Depending on which country you are coming from, you may need a visa.

Depending on your shoot you may need to consider permission, on the other hand, you may get away with no permission.

You might even be lucky to cut down on your cost if your production is subject to certain requirements.

Here are some tips on filming in Japan.




For filming and photographing in Japan, there is no need to apply for a general press accreditation or film permit.
However, you will need to obtain permission to use locations and facilities from separate relevant entities including public roads.
Filming fees may apply depending on the facility, organizations, persons you will be filming with.


If you are coming from one of the 68 visa-exempt countries, you do not need visa.
Otherwise, you will have to apply for a visa through your nearest Japanese consulate before you leave your country.
The type of visa you will need will depend on the period of your stay.
If you are going to receive compensation for your work in Japan, you may need to apply for an Entertainment Visa.
You may also need to organize a “certificate of eligibility” to speed up your visa application at the embassy.
You can find out more from the website of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs or contact the Japanese Embassy in your country.
You can also check on the website below whether your country is listed as exempt or not.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan – Exemption of Visa


Japan is a member of the ATA Carnet System, so the easiest way to bring your equipment is by applying for your Carnet documents before your leave your country.
This will simplify the custom procedures on your arrival for a tax-free temporary admission and you can avoid taxes and deposits.
You can check on the website below for more information.

Japan Customs – Export/Import Procedure Using ATA Carnet

If your country is not an ATA Carnet member, you will have to clear your equipment through customs by the customs regulation for temporary import and export. In this case, you may be subject to paying duty to the customs office.
You can check on the website below for more information.

Japan Customs – Temporary Admission Procedures


– For large-scale shoots, you will need to obtain permits from the relevant entities.
Eg. For closing off roads in Tokyo, permission is obtained from the Metro Police.

– In general, it is extremely difficult to obtain permission for public facilities and spaces.
Especially for highly congested areas such as Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara and Roppongi.

– If you are a small crew and unnoticeable to the general public, you can get away filming without permits in public areas.
The police will not stop you unless the general public perceives your activity as unpleasant or disturbing.

– If you plan to bring a celebrity or a famous person as part of your crew, you may need to apply for a permit due to the potential chaos that the presence of your celebrity may have on the general public when filming wth him/her in an open public area.

– Journalists do not need permits for filming in public areas.

In general, you can film without permits in public areas anywhere in Japan if you are a small crew so long as the public does not find the crew disturbing and report you to the police.



For large-scale shoots, it maybe advisable to sign up for a non-life insurance depending on your filming activity.
In some areas, the film commission can make this obligatory as a precondition to offer cooperation and support for your shoot.
This is a type of insurance that compensates for any damage to objects and buildings in the process of your shoot.
eg. by actors, stunts, staff and other participating persons.



There are no tax exemptions for your shoot for Japan however, depending on where your shoot is, there are some incentives that you can utilize to cut down on your cost.
Different film commissions have different support systems such as volunteer extras, discounts for accommodation, exemption of filming fees at certain public facilities and grants.

Herewith some examples:


Supports up to 60 small shoots through negotiation of use of public facilities and tourist areas.
Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau (TCVB) has a system of supporting crews of up to 3 persons in accommodation up to three nights if requirements met.


For large-scale film shoots that have cultural benefits for Japan, may be subject to subsidy and /or support of MEXT. However, this involves a lengthy process.


Up to two million yen (movies) and one million yen (dramas) subsidy through costs within the city related to the shoot in accommodation, building, events, transports, transportation of equipment, local personnels and use of facilities if requirements met.


Subsidies for location scouting including round-trip airfare and accommodation of crews up to three persons if requirements met. Amount subsidized depend on actual costs.


Accommodation cost for up to 2 persons for location scouting for overseas crews of 10,000 yen per person.
Meals for location scouting crews from overseas of up to 4 persons (5000 yen per head).


Travel and transportation fees within the prefecture maybe subject to reimbursement if requirements met.


Subsidies for location scouting in the form of domestic return fares (with limit per person), accommodation grant of up to 13,000 yen per person up to 2 nights and research of up to 50,000 yen.


Support for joint production. Subsidies for location scouting (accommodation, transportation, local personnel) of up to 15 million yen if the production has a local production partner.