In august I will go to Japan to visit relatives and to make a trekking. In europe I usualy bring trekking meals with me, the kind of meals that you can easily prepare on a stove by just adding water.

Those meals are sealed in plastic and usually look like this: enter image description here

I've never had any problems in Europe, but when I look up the regulations on traveling to Japan, I read various restriction, ranging from not being allowed to bring in any meat products, up onto dissolowence of milk, vegetable or egg products.

I could live without meat (there are vegetarian meals available), but the other ingredients would be a problem.

Does anyone have experience with bringing food into japan?

  • 1
    @Paul This is a relevant question for TGO as it is specifically food that would be use for planning a backpacking trip.
    – ppl
    Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 14:56
  • (See also The Great Outdoors)
    – gerrit
    Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 17:36
  • Is there a reason not to buy the food in Japan? Commented Jun 16, 2014 at 19:23
  • Oh well, an exact dupe has an exact answer. Can't flag either. God damn it. :/ Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 10:52
  • @jpatokal have flagged it and asked mods to remove bounty so we can mark it as such.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jun 20, 2014 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


TL;DR: Meat, no. Non-meat, Yes.

In practice, it's close to impossible to legally import meat in any form into Japan, because you need to get an inspection certificate for it:

No meat products can be brought into Japan without the inspection certificate.

This requirements applies to any import irrespective of the use or quantity: it should be noted that import of such products for souvenir, personal consumption or commercial sample, no matter how small the quantity is, needs to obtain an inspection certificate issued by the government authority.

There certificates are sometimes available at duty-free shops for beef jerky etc, but obviously your trekking meals won't have this. What's more, personal imports of beef and beef products from countries that have or have ever had BSE (mad cow disease), which includes basically all of Europe, is completely banned:

Regarding beef or beef offal exported from Canada, U.S.A., France, The Netherlands or Ireland to Japan, only these commodities treated in accordance with the animal health requirements ... including specific export programs and designation of facilities, are acceptable.

Furthermore, it is to be noted that beef products (e.g. ham, sausage, beef jerky) have not been allowed to be imported.

So that's the legal theory. In practice, Customs is much more interested in drugs, large amounts of alcohol etc. If they do spot that you've got meat, it will be confiscated and destroyed, but I've never heard of anybody being fined or worse.

Non-meat foods, on the other hand, despite what the regulations may say, are totally OK in practice. Eggs and milk that are obviously processed are not a problem at all, I (and every single Japanese tourist ever) bring in baked goods every time I visit (curse you, omiyage!) and I have never had a problem. Fresh food (fruits etc) has some restrictions, but they're not relevant to you.

All that said, bringing food all the way from Europe seems a bit pointless, trekking is extremely popular in Japan and any camping goods store will have a huge selection of portable "just-add-water" foods. Here are the selections at two random online shops: Sports Authority, Kojitsu Sanso.


Bringing that product shouldn't be a problem at all. I brought oats and other packaged food- no problem at all. There are very few restrictions- only plants are restricted materials and then they are only concerned with non-commercial products.

http://www.houston.us.emb-japan.go.jp/en/info/page1.htm#3 http://www.pps.go.jp/english/trip/index.html

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