Owning Pets in Kansai

ByJustin Hanus
Sep 28, 2023

Owning Pets in Kansai

Are you moving to Kansai with a furry (or scaly) friend or looking to get one after settling in? Luckily, Japan is very pet-friendly, so you shouldn’t have too many problems if you follow the necessary guidelines. Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know.

Popular pets in Kansai

Japan’s pet market is booming, with its pet industry valued at around 1.4 trillion yen in 2017. Pet culture exists all across the country, including in the Kansai region. Cats are the most popular pet, having recently overtaken dogs as the nation’s favorite. Other common pets include:

  • Fish
  • Turtles
  • Small birds
  • Rabbits
  • Insects

However, particular creatures are not allowed to be imported into Japan. You can find an up-to-date list according to the most recent Invasive Alien Species Act. Banned or regulated species include:

  • Macaque monkeys
  • Raccoons
  • Snakes
  • Toads
  • Crayfish

Where to get a pet in Kansai

Adopting through an animal shelter is The best way to get a pet in Kansai. This means you’ll be offering a home to an animal in need and can be sure that you are procuring through an ethical service. Shelters and rescue centers are much cheaper than buying through pet stores or breeders. Some even offer pets free to a good home. They will typically ensure that the pet is health checked, vaccinated, and often microchipped in the case of dogs. They also want to ensure you are suitable as an owner and may wish to conduct a home visit.

The best place to adopt a pet in Kansai is Animal Refuge Kansai, which offers dogs, cats, and other animals for adoption. There is also a fostering service.

You can also buy pets in Kansai from pet stores or breeders. If you buy a dog or cat, remember that it should be at least 56 days old and come with paperwork that includes the date of birth.

If you want to travel to Kansai and bring a pet, you must comply with animal import regulations. The Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) deals with this. Pets will need to pass health checks, dogs and cats will need microchips, and pets may need to be quarantined upon arrival in Japan.

Looking after a pet in Kansai

No matter what type of pet you may have, it will require a fair amount of maintenance throughout the year. There are a few things you will need to consider. For a start, if you have a dog, it must be registered with your municipal authority if it is 90 days old or more. This is a Japanese law, and you face a fine if you don’t comply.

Other considerations include:

Insurance – worth thinking about to cover medical costs or the potential cost of your pet injuring someone or damaging their property. Many Japanese insurance firms offer pet insurance.
Healthcare – it’s worth seeking a good veterinarian in your area to take care of necessary vaccinations or deal with any unforeseen medical problems.
Pet food and equipment – you can either buy from a local store or order online
Other services can include grooming or pet boarding if you go away on holiday.

You can search for local vets on VeterinBy and other pet-related services on PetBacker.

Pets in Kansai’s public spaces

Dogs should always be on a leash when out in public. Only small pets can travel on the public transport system, and they need to be kept in a cage with a 10 kg weight maximum. If you take a pet onto a train in Kansai or elsewhere in Japan, you must buy a separate ticket. Read more information here (in Japanese).

Pet stores in Kansai

For pet products, including food, toys, and bedding, you can visit the following:

Pet Paradise, 3-28 Rinkuoraiminami, Izumisano, Osaka 598-0047 (phone: 072-447-8838)
Pet Plus, AEON Mall, Nishikujo Toriiguchicho, Minami Ward, Kyoto 601-8417 (phone 075-693-8682)

Alternatively, you can try the following online providers:

Aeon Pet
Coo & Riku

Other things to consider:

  • Always check the terms of the lease of your home BEFORE you get a pet. Some, if not many, landlords allow pets, but MOST do not.  Having an unauthorized pet may void your lease and cost you a LOT of money.
  • One thing you may want to consider, though, is that bringing a pet with you to Japan will significantly impact the selection of apartments and housing available to you.  Less than 10% of available properties will allow you to keep even a small dog. Big dogs and cats are a real challenge to accommodate in Japan and will seriously limit your options, as in maybe 2% of all properties will allow them.
  • Is your pet a good fit for your home? While a labrador may have had plenty of garden space in your home country, could you say the same for where you live now?
  • What will you do when you return to your home country? Can you take your pet home? Check out the quarantine laws.
  • Does your insurance cover an animal? If not, you may need to enquire after separate insurance.

Image: by cattan2011 via flickr.com [CC by 2.0] – Modified

About the author

Justin Hanus editor

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