adhere to the general rules, such as maintaining a certain distance from people and buildings and not flying higher than 150 meters.

Places Where Drones are Prohibited in Japan

Drones are prohibited in densely populated areas, near airports, and in areas around important government buildings for safety and privacy reasons.

Specific tourist spots also prohibit drones, including many UNESCO World Heritage Sites like Mount Fuji and the historic monuments of Ancient Kyoto. These prohibitions are in place to protect these sites and ensure a peaceful experience for visitors.

How to Legally Fly a Drone in Japan

To legally fly a drone in Japan, operators must follow the Civil Aeronautics Law and any additional local regulations. For flights in restricted areas, operators must apply for a permit from the MLIT, which requires submitting a detailed flight plan.

Operators should also have insurance to cover any potential damages caused by their drone. Following these steps and practicing safe operation, such as avoiding crowded areas and maintaining visual contact with the drone, can ensure a legal and enjoyable drone flying experience.

Impact of Drone Regulations on Tourism and Photography in Japan

The drone regulations in Japan have a significant impact on tourism and photography. While the restrictions may limit where tourists can fly drones, they also protect the country’s cultural heritage and ensure the safety of all visitors. On the other hand, drones have opened up new possibilities for capturing Japan’s scenic beauty.

Photographers can take stunning aerial shots of cherry blossoms in Hirosaki Park, the autumn colors of Hokkaido, or the snow-covered landscapes of Nagano, all while adhering to the drone laws.


Understanding and following the drone laws in Japan is crucial for anyone planning to operate a drone in the country. While there are restrictions, there are also plenty of opportunities to use drones legally and capture the unique beauty of Japan.

By being responsible drone operators, we can enjoy the benefits of this technology without disrupting the peace and safety of the places we visit.

Last Updated on June 25, 2023

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