Japan

Japan

Use Normal Level of Caution

Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands located in the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, east of Korea. The four main islands are Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kyushu, and Honshu, the main island. Japan's population is approximately 126 million.

The government of Japan is a parliamentary democracy with a hereditary constitutional monarchy. The chief of state is an emperor. The head of government is a prime minister.

After World War II, Japan experienced huge economic growth. Today the country has the world's third largest economy but has the world's largest public debt. Japan has a very high standard of living and high life expectancy.

Visitors to Japan will see a contrast of the traditional and the modern. Buddhism and Shinto have been the main religions of Japan and have had great influence on the history and culture of this country. Tourists will find sites such as Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, Japanese gardens, museums, onsens or hot spring baths, tea ceremonies, Mt. Fuji, kabuki theatre, to name only a few.

Currency JPY: Yen
Language Japanese
Capital Tokyo
Recent Alerts 2
Latest Alert December 11, 2019 - Magnitude 5.9 Quake Strikes Izu Islands, Japan

Diseases To Be Aware Of

The diseases listed below are those which occur most often in Japan. Other, less frequently encountered diseases might be displayed within the Travel Alerts section if they have occurred recently.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis does not usually occur in urban areas such as Tokyo and other major cities. Rare and sporadic cases do occur on all islands from July to October, except Hokkaido. On Okinawa, sporadic cases may occur from April to December. The risk for travellers is very low, but may increase with extensive outdoor activity in rural areas.

Hepatitis A

There is a risk of hepatitis A in Japan.

Hepatitis B

There is a risk of hepatitis B in Japan.

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever does occur in Japan.

Schistosomiasis

This disease is present in this country and is acquired through contact with fresh water, such as swimming, bathing, or rafting. Well-chlorinated swimming pools and contact with saltwater in oceans or seas will not put travellers at risk for schistosomiasis.

Rabies

Rabies may be present in bats.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis

There is a possible risk of tick-borne encephalitis in southern Hokkaido from March to November.

Vaccinations to Consider

The following is a list of recommended vaccinations for travelling to Japan.

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine

Japanese encephalitis does not usually occur in urban areas or large cities and thus vaccination is not required for travel to large cities. However, vaccination is recommended during the high-risk months if travellers engage in extensive outdoor activities in rural areas.

Tick-Borne Encephalitis Vaccine

The tick-borne encephalitis vaccine is not normally given for travel to Japan.

Rabies Vaccine

The rabies vaccine is recommended for travellers whose activities or work may bring them into direct contact with bats.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

There is risk of hepatitis A in Japan, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

There is risk of hepatitis B in Japan, therefore, the vaccination is recommended.

Medications to Consider

The following is a list of recommended medications for travelling to Japan.

None required.

Safety and Security in Japan

Emergency Numbers

110
119
119
(81 3) 5774 0992 Tokyo English Lifeline Support

Personal Safety

The crime rate is low in this country, and most travellers have no safety or security trouble. With respect to your personal safety, be as cautious and aware of your surroundings as you would be at home. Public transportation is usually safe. Walking at night is normally safe.

There have been reports of tourists having their drinks drugged and experiencing credit card fraud, particularly in the Roppongi and Kabuki-cho districts of Tokyo. Never leave drinks unattended and pay attention to the way drinks are prepared and served. Avoid carrying credit cards or large amounts of cash in nightclubs in this area.

After the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, there was extensive structural damage and loss of life, as well as a risk of nuclear radiation in northeast Japan. However, areas outside of the Japanese evacuation zone are not subject to radiation levels associated with a health risk, and most areas of the country have returned to normal.

Earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and volcanic activity can occur in Japan. Follow updates from the Japan Meteorological Agency closely for information about natural disasters.

If visiting Japan for less than 90 days, you must carry your passport with you at all times.

Tension with North Korea persists and could escalate without warning.

Exercise caution if participating in mountain climbing or other outdoor adventure activities. Always do so with a group or an experienced guide. Climbing Mount Fuji is not advised during the off-season (September-June) due to higher safety risks. Ensure travel and medical insurance is purchased before departing and ensure your insurance policy covers outdoor adventure activities.

Driving in Japan is generally safe, however, during winter months, heavy snowfall may make driving dangerous.

It is illegal to smoke in the streets of some parts of Tokyo and other cities.

There are strict regulations for importing medication, including prescription medication for allergies. Consult Japanese authorities for more detailed information.

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Japan but same-sex marriage is not. Nevertheless, LGBTI travellers are unlikely to experience discrimination. All travellers should note, however, that public displays of affection should be avoided in respect of the country's customs.

Areas To Avoid

Avoid all travel to the exclusion zones around the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant due to the health risk posed by radiation. These areas are identified by Japanese authorities and can be found at the following website: http://www.meti.go.jp/english/earthquake/nuclear/roadmap/pdf/20130807_01.pdf

Political Unrest

Protests and demonstrations are rare in Japan. However, pro-nationalist demonstrations have taken place and can involve hostility for foreign countries. Minimize safety risk by avoiding any large public or political gatherings.

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