Akasaka Azabu

How to adopt a dog in Japan
  • Date Published: April 29, 2024

Are you thinking about adopting a dog in Japan? The rising number of pets in need of a home has made adoption a favored option among many individuals. But, there are crucial aspects to think about prior to introducing a canine companion to your household. In this guide, we aim to guide you step-by-step through the process of adopting a dog in Japan, from comprehending the adoption system to discovering the ideal pal for you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Research and understand the dog adoption process in Japan
  • Consider living space and size restrictions for pets in Japan
  • Be aware of the adoption fees and financial obligations
  • Explore online pet adoption services and platforms in Japan
  • Learn about rescue shelters and their adoption processes

Living Space and Size Restrictions

When considering adopting a dog in Japan, it’s crucial to take into account the living space available and the size restrictions imposed by many apartments in Tokyo. It’s important to be aware that not all apartment contracts in Japan allow for pet ownership, so it’s advisable to thoroughly check your contract before investing too much time in the adoption process.

Many apartments in Tokyo specifically state that pets are not allowed, while others may have restrictions on the size of the pets allowed. In most cases, apartments only permit “small pets” typically under 30 cm in height. This means that larger breeds or dogs that exceed the height restriction may not be allowed in many residential buildings. Before deciding to adopt a dog, it’s essential to consider these restrictions to ensure a suitable living environment for both you and your furry friend.

“It’s important to have a clear understanding of the size restrictions in your apartment contract. Having a dog that exceeds the allowed height can lead to potential issues and complications regarding housing,” advises Hiroshi Nakamura, a Tokyo-based real estate expert.

To find pet-friendly apartments in Japan, it’s recommended to work with reputable real estate agencies specializing in assisting pet owners. These agencies can help navigate the property market and identify apartments that are pet-friendly or have specific provisions for accommodating pets.

Benefits of Pet-Friendly Apartments

Living in a pet-friendly apartment offers numerous advantages for pet owners. These apartments often provide various amenities and facilities designed specifically for pets, such as pet relief areas or dog parks within the community. Additionally, they may offer pet-related services, including pet spas, grooming salons, and even pet-sitting or dog-walking services for busy pet owners.

Furthermore, pet-friendly apartments usually foster a sense of community among pet owners, providing opportunities for socialization and networking. Sharing common spaces such as pet lounges or organized events and activities allows pets and their owners to connect with like-minded individuals and build lasting relationships.

By considering living space and size restrictions, you can ensure a comfortable and suitable home for your furry companion, creating a nurturing environment where they can thrive and be happy.

Adoption Process and Fees

When it comes to adopting a dog in Japan, there is an important process to follow and various fees to consider. Understanding the adoption process and financial obligations will help ensure a smooth and successful adoption experience.

Adoption Process

Many shelters in Japan have a trial period requirement before finalizing the adoption of a dog. During this period, you will spend a few weeks with the dog to assess compatibility and ensure a good fit for both the dog and your family. This allows for a smoother transition and helps prevent any potential issues that may arise later on.

Fees for Adoption

When adopting a dog in Japan, it’s important to be aware of the various fees involved. These fees can vary depending on the shelter and the specific dog you choose. Here are some of the common fees:

  • Vet Bills: After adopting a dog, there may be initial vet bills for vaccinations, check-ups, and any necessary treatments. These costs are essential for ensuring the health of the dog and can range from a few thousand yen to several tens of thousands of yen.
  • Pick-up and Transportation Fees: If the shelter is located far from your area, there may be additional fees for pick-up or transportation of the adopted dog. These fees cover the logistics of safely bringing the dog to your home and can vary depending on the distance and mode of transportation.

It’s important to inquire with the specific shelter or rescue organization about the exact fees involved during the adoption process. Being prepared for these financial obligations will help you plan your budget accordingly.

Fee Average Cost (Range)
Vet Bills ¥10,000 – ¥50,000
Pick-up and Transportation Fees ¥5,000 – ¥20,000

Table: Average Adoption Fees for Dogs in Japan

Keep in mind that these fees are necessary to support the shelter’s operations and ensure the well-being of the dogs in their care. By paying these fees, you are not only providing a loving home for a dog but also contributing to the welfare of other animals in need.

Adopting a dog in Japan is a wonderful way to add a new member to your family and give a deserving animal a second chance. By understanding the adoption process and being prepared for the associated fees, you can embark on this rewarding journey with confidence and provide a loving home to a dog in need.

Online Pet Adoption Services

When it comes to adopting a pet in Japan, online platforms have made the process easier and more convenient than ever. One popular option is Pet Home, an online pet adoption service that offers a user-friendly website and app.

Pet Home provides a wide range of animals available for adoption, making it easy for potential pet owners to find their perfect companion. Whether you’re looking for a dog, cat, or even a smaller pet like a rabbit or hamster, Pet Home has you covered.

What sets Pet Home apart is its partnerships with shelters and individuals across Japan. This extensive network increases your chances of finding a pet in your area and ensures that you are adopting from a reputable source.

Adoption fees through Pet Home can vary depending on the animal. However, they typically include important services like vaccination and sterilization, providing a cost-effective way to give a loving home to a pet in need.

Other adoption platforms

In addition to Pet Home, there are other online pet adoption platforms in Japan that connect potential adopters with pets in need of homes. Here are a few notable ones:

  1. JMTY: This platform focuses on connecting individuals who are looking to rehome their pets with caring adopters.
  2. Anifare: Anifare specializes in finding homes for abandoned and stray animals. They work with various shelters and rescue organizations to match pets with loving families.

By utilizing these online pet adoption services, you can simplify the search for a new furry friend and make a positive impact on an animal’s life.

Why Choose Online Pet Adoption Services?

“Online pet adoption services provide a convenient and efficient way to find and adopt a pet in Japan. With just a few clicks, you can browse through numerous profiles and easily connect with potential furry companions. These platforms also prioritize the well-being of the animals, ensuring that they receive necessary vaccinations and sterilization before being matched with a loving home. Adopting a pet online allows you to make a difference in an animal’s life without the hassle of physically visiting multiple shelters.” – Pet Adoption Expert

Rescue Shelters

When looking to adopt a furry companion in Japan, there are several rescue shelters that offer loving and safe environments for dogs and cats in need. These shelters go above and beyond to facilitate the adoption process and ensure that each animal finds a forever home.

ARK Animal Shelter

The ARK animal shelter is a renowned organization dedicated to rescuing and rehoming dogs and cats. They have a comprehensive adoption process that involves an interview to assess the suitability of the potential adopter and a trial period to ensure compatibility with the animal.

The adoption fees at ARK range from ¥20,000 to ¥60,000, depending on the specific animal and any additional medical care they may require.

Japan Cat Network

The Japan Cat Network focuses on rescuing and finding homes for cats in need. They have a thorough adoption process that typically includes an interview and a trial period to ensure a successful match between the cat and the adopter.

The adoption fees at Japan Cat Network vary depending on the cat’s age and medical history. It is recommended to contact them directly for detailed information.

SPA Animal Shelter

The SPA animal shelter is a non-profit organization committed to rescuing and rehoming both cats and dogs. They have an easy-to-use app and website where potential adopters can browse available animals and participate in the adoption process.

For information on adoption process and fees at SPA, it is advisable to visit their website or contact them directly.

Heart Tokushima Animal Shelter

Heart Tokushima is a shelter located on Shikoku Island that takes in animals from all over Japan. They provide transportation services to enable animals to find homes in different parts of the country.

For those interested in adopting from Heart Tokushima, it is recommended to contact them directly to inquire about their adoption process and fees.

Adopting a pet from one of these rescue shelters not only gives an animal a second chance at life but also brings immense joy and fulfillment to the adopter. Consider visiting these shelters to find your perfect furry companion and make a positive impact on their lives.

Rescue Shelter Adoption Process Adoption Fees
ARK Animal Shelter Interview, trial period ¥20,000 – ¥60,000
Japan Cat Network Interview, trial period Varies
SPA Animal Shelter Online process Varies
Heart Tokushima Animal Shelter Contact for details Contact for details

Running Costs and Considerations

When considering owning a dog in Japan, it’s important to understand the various running costs involved. While the day-to-day expenses are relatively low, there are significant financial considerations to keep in mind.

The average cost of feeding and providing necessary materials for a dog in Tokyo is around ¥1,000 per week. This includes high-quality dog food, treats, and other essential supplies.

However, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential expenses that may arise. Vet fees for dogs in Japan can be a significant financial burden, especially for unexpected illnesses or injuries. It’s essential to have the means to pay for veterinary care, as these costs are not covered by pet health insurance. Owners are responsible for 100% of the veterinary expenses.

Pet accommodation fees, such as pet hotels, are another aspect that can add up in the cost of owning a dog in Japan. Prices for pet hotels can range from ¥5,000 per night, depending on the location and level of service provided. If you travel frequently or require pet accommodation for a prolonged period, these fees can become a considerable expense.

It’s also worth considering pet insurance in Japan, which can help offset some of the veterinary costs. Pet insurance plans typically cover illnesses, injuries, and other medical expenses. By having pet insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that your dog’s health is protected.

Before adopting a dog in Japan, it’s essential to factor in these costs and plan accordingly. Having a clear understanding of the financial obligations associated with owning a dog will help ensure that you can provide for your furry friend’s needs without experiencing financial strain.

Please note that the image above is related to pet insurance in Japan, highlighting the importance of financial planning and protection for your dog’s health.


Adopting a dog in Japan can be a deeply fulfilling experience for both you and your new furry friend. However, it’s crucial to approach the process with thorough research and preparation. By considering the living space and size restrictions, understanding the adoption process and fees, and being aware of the running costs associated with owning a dog in Japan, you can ensure a smooth transition into becoming a pet owner.

When it comes to finding a dog to adopt, online platforms such as Pet Home, JMTY, and Anifare can be valuable resources. These platforms connect potential adopters with pets in need of homes, making it easier to find the perfect companion for your lifestyle.

Additionally, you may consider reaching out to rescue shelters like ARK, Japan Cat Network, SPA, and Heart Tokushima. These organizations offer the opportunity to provide a second chance to animals in need, following a thorough adoption process that involves interviews and trial periods. While there are fees associated with adopting from these shelters, the love and companionship you’ll receive from your new pet make the investment worthwhile.

In conclusion, by taking the time to understand the unique challenges and requirements of dog adoption in Japan, you can embark on a rewarding journey of providing a loving home to a deserving four-legged companion. Remember to consider the living space, navigate the adoption process, and plan for the ongoing costs of pet ownership. By doing so, you’ll create a bond with your new dog that will bring joy and happiness to both of your lives.


How do I adopt a dog in Japan?

To adopt a dog in Japan, you will need to research local shelters or use online platforms to find available dogs. Each shelter may have its own adoption process, which typically involves an application, an interview, and a home visit.

Are there restrictions on pet ownership in Japan?

Yes, there are restrictions on pet ownership in Japan, particularly in apartment buildings. Many apartments in Tokyo have rules that prohibit pets, so it’s essential to check your rental contract before considering pet adoption.

How much does it cost to adopt a dog in Japan?

The cost of adopting a dog in Japan can vary depending on the shelter and the individual dog. Adoption fees typically range from ¥20,000 to ¥60,000. It’s also important to consider other costs such as vet bills, transportation fees, and ongoing expenses like food and grooming.

What are some popular online pet adoption services in Japan?

Pet Home is one of the most popular online pet adoption services in Japan. They have a user-friendly website and app, partnering with shelters and individuals to make it easy to find a pet in your area. Other platforms include JMTY and Anifare, which connect potential adopters with pets in need of homes.

Are there any rescue shelters in Japan?

Yes, there are several rescue shelters in Japan. Some notable ones include ARK and Japan Cat Network, which work tirelessly to rescue and rehome dogs and cats. These shelters have a thorough adoption process that typically involves an interview and a trial period.

What are the running costs of owning a dog in Japan?

The day-to-day running costs of owning a dog in Japan are relatively low, with expenses like food and toilet materials costing around ¥1,000 per week. However, vet fees and pet accommodation fees can be significant expenses that should be considered before adopting a dog.

Is it worth adopting a dog in Japan?

Adopting a dog in Japan can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to be prepared and informed about the process and potential challenges. By considering factors such as living space, adoption fees, and ongoing costs, you can successfully provide a loving home to a dog in need.

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