According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT), you do not need permission to fly a drone as long as you intend to operate your drone in non-prohibited airspace and follow all operational limitations.
If you intend to operate your drone in the following airspaces, you are required to obtain permission from the MLIT.
- Airspace around airports
- Airspace more than 150m above ground and sea level
- Airspace above densely populated areas
You are required to follow the operational conditions listed below unless approved by the MLIT.
- Operation only allowed during the daytime
- Operation only allowed within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
- Keep more than 30m distance from persons, properties, cars, etc.
- Do not operate over event sites where many people gather
- Do not transport hazardous materials such as explosives
- Do not drop any objects
While many high-end drone makers have the no-fly zones and restrictions in their flight computer’s software preloaded, it is still the responsibility of the pilot to be completely aware of the regulations and allowed airspace. There is a free map that shows you where you can fly courtesy drone maker DJI:
Just enter the place you’d like to go to in the field on the top of the page. Red means a no-fly zone unless you have special permission. Please be advised that you may face the maximum ¥500,000 penalty if you fail to meet these restrictions, and check the official MLIT site for the most up to date information.