Detecting in Japan

Metal Detecting in JAPAN (Laws, Locations, Finds and More)

Metal Detecting in Japan

I’ve noticed lately that there many people heading to Japan not only to visit the country and its nice people, but also to use their metal detectors in there…

… That’s why; I’ve thought that I probably should put together an article in which I talk about metal detecting in Japan!

To be honest, it is a little bit challenging, because I’ve never been there. Yet, I still wanted to do as much researches as possible about the topic using the help of other people who know something about the topic so, hopefully, you will find this as much helpful as possible …

… In this Post, I talk about:

  • The laws surrounding this hobby there
  • Some places that you may want to explore
  • Machine recommendation for Japan Soil
  • Types of find you should expect there

So, let’s get this thing started!

Is metal detecting legal in Japan?

This hobby is generally allowed in there! In fact, there are no particular laws that are associated with detection activities in the country. And there are no laws or regulations governing the use of detectors either…

… However, it is said that everything that you above the ground in Japan, needs to be turned over to the police. By doing so, the police, in turn, will try to find the owner, and you will receive a 10% reward if the owner is found… That’s Awesome!

Yet, keep in mind that there is a high chance of finding live ammunition under the ground in Japan, so be careful that you approach the right authorities and ask them about where you can detect before you actually go ahead.

Buddhist temples and active castle sites are strictly out of bounds for any kind of detecting activities in Japan, as are the old Shinto shrines

…In addition, there are no regulations that prohibit this activity in parks and beaches so you can detect freely in these places.

Where to go Metal Detecting in Japan?

There are several places that are would be suitable for you as a detectorist. Many people prefer to head to the mountains or to the upper reaches of the many rivers flowing through Japan.

One place that keeps coming up in discussion with local hobbyists is Yamanashi. There was an old gold mine in the mountains there, and many people still go up there to try their luck in finding nuggets or panning the river there.

There are many other places where there are high chances of finding valuable items. These include:

  • Osaka
  • Okinawa
  • Shinjuku

What Metal Detector will work best for Japan Soil?

If you want to try your luck in there, you should have a little idea about the different types of soils of the country…

…In Japan, the soils are typically divided from northeast to the southwest into a weak podzolic, a type of soil that has a thin organic mineral layer over a gray leached layer, zone, brown earth zone, and a red earth zone as we move towards the southwest.

If you are detecting in Hokkaido, then keep in mind that the island has acidic brown forest soils, so you will need a metal detector that works well in such type of soil.

One of the best machines that you should take along to Japan is the Garrett AT Pro (Check it Right Here on Amazon!)

This all-terrain device that can function in any type of soil and will prove to be highly useful in the different types of soil you will encounter in Japan. Not only is it a great detector for beginners, but it is also excellent for the experienced detectorist.

You can also Check My Favorite Multi-purpose Machine on Amazon! It brings some serious high technology to the table and operates pretty much well in all ground conditions …

… If you are a beginner, then have a look at these easy to use metal detectors!

Is this hobby popular in Japan?

It is weird for me, but this activity is not that popular there! This is probably due to the nature of Japanese people …

…I mean, they seem sweet, nice and not (let’s say) wild enough to go under the sun, or in the woods swinging a machine and digging and having their clothes dirty! I am not totally sure, but I am just presuming here …

… I know for a fact that the Japanese society is very conservative. This is probably due to that as well!

But at the best of my knowledge, most practitioners there are generally coming from foreign countries!

Is there Gold in Japan for detectorists?

Most of the non-urban areas there are extremely hilly and forested!

There are some rivers in Japan near which gold used to be mined around 400-500 years ago, but it totally depends on your luck and the machine you are using if there is still much left to be found in these areas

If you are specifically looking for gold there, then the best way to go about this will be to do some thorough geological research find out the history of mining throughout Japan.

For more info about this interesting topic! You should have a glance at this Gold Prospecting Article! You will learn a ton of helpful info in there …

What finds should you expect there?


Japan has a rich history, but there has been much destruction the country has faced with the World War as well as the continuous earthquakes and tsunamis that keep hitting the country.

Due to this, the chances of finding something of great value are not that great in Japan! Unless you are detecting in places that usually hold high crowds of people … Then chances are you could find lost valuable items.

Nevertheless, you can still find some old World War II ammunition (so be careful), some relics of the war such as broken spear blades, arrowheads, etc.

Many detectorists go to the beaches in Toyama to look for jade (as mentioned in the picture above), which is said to be a popular find in Japan. Old coins, relics, and many types of jewelry are also some of the more common finds you can expect to come across while exploring in there.

Are there Detecting clubs there?

There are no listed detecting clubs in Japan! At least not something that I am aware of …

…Yet, you can find certain online forums dedicated to discussing this topic!

If you are aware of any, just let me know in the comment section below …

Are there detectors made in Japan?

At the beginning I thought that there should be some manufacturers or brands producing detectors … I mean Japan literally produces anything under the sun!

Yet, I was pretty surprised to know that there are no machines that are manufactured in Japan…

… However, if you are looking to buy a machine there, then you will be able to purchase any of the leading brands from some shops in Tokyo

… Indeed, it might be difficult to buy machines and other related equipment in the interior cities of Japan.


This Post was pretty short; generally I write longer and more detailed posts than that! Anyway, I just hope that you’ve learnt new helpful information whether you are living there or just a tourist …

… I believe that the laws that are friendly with our hobby and the fact that there is not many people out there detecting on a regular basis, makes from that a huge opportunity to detect freely and have higher chances finding valuable targets!

Also, as Japanese people are so nice, you won’t feel uncomfortable even if you are around populated areas!

Finally, this country is frequently compared to China … So, if you want to know more about his country too! Then, you should definitely have a look at this China Detection Guide! You will learn similar and helpful info …

About the Author

Carissa Harmer

Carissa is the huge metal detecting enthusiast that loves collecting coins. She is also highly interested in other treasure hunting activities like magnet fishing and gold prospecting/panning.