Applying for a Yakkan Shoumei, by KCP student Steven Trapani

Before leaving for your study abroad adventure in Japan, keep in mind that there are policies when it comes to bringing in medication. Steven Trapani, a Fall 2014 KCP student, discusses in detail how to apply for a Yakkan Shoumei (import certificate) and provides excellent tips on how to make it a smooth process. Thanks for sharing, Steven!


Studying abroad really takes a lot of planning. After a lot of research on what happens when I arrive in Tokyo, I discovered that with prescription medications, you are only allowed to bring in one month’s supply.

I am unfortunately on some medications due to allergy issues. I will be in Japan for a total of 80 days so I would like to have the full supply of medication that I need.



Medicine. | Taki Steve


Applying for a Yakkan Shoumei


I found that I need to apply for a Yakkan Shoumei Certificate. This goes for anything that you will be bringing into Japan that requires more than a month’s supply. Even over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or eye drops.

1. Please read this entire site: KCP students meet at Narita airport so that is the link you click on. They have PDF/Word documents and sample forms as well. You can print them all out.

2. Go to your doctor and ask for prescriptions. I was able to get 3 months’ supply with my insurance. Before you get your prescription filled, make a copy of it.

yakkan23. Once you get your medication filled, you will see a sheet with details such as manufacturer, side effects, and appearance. Hold onto that sheet.

Note: When you apply for the Yakkan Shoumei, you will need to have your flight arranged already.

4. Scan your air flight itinerary into a PDF file. (I booked my flight early due to the Yakkan Shoumei.)

Shinjuku. | KCP Flickr

5. Prepare a letter explaining why you are requesting the certificate, what medications you will be bringing in, and where you are studying and for how long. Save this along with your flight details. Make sure the letter contains your email address. Also make sure to state in the letter that the medications are for your own personal use.

6. Next, scan in your first prescription. On the script, put your email address. Make sure the script has everything filled out on it: Name, address, birth date.

yakkan37. The next step is to fill out your first sheet IMPORT REPORT OF MEDICATION. For every script you have, you need to fill out one of these sheets. If you have 5 scripts, then you need 5 sheets. On the top right, put year-month-date. Make sure on the top (in parentheses) you write the word “medication.” Next, write your name in print, and include signature, address, phone number, and email.

Narita Airport. | i nao

Make sure you write “U.S.A” by the address. Next box down is name and size of import products. This means your medication and the milligrams. To the right of that box is the quantity (for me it’s 90#). Next box down circle “FOR PERSONAL USE.” (I also wrote for personal use next to it.) Next is Name of Manufacturer and Country of Origin for which my medication was IVAX PHARM USA . You can find the manufacturer on the paper that came with your medication or on the bottle. Underneath is the date that you will arrive. Next box to the right is Flight. (Mine is : “UNITED AIRLINE FLIGHT 79- 1:55 p.m.” Next box to the right is arrival place, TOKYO NARITA AIRPORT. Once you’re done filling out this paper, scan it into your PDF file.

8. The next sheet says EXPLANATION OF PRODUCTS and the first box is name of product (mine is Famotidine.) Next box is name of manufacturer (mine is IVAX PHARM USA.) Next box down is chemical name. I called my pharmacy who told me that the chemical name for Famotidine is “Famotidine.” I wrote that in. (It’s not always the case that the product name and chemical name are the same.) Next is ingredients and quantity. For me it was 40mg and 90#. Next box is Efficacy, For mine, I wrote: Treat and prevent ulcers, treat and prevent heart burn. Next box is specifications. I wrote, “Take one tablet at bedtime. Pill is in bottle with label.” When you’re done filling out that sheet of paper, scan it into a PDF file.

9. Next, scan your pharmacy medication info sheet. My sheet says CVS CAREMARK MEDICATION INFO FOR STEVEN TRAPANI. If your medication happens to be generic, please also write that in so they know it is generic. Or if it states that it is generic, on your info sheet highlight it.

intro1To recap, what you need:

A. Flight Itinerary
B. Letter explaining what you are asking for and why. Include all the necessary information: Email, name, where you are studying, medications you are bringing in, date of arrival and departure.
C. Prescription.
D. Sheet that says: Import Report of Medication.
E. Sheet that says: Explanation of Products.
F. Medication information sheet.

Tokyo. | KCP Flickr


  • Keep in mind: with every prescription you have you need to fill out the two forms. So you may need to make copies of them before you start filling them out.
  • I take several medications, so I had a large PDF file. What I did was scan everything and separated them into several emails. When emailing Japan, there is a limit on file size, so it is in your best interest to break it down. I had 3 separate emails. I asked for a read receipt. I also flagged my email as high priority. My email subject was Yakkan Shoumei number 1 of 3, next email subject was Yakkan Shoumei number 2 of 3 … you get the picture.
  • Here is the good news. They DO accept everything through email, despite what it states on the web site. Once they received my emails and checked everything out, I received my certificates in about a week.
  • You will receive your copy of the certificate, stamped of every prescription that you applied for. So if you applied for 5 , you will receive 5 that are stamped.
  • Whatever you scanned in, hold onto it and staple it together because you will need to bring it to the airport along with your certificates. Keep everything together.
  • Yakkan Shoumei email address: 外国人 薬監相談(yakkan-shomei)
  • Add their email address (see above) to your email contacts so the certificates they send you do not end up in your spam or junk folder.
  • Very important: once you get your certificate, you will need to use the pill bottles that you referred to for your trip to Japan. The reason for this is because whatever you wrote down on the papers is what you need to bring in. Sometimes manufacturers change. You want to bring in exactly what you applied for.
  • If you need to bring more than the restricted quantity of medication into Japan for personal use, and you plan to arrive at one of the following airports, please contact the following Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare during business hours.

( Monday to Friday, 09 : 30 to 17: 45 ) :
Tokyo (Narita) International Airport (Kantou-Shinetsu office)
Phone : +81-48-740-0800

This is the info for Narita airport. I did call them with some questions, and they were very helpful.

  • Apply for your certificate early. I am glad I have mine already; it’s one less thing to do. Put all your paperwork together for all your medications. A folder or gallon size zip-lock bag would be good. Best to keep it with your medication in your carry-on or backpack. It all stays with you on your flight.

Remember, there are certain medications that they DO NOT allow in Japan.

Good luck! I hope I will meet many of you if you are attending KCP Fall of 2014 on our study abroad experience!


Related links:

Bringing Medication for Personal Use Into Japan

Information on importing medicine from overseas at