Japan Embraces Superyacht Cruising

SYL JAPAN announces the Japanese Government’s overhaul of Superyacht regulations for foreign Superyachts visiting Japan.

SYL JAPAN has worked hard since 2015 with various government departments and the Parliamentary Association for Luxury Travel, to educate them about the superyacht industry, the economic benefits of superyachts visiting Japan and how the previous rules in Japan (which were basically aligned with commercial ship rules) were detrimental to the superyacht industry in Japan.

Broadly the rules have been entirely overhauled for foreign registered superyachts in the following areas:

After completing initial clearances into Japan, Superyachts will be immediately invited to apply for and receive a “Naikosen” a kind of cruising permit that will allow them to essentially operate as a domestic Japanese vessel with no clearances of notifications needed to cruise from place to place within Japan (previously superyachts had to complete full customs, immigration, and other clearance declarations for every movement while in Japanese waters.)

There is no time limit for a Superyacht stay and cruise in Japan.

Superyacht crew will be issued with a Multiple Landing Permit (usually known as a “Crew Pass”) as needed and for as long as the yacht is in Japan and will only expire when the crewmember leaves Japan either by flight or on the superyacht (previously under commercial ship rules The Crew Pass was 14 days).

Superyacht crews of a nationality that are eligible can still receive a 90 day “tourist visa waiver” for Japan which gives them additional options to travel in Japan while not on the superyacht.

The new rules are only for Superyachts (private or commercially registered) and will not apply to passenger ships, cargo ships of any other class of vessel. Superyachts will have to engage the services of a recognized superyacht agent that has the experience and government permissions necessary to apply for the Superyachts entry to Japan.

Japan’s government has put in place simple access to UHNW people with not only changes to the rules regarding superyacht travel, but also with private jets and other domestic luxury travel to encourage acceleration of a post pandemic recovery. There are currently government restrictions on tourism due to the pandemic, however once these are lifted the new rules will accelerate the ease for UHNW visitors to Japan. SYL JAPAN already reports a number of superyachts planning to head to Japan in 2022.

Kenta Inaba, president and owner of SYL Japan said “this is a great leap forward that will allow yachts to freely cruise Japan without the previous bureaucracy and expense. The new rules essentially make superyachts a separate class of visiting vessels with their own rules, separate from cruise ships, cargo ships and small private cruising yachts. The rule change in effect on 16th December 2021, and it is going to benefit the domestic tourism, hospitality and yachting industry here in Japan as well as the international superyacht industry.”

“This is fantastic news and I want to congratulate Kenta and the team on the huge work that they have put into this over a number of years.” Said Nigel Beatty chairman of APSA (the Asia Pacific Superyacht Association) and founder of SYL, “Japan is one of the most fabulous cruising destinations in the world with almost 7,000 islands, a coastline 50% longer than the United States, year-round cruising and multiple dockage and services for any size superyacht. These new rules mean that cruising Japan is now simpler than the USA or Europe. These are smart rules which will lower the headaches for Captains and management companies and certainly lower the costs of cruising Japan while bringing direct and indirect economic benefits to the country”.

“Japan is ready to welcome superyachts visiting Japan”, says Shingo Miyake, the Head of the secretariat of the Parliamentary Association for Luxury Travel, “Beautiful nature with four seasons, rich ancient and historical sites, a strong culture of hospitality, art, whisky, cuisine, advanced medical standards are here, plus simple access to Japan from anywhere in the world” 

For more detail contact Kenta Inaba or Nigel Beatty at

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