Flying in Japan

Drones are gaining popularity and becoming easier and easier for amateurs to learn to fly. Seranova wants to help introduce drones to everyone in Japan.

However, the most important thing about flying drones in Japan is to educate yourself and learn the safety regulations, laws, and basic DOs and DONTs.

Resources

Always make sure you have up to date flight information and plan your flight thoroughly before getting your drone in the air. In Japan, you have various resources to make sure you are flying in the right areas.

The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Tourism maintains up to date information about the safety regulations for Unmanned Aircraft (UA) and drones in Japan. View

DJI, the largest drone manufacturer in the world provides up to date flight maps for any country including Japan where you can check restricted areas. View

A site maintained in English by a legal expert on Drone regulations in Japan. View

Mobile apps like Drone Maps Japan (iOS) and Sorapass (Android/iOS) provide useful drone maps with info on flight zones.

When in doubt, always get in touch with an official authority and utilize online groups and resources including the SeraNova community!

Flying in Japan - FAQs

No you don’t. There is no such thing as a government recognized “drone license” in Japan. However, you will probably find some websites talking about licenses in Japan. These are training courses but bear no weight with the government and are not a requirement.

Flying in most of Tokyo is restricted unless you get permission or are flying in a designated area. Flying in all 81 public parks in Tokyo is not allowed. You cannot fly your drone out in the streets, within 100 feet of any people, buildings or cars, you cannot fly near an airport, and you cannot fly above 150 feet anywhere in Japan. There is a hefty $5,000 fine if you are caught flying in a restricted zone. Here is a link to the specific rules.

Yes they are strict. After someone decided to fly a drone filled with radioactive waste over the Japanese Prime Minister’s house, understandably restrictions got a bit tighter.

However, once you get outside of central Tokyo into wide open spaces, things are a lot more relaxed. There are regulations but it’s not too regulated.

These are our tips:

If you are flying your drone for a wedding, event, or on site at a venue, then you simply need to ask permission from the venue owner beforehand.
To find locations outside of central Tokyo to fly, check out this interactive map. Red is no-fly, everything else is fair game.
To practice flying and racing there are centers set up around Tokyo. You can check them out here.

There are two maps that you can use. The best one you will find is the DJI map, link here. This is your easiest option and most recommended.

Also there is another map (currently available only in Japanese) for which you will need to visit the Sorapass website and register.

Yes you can but you will need permission from the government. The process for this is online and you will need to fill out a form. Usually it takes 10 days for reviewal but more recently there has been an influx of requests so could take up to 3-4 weeks. I suggest contacting  DroneAgent.jp and they can help you fill out the government form (they speak English).

Also, you can download the form here DronePermissionFormTemplate. I have filled out the most important parts of the form that will make it easy to get permission. The template has a phantom 4 but if you’re flying a different drone then swap it out. The fields you have to input yourself are in capital letters.