Created for expats living in Japan

Pet Manners & Etiquette in Japan - Dog Walking, etc.

For many dog owners, pets are like their own children. If that description fits you, then taking your dog with you almost everywhere you go. Recently, many dog owners with their dogs at places such as restaurants and cafes can be seen out and about. This is a great trend, but only if everyone is a responsible dog owner that follows rules allowing those around them to feel at ease and comfortable.

It is very important to familiarize yourself with the proper etiquette that comes with owning a pet in Japan. To make owning a pet in Japan less stressful here is some simple pet etiquette that you should know about when you are walking the dog or you wish to take your pet into a cafe.

If you are planning to bring a pet from abroad, please read "Bringing Pets to Japan", or if you are planning to have a dog, "Animal Shelters and Nonprofit Organizations around Tokyo" may help you.

Dog Walking - Clean Up After Your Dog

Tokyo ward offices advise pet owners to have their pet to go to the bathroom before taking your dog for a walk outside. This rule might be surprising to many pet owners coming from abroad. Honestly speaking, it is totally fine for your pet to poo outside as long as you pick up after your pet and water down the pee with a water bottle. No one likes to step in a pile of dog poo, so please make sure to grab a plastic bag on your way out the door.

Keep Dog Leashed

You never know what will peak your dogs interest or how those around you will react to your dog. Even if your dog is voice-trained and you trust your dog, it is important (and required) to keep your dog on a leash when you are walking your dog outside. The leash shows others that you are in control and that if something does happen, you have a way to make sure your dog doesn't go anywhere unintended. Having a leash on your dog can make others feel safe.

Make sure your dog is welcome

These days there are many restaurants that are allowing customers to eat with their dogs. While there are more than there used to be, there are are still places that do not allow pets. When going to a restaurant or cafe it may be best to go once without your pet and scout the place out to see if they do allow pets. If you are comfortable speaking Japanese you can call ahead and ask.

Riding the train with your pet

You are able to ride the train with your pet (small pets only). In order to ride the train with your pet you will need to put your pet (cat or dog) in a cage. The size of the cage allowed also has restrictions as well.

The length for the cage needs to be an added total of under 90cm (width + length + height). The weight of the pet needs to be under 10 kg. Please purchase a 280 yen ticket for this. (For JR)

Taking a taxi with your pet

If you would prefer not to ride the train with your pet, a taxi is another viable option. You and your pet can ride the taxi together, but only as long as your pet is in a cage. There will be no extra charge.

If you would like to move-in with your pet, this article "Renting a Pet-friendly apartment in Japan" will be helpful.