Asia

Japan: Travel Safety

Reading time: 2 minutes

Current smart traveller advice

In general, Japan is not a dangerous country to travel to. The country is subject to earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and volcanic activity, however, they are all conditions that are closely monitored so you should receive a warning and instruction on what to do in event of an emergency beforehand. Exercise normal caution you would travelling to any foreign country. In case of an incident, it is wise for travellers to pick up travel insurance before they go.

 

To stay up to date on the latest travel advisories, visit Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Safety tips and advice

Scams

There are a couple of scams travellers need to be aware of during their stay. They are easily avoidable if you are aware of what they are. Please be advised of the following:

 

The beggar: If you are approached by a beggar, they may try to guilt you into giving them money. Sometimes they appear dressed as a monk, in which case they will try to sell you charms. Real monks, however, will never beg for money or try to sell you anything.

 

Other times, beggars will look like a pregnant woman, which is hard for many to ignore. However, these women sometimes have pickpockets waiting nearby, watching where you keep your money so they can snatch it later.

 

The friendly bar goer: Sometimes locals will try to befriend you at the bar, getting you to trust and follow them to a new bar, attempting to get you to leave your credit card behind. They will then use this card to buy more drinks or just steal it entirely. Avoid starting a tab at the bar and keep your card on you at all times.

 

The off-the books tour: Sometimes young people will try to approach you saying they want to practice their English and take you on a tour around town. Charmed, some tourists oblige, however they end up with a bill for hundreds of dollars.

Crime

Japan has a very low crime rate (in 2015, there was just one fatal shooting). It is a very safe country to travel to, however, that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Be aware of your surroundings and stay safe at all times.

Earthquakes

Travelling to Japan, tourists need to be aware that earthquakes are common, but large magnitude earthquakes are rare. Infrastructure is built to withstand earthquakes, so you might feel some tremors, but they are usually not serious.

 

If you do feel an earthquake, do not panic, but act fast. Get outside and into an open area where debris cannot fall on you. If you are in a vehicle, follow the same advice, do not stay inside. In the unlikely event that the earthquake is large enough to cause a tsunami, a warning will be issued, and you should proceed to high ground as fast as possible.


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