It’s said that Japan is one of the safest countries in the world. However, don’t let your guard down during your trip. Because Japan is just like another country, not everything pretty sparkles and shines. Crime does exist, natural disasters, and traffic accidents can occur during your visit.
Here, we’ve listed some basic safety tips for travelers in Japan. Travel smart and stay safe.
There’s really no standard or rules of how you should dress properly in Japan, but Japanese people are not used to seeing a lot of skin. So you might want to avoid showing your midriff or cleavage to keep away from some unwanted attention and staring.
Be careful at the crosswalk
Most Japanese people wait for the red light to cross even on an empty street. That’s because they followed the traffic rule faithfully, and mainly because of safety reasons.
Be extra careful especially when you walk or cross on the street with no traffic lights. I almost got hit in this particular environment. The cars go so fast, even just standing while waiting for the red light at the end of the pavement isn’t quite safe.
A survey in 2016 from Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) showed that more than 90% of drivers don’t stop at a crosswalk without traffic lights despite the presence of pedestrians. So guys, even if you’re in a rush, please wait for the red light (if there’s any), and stand a bit further away from the crosswalk.
Stay away from sketchy streets and areas
Walking trip in Japan is super fun and safe. Armed only with Google Maps and there you go explore the cities. Until recently, I experienced being followed and asked personal questions by a stranger in broad daylight for almost half an hour. At that time, I was no longer following Google Maps, I walked along the crowded big street. The man wasn’t rude, but he was very persistent in asking looots of questions. That day was quite chilly but I was sweating bullets. Hopefully, this will be my last experience of being nanpa-ed. For my next trip, I need to be more street smart.
Although Japan does have low criminal rates, it’s not zero crime. And, Japan does have a few sketchy neighborhoods, so please do some research on the area around your hotel before booking a hotel or Airbnb. Plan your route carefully, especially when you’re traveling alone.
Watch out for wild animals (when hiking/visiting island)
We encountered a reportedly-about-80-cm-long wild boar when we visited the Shodoshima Olive Park in Shodoshima Island last autumn. That day the wild boar came down from the mountain and attacked 3 visitors. When the wild boar ran after a lady, it ran right next to me. It was a rare incident, so the visitors and even the staffs were shocked.
Particularly in autumn, it’s said that the boars will come down the mountain to seek food for hibernation. Although no one can predict this incident, be aware of your surroundings and watch out if you see the warning sign of the wild animals.
So, is Japan safe to travel? YES. Japan is safe to visit, but please come prepared. Stay alert wherever you are.