Weed in Japan
Weed is very illegal in Japan. There is zero tolerance. If you’re caught with even the slightest amount, you can be fined up to 30 million yen, or about 375 thousand US dollar. Also, you can be put into prison for up to 5 years. If you’re lucky, you will just be put on the first plane to your home country, all your money and stuff confiscated, expelled forever.
Even without possessing or using the stuff, you can still be convicted if traces are detected in your blood or urine (from smoking before your flight to Japan).
Although nicer than the death penalty, being robbed, locked up and kicked out doesn’t sound like the perfect holiday to me. I just want you to be aware of the risks you’re taking before you continue reading. As always, I recommend you to obey the laws of the land and to check the disclaimer before blaming me for something that will be your own stupid fault. And oh, any authorities or haters reading this, all names, places, substances, words and even the spaces between the words are completely fictional. All similarities to actual stuff are 100% coincidental.
Cannabis used to be a very important plant in Japan, until the end of the Second World War it was used a lot for clothing, ropes etc. Also it was used in religious Shinto rituals and for relaxation. That was until the American Occupational Government outlawed it to boost U.S. synthetic exports and make the Japanese people more submissive. You can read more about the use of weed in the past in Japan on this website.
Bob Marley said:
“I mean, Herbs are good for everything. Why, why these people who want to do so much good for everyone, who call themselves Governments and this and that, why them say you must not use the Herb?”
The law has as far not been recalled. Although weed causes less deaths than overwork, depression, cigarettes, alcohol and energy drinks, legalization is out of the question. Like most North Koreans believe that their supreme leader was born on the top of the country’s highest mountain under a special star, most Japanese still believe marijuana is a danger to public health.
Four times I enjoyed the experience of smoking taima (as they call it here) in Japan. The first time was outside a club in Shibuya at night. Some Japanese guys were smoking and they offered me some. I only took about two puffs. Still, it was nice, it felt really exciting to do something that is so illegal in this country and get away with it.
The second time was in a forest about two hours north of Tokyo. A Japanese friend had invited me to a rave there. It was my first rave and it was unlike any party I had been to before. We arrived at about 9 pm. The party was already going on. On an open spot between the trees guys and girls in Indian hippy clothes and other weird outfits were dancing to trance. The Finnish DJ hadn’t slept for 4 days and he looked like it. A shop was selling spicy curry.
My friend took me behind some trees and we smoked a joint. People were hardly drinking alcohol at this party, instead they drank water with dissolved LSD. The next day, at around 3 pm we left, the party was still going on.
The third time was in Sapporo, on Hokkaido. I was there by myself on a Saturday night looking for some fun. I had already had a couple of beers, a 200ml bottle of whiskey and a chuhai when I noticed something that looked like a herb shop. It displayed cannabis key holders and Bob Marley T-shirts. Inside I asked the shop assistant if he also sold taima. He laughed nervously and said no. Then the two customers after me invited me to come with them, a man and woman, both about 40 years old.
I got into their car, a white Lexus. We drove to their apartment in the suburbs. There we smoked. Joints and a bong. I remember talking to their dog and seeing a massive amount of plant material on the coffee table.
After an hour, or maybe two or three, they drove me back to the center of town. They guy drove really fast with really loud music on. He gave me two joints for later use and dropped me off in front of a club.
My further memories of that night are somewhat foggy, but I still recall lighting one in a club and talking to other people about it. A risk totally not worth the benefits.
The fourth time was on the rooftop terrace of a club in Roppongi or Shibuya. Me and a friend had been talking to some Japanese and Indian people and they offered us some puffs.
Getting it in Japan
This is quite a challenge. With the strict laws and enforcement, having it is already a big risk. Getting it is even a bigger risk for you and the people around you. In other countries where it’s illegal, like Thailand or Nepal, people try to sell you weed all the time on the streets. Not in Japan.
I think there are basically three ways of getting weed in Japan
1. Having the right friends
While most people here are quite conservative and follow the course that is expected of them by their families and bosses, there is a subculture of more independent minded people. When traveling in places as South East Asia or India you can find lots of young Japanese people, dressed in hippie clothes with Rastafari hair. The friend who invited me to the rave was such a guy, I had met him in India. Another time, in Yunnan in China, I spend two weeks smoking with another Japanese guy. Befriend some Japanese people while traveling and catch up with them in Japan. They usually have their sources at home too.
The street price is about 5000 yen a gram in the big cities.
2. Going to the right places
Roof terraces of certain clubs are good bets. Although smoking is allowed on the dance floor, people don’t smoke weed there because of the strong smell. When inquiring, don’t be too direct about it. When you ask if they have some, do it in a non-serious way, like as if you’re joking.
Another place where you might find it is in special “earth-herb-bla-bla”-shops, like the one I went to in Sapporo. In almost every major city you can find such shops. Although the shop won’t have it on the premises, there’ll likely be people around having access to it.
3. Importing it
This is very risky. There are countless stories of people who got caught. There are two ways to bring it into the country:
- In your luggage
- Through the mail
In your luggage seems to be too risky to even consider. It’s very likely that you will give yourself away through nervous behavior. Also, it’s more likely that they will open your suitcase than an envelope in the mail.
Here also are two options. You can send yourself the actual product, weed or hash, or you can send yourself seeds. As seeds are smaller, less illegal and don’t smell that much, they’re the safest choice.
Here are some tips on sending the stuff:
- Sterilized seeds are legal as bird feed. Consider getting a bird in advance. When sending the seeds, put them in a sealed bag and write on it that they’re sterilized.
- Send it in an envelope, not in a parcel that you have to pick up. Especially not one you have to sign for.
- If you decide to send weed or hash, put it in a vacuüm bag and immerse it for about 10 minutes in bleach. Bleach will kill all organic material on the outside.
- When preparing the envelope, wear plastic gloves and a hairnet.
- Mail is assessed for risk by country. Don’t send it from a suspicious country, like the Netherlands, Colombia or the Czech republic. It’s safer to cross the border and post it from Germany.
- Put it in an official looking envelope, like one of a well-known company or of the tax administration. Fill the envelope with some documents too.
- Print, don’t hand-write the name and address.
- Don’t write your own name as the recipient.