Japan is a country that many people dream that they can one day explore. Whether that is through a short vacation or by moving there permanently, most people love the idea of experiencing this beautiful and culturally-rich country.
When traveling to any country, it is a good idea to research how safe it is. Japan is the exact same!
Generally, Japan is considered quite safe thanks to low crime rates. However, these crime rates will vary from city to city. To ensure that you feel secure in Japan, we’ve got all the information you need.
How Safe Is Japan?
In terms of crime, Japan tends to be very safe. Though crimes do occur, reportings tend to be quite low. Japan’s crime rate is particularly low for petty theft.
In fact, many native Japanese people leave their personal belongings unwatched in public spaces, such as restaurants and bars. This tends to shock lots of tourists.
As with any country, tourists can be targeted by thieves. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your personal belongings and to pay close attention to your surroundings when visiting Japan.
Homicide rates in Japan are also minimal. A study performed by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that the homicide rate in Japan was significantly below the global average. When a homicide occurs, Japanese officers solve the majority of cases.
The exact reason for these low crime rates is unknown, though one can speculate that this could be due to different social factors. For instance, drug use and poverty tend to be quite low in Japan, both of which can lead to crime and antisocial behavior.
Moreover, one could point to the strict regulations for guns in Japan, which mean that gun crimes are much less common in Japan than they are in the United States.
Japan has an accepting culture, which makes it a safe place for everyone. As a result, many LGBT (see also ‘Is Japan LGBT Friendly?’) or solo female vacationers feel safe traveling there.
Weather And Environment
While crime may not be too much of a concern in Japan, you should bear in mind that the country is prone to experiencing environmental and weather problems, which can be quite dangerous.
Unfortunately, earthquakes are quite common in Japan. This can range from mild tremors to more intense earthquakes. The most intense earthquake to hit Japan was the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which had a maximum magnitude of 9.1.
Often, warnings are minimal, meaning that people don’t have time to prepare for the earthquake. On the other hand, the majority of Japanese earthquakes tend to be of low magnitudes, meaning that the damage is minimal.
Another major concern is typhoons. In Japan, the typhoon season typically occurs between August and October. During these times, you should expect wet and windy weather, which can be very intense and unpredictable. You must also bear in mind that typhoons can also occur outside of this typhoon season.
Tips For Staying Safe In Japan
During A Crime
If you are a victim of a crime in Japan, you can visit a koban. These Japanese police stations are found throughout towns and cities, so it is quite easy to find one. If you are unable to locate a koban, either use your phone for directions or ask for the aid of a local person.
To report a crime in Japan, dial 110. If you require an ambulance or are experiencing a fire-related problem, call 119. If you experience an issue at sea, dial 118.
Earthquakes can occur without warning in Japan, so it can be hard to prepare. When an earthquake occurs, it is advised that you drop to the ground and position yourself under a table or desk. This will provide shelter from falling objects.
If the earthquake is severe, you may need to evacuate. If you are staying at a hotel, familiarize yourself with the evacuation procedure. Simply follow these directions to ensure that you’re safe.
During A Typhoon
The good news is that since 2011, Japan has been working to better prepare itself for intense weather conditions. During a typhoon, it is advised that you stay inside.
To keep yourself from becoming bored, you may want to read a book, watch television, or play a board game with fellow vacationers.
If you need to go outside during intense weather conditions, be sure to wear sensible clothing. This includes a raincoat and waterproof boots.
Try to avoid going near any trees, as they could collapse. Only go outside if it is absolutely necessary, as even seemingly calm spots during a typhoon can expose you to extreme weather.
If you are simply visiting Japan, it is worth getting travel insurance. This is designed to protect you from any losses that you experience while traveling. Many tourists refuse to pay for this insurance and end up regretting it when something goes wrong.
There are lots of different insurance providers to choose from, so shop around to find the best deal.
It’s a good idea to keep your phone charged (see also ‘Do I Need A Power Adapter For Japan?‘) while traveling through Japan. This is so that you can easily contact someone during an emergency.
Whether this is a family member, your bank, or emergency service, it’s advised that you have some helpful phone numbers on hand.
Luckily, you can invest in portable phone chargers for a wide range of phones so that you don’t have to worry about your device dying.
You should also try to find where your local embassy is located in Japan. These diplomatic missions can prove useful if you are in a tight spot.
Though safety is an important concern, this should not prevent you from traveling to your favorite places. This is certainly the case with Japan, a fascinating country with impressively low crime rates.
Just make sure that you listen to our tips to ensure that you manage to not only have fun in Japan but are also safe!