Safety when traveling in Japan

Safety in Japan

Written by Merete - intern at Seramikku and former exchange student in Japan

In this section I talk about general safety in Japan. About language barriers, the risk of earthquakes, jet lag and culture shock. Japan is generally a very safe country to travel in. On my solo travels as a woman around the country, I have never experienced unpleasant behavior from strangers. Of course, just like in Denmark, there is always a chance that something could happen, but Japan is generally very safe. This may be due to the harsh penalties. In metropolitan areas, there are also women-only train compartments, so don't get into one as a man if you want to avoid the stares of the women.

Perhaps you also already know that there are often earthquake in Japan - actually every day. It's about. 1,500 earthquakes annually, but they are rarely as devastating as the Tōhoku earthquake of 2011. Personally, I have only experienced earthquakes that I could feel three times in my travels and stays. If something should happen anyway, remember to seek shelter and cover your head, open the door and don't go outside, follow the locals and get away from coasts. It might sound a little dramatic, but there is only a small chance of a major earthquake during your stay, so don't let fear stop you from having a lot of amazing experiences in this beautiful country! Modern Japanese houses are also built to withstand earthquakes, so it is generally safe.

When I'm in Japan I ALWAYS get jet lag , on the journey from west to east, and I'm usually totally overtired. Take a refreshing shower and try to keep yourself awake by going sightseeing on the day you arrive. You probably shouldn't challenge fate and drink an energy drink like I did on my first trip, but get out and explore Japan so you'll naturally be tired by evening.

Besides jet lag, it is very normal to be overwhelmed by the different Japanese culture and few culture shock . Maybe you will be overwhelmed by high-tech toilets, neon signs and the advertisements everywhere, the " irasshaimasee" of the shop assistants, different food and the straight lines of the escalators. I actually also usually get a bit of culture shock when I come back to Denmark, because I've gotten used to Japan. Fortunately, this is completely normal.

As Danes, we are used to being able to manage in many places in the world with ours English . The Japanese are one of the most hospitable and helpful people I've ever met, and although they are incredibly eager to help, many do not have a high level of English. They are happy to help in the best possible way with signs, images and translation machines, so often you find out anyway. With the preparations for the Olympics in Japan, Tōkyō has also become much more tourist-friendly, with English and international signs, so you can find your way around. It will probably be more of a challenge in the countryside, but don't let that stop you from traveling around! :-)

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