Moving to Japan with Your Pet: Language Commands, Pet-Friendly Amenities, and Cultural Norms

As a pet owner, moving to a new country with your furry companion can be an exciting but daunting experience. One country known for its love of pets is Japan, where cats can ride the subway and dogs have their cafes. However, communication with locals and finding pet-friendly accommodations may present challenges. This guide will provide essential information on foreign language commands, pet-friendly amenities, and cultural norms for pet owners in Japan.

One of the biggest hurdles for pet owners in Japan is the language barrier. Fortunately, dogs and cats communicate through a universal language, so sharing with other pets should be no issue. However, it is essential to learn basic Japanese commands to communicate with local pet owners or in emergencies. Here are some commonly used commands in Japan:

Japanese Language Commands for Dogs and Cats

Communication is essential when traveling with a pet. While the language barrier may seem intimidating, learning some basic Japanese commands can help pet owners communicate with locals or in emergencies. Here are some commonly used commands in Japan:

  • Sit: おすわり (osuwari) (oh-soo-WAH-ree)
  • Stay: まて!(mate) (MAH-tay)
  • Lie down: ふせ (fuse) (foo-say)
  • Come: こい (koi)
  • Come (kinder version): おいで (oide) (oh-EE-day)
  • No: だめ (dame) (DAH-may)
  • Drop it: はなせ (hanase) (hah-nah-say)
  • Good dog!: いいこ (iiko) (eee-ko)
  • Hand: おて (ote) (oh-tay), used like a "touch" command

Cultural Norms for Pet Owners

Meeting other pet owners and observing their interactions with their pets can also be a great way to learn new commands and practice your Japanese skills. Although the language barrier may seem intimidating, many Japanese people speak some English, and there are plenty of resources for learning Japanese, including classes and apps.

In addition to language, cultural norms for pet owners may differ from what you are used to. In Japan, it is crucial to have well-behaved pets, as good manners are highly valued. Training your pet before moving to Japan is recommended, and it is also advisable to carry "pee pads" and poop bags when out in public with your dog. Additionally, leash laws are strictly enforced, and dogs are designated areas to play in.

  1. Well-behaved pets: In Japan, good manners are highly valued, which also extends to pets. It is essential to have a well-trained and well-behaved pet, especially when out in public.
  2. Leash laws: Leash laws are strictly enforced in Japan, and dogs can only play in designated areas. It is important to follow their rules to avoid fines and potential conflict with other pet owners.
  3. Cleanliness: In Japan, cleanliness is essential, extending to pet waste. It is crucial to carry poop bags when out in public with your dog and to clean up after them promptly.
  4. Noise level: Japanese people value peace, and excessive barking or meowing can be seen as a disturbance. It is important to control your pet's noise level, especially in residential areas.

Pet-Friendly Activities and Amenities in Japan

Finding pet-friendly accommodations in Japan can be challenging, but demand for pet-friendly living communities is rising. Some apartment buildings have associated amenities, such as dog play areas, to cater to pet owners. However, it is essential to note that living spaces in Japan are typically smaller than you may be used to, and indoor space may be limited. Despite this, many larger dog breeds are popular in Japan, so your furry friend will fit right in.

Aside from pet-friendly living spaces, Japan has many pet-centric activities and amenities. Dog and cat cafes are famous, and there are even stores where pets can pick out their outfits, including pajamas and pantaloons. In addition, doggie bento, a type of Japanese boxed lunch for pets, is a delicacy that your furry friend will surely enjoy.

Here are some examples of pet-friendly amenities in Japan:

  1. Cat Cafe Temari no Ouchi: This popular cat cafe in Tokyo offers a cozy atmosphere for visitors to interact with their resident cats. Visitors can enjoy drinks and snacks while playing with the cats. The cafe also has a store where visitors can purchase cat-themed souvenirs.
  2. Doggie Bento at Kichijoji Awa: This pet-friendly restaurant in Tokyo specializes in doggie bento, a type of boxed dog lunch. The bento boxes are made with high-quality ingredients and are available in several flavors.
  3. Doggyman HAKOBAKO: This pet store in Tokyo offers a variety of pet outfits, including pajamas and pantaloons. The store also sells pet accessories, such as collars and leashes.

Moving to Japan with a pet can be a rewarding experience with some preparation and research. Learning basic Japanese commands, finding pet-friendly accommodations, and adhering to cultural norms for pet owners are key to ensuring a smooth transition for you and your furry companion. With these tips, pet owners can enjoy all the pet-friendly activities and amenities Japan offers.


PetRelocation Team


How-To Guides



Back to top