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Is It Safe To Travel To Japan?

Travel Tips & Planning

Is It Safe To Travel To Japan?

Sakura flowers and branches in Japan

Yes, it is still very safe to visit Japan…

With the recent devastation that has occurred in Japan many tourists may have been put off travelling to this wonderful nation. Whilst the country has not only had to deal with the horrific repercussions of the earthquake and tsunami, fears of rising radiation levels for nuclear power plants have also struck much of the east coast of Japan. However, there are a number of places in this technologically advanced country which remain safe for visitors to explore. And in some ways, providing much needed tourism and therefore funds to this critically injured nation could offer some support which is very much need.

Japan's flag - Is it safe to travel to Japan?

Japan’s flag flying outside Okayama Park, another great city to visit.

For travellers wanting to visit Japan, the best regions are those in Central and Southern Japan. Flights to Japan are relatively easy to find and tourists will still be able to access a range of travel choices. These areas have been little affected by the problems noted and can be safely travelled to without fear of radiation poisoning or negatively affecting ongoing relief and clean up efforts. There are a number of fantastic areas to visit that will give tourists the ultimate Japanese experience away from affected areas including Osaka, Kyoto and Okinawa. And with all these areas safe to visit, Japanese adventures can still be had.

For travellers wanting Japanese culture and history there is no better place than Osaka, the centre of Kansai and a city which has historical charm and modern amenities. Almost as equal to Tokyo in its foreword thinking setting, Osaka is filled with the technologically advanced features that make Japan famous. Nightlife is particularly exciting in this city, with drab alleys and streets becoming alive with tasty foods, excited locals and neon flashing signs. The Open Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses is a wonderful destination to visit, as is the Osaka Aquarium which is home to a huge whale shark.

Large orange gate entrance to a Temple at Kyoto

Kyoto, full of temples and shrines.

Away from the advanced city of Osaka, Kyoto is also a wonderful metropolis to explore and offers a rich tapestry of Japanese history with 17 Unesco World Heritage sites and over 400 Shinto shrines and 1600 Buddhist temples. This city is often the one place where tourists will find the quintessential Japan, with geisha still wandering the streets, raked pebble gardens, and beautiful vermilion shrine gates. Whilst arriving in Kyoto can often lead to disappointment that all of these wonderful sights aren’t instantly on view, a careful exploration of the city will discover exciting glimpse of the areas true nature and this often leads to more of a lasting impression than if everything were laid out for tourists immediately.

For a sight of Japan which may have never been expected travelling to Okinawa will offer surprising visions of palm trees and white sandy beaches. These islands are vastly popular with tourists and locals alike and offer beach life tranquillity with hiking, water sports and beach events all easily found.

Travelling to Japan is still safe as long as visitors take time to establish just which areas have been affected by recent events and which haven’t. There are many places away from affected areas, including Okinawa, Kyoto and Osaka, which are still vibrantly carrying on life as normal. And by taking trips to these locations instead, tourists may just discover something special that that could have evaded them had other destinations been open for travel.

This article was contributed by a guest author. To contribue an article, photo or travel video, please contact Dean at Japan Travel Mate.
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Deano「ヂィノ」 Wormald

Your man in Japan, online since 2009. I used to live in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, and travel to Japan at least once a year for three weeks.


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  1. Japan Australia May 5, 2011

    My favourite places in Japan have to be Kyoto and Takayama for their authentic and historic cultural experiences.

    Gifu is my home town in Japan and has many historic towns. Check out Takayama for its traditional architecture and crafts. It is a great place to spend a few days or to use as a base to visit the mountains or surrounding onsen hot springs.

    I also highly recommend the Ogimachi Timber Houses in Shirakawa-go. The village is famous for its gassho zukuri houses.

    1. JTM May 5, 2011

      Thanks for the comment, Takayama looks interesting, I will have to check it out one day when visiting some other historic towns in Gifu.

  2. PlanJapan May 7, 2011

    I have to agree with Japan Australia, Takayama is very, very special! It’s an Edo town hidden in the Japanese alps – sounds good already, doesn’t it?

  3. JTM May 7, 2011

    The Ogimachi Timber Houses in Shirakawa-go look amazing, especially scenic in the winter. I live not far from Gifu (Aichi) so will definitely travel there one day soon.

  4. alohabenben May 9, 2011

    I live in Fukuoka, Japan, and I highly recommend a trip to Kyushu! Kyushu shinkansen (bullet train) just inaugurated in March, and it takes only 1h30m to travel from Fukuoka to the southen prefecture of Kagoshima.
    Brandnew shinkansen trains offer you comfort and fun!
    From hotspring to delicious local delicacies to beautiful seas… There are many places of interest all around Kyushu island.

    Please come and visit ^^

    1. JTM May 9, 2011

      Hi alohabenben, and thanks for commenting on this post, as well as linking to it from your blog. What type of Shinkansen is it, the 800 series? I’ve visited Fukuoka and really liked the city, I also did a post on things to do in Fukuoka. If anyone comes to visit Japan, do go and visit Fukuoka, it is a great city!

  5. Japan Australia May 10, 2011

    Definitely check it out JTM. It is absolutely magical in the winter with all the snow.

  6. あっちゃん May 12, 2011

    Thank you for suggesting to travel in Japan.
    For the future in Japan, I want you to come towards most.
    Japan does its best.
    Please support him.

    1. JTM May 14, 2011

      Thanks for your comment, yes I hope people continue to travel to Japan!

  7. tsunagaru May 19, 2011

    living in Sapporo, nothern part of japan.
    just started a blog that tell them japanese live as usual.

  8. Gio May 30, 2011

    Yes but So i understand that Toko is not to safe to travel?
    I’ve to come this October for a couple of weeks

    1. JTM May 30, 2011

      Hi Gio. Travel to Tokyo is definitely still safe. But for those who are REALLY worried or cautious, this article is just to demonstrate that Tokyo isn’t the only tourist attraction in Japan!

  9. Joyce July 18, 2011

    Hi, is it safe to visit Shirakawa village – the unesco heritage? Is it located near the tsunami and earthquake areas happened in March 2011?


    1. JTM July 18, 2011

      Joyce, that is amazing timing! I actually just drove past Shirakawa on my way home through Gifu today. My friends and I hiked Mt Ontakesan and visited many historic towns along the Nakasend? (a famous postal route between Edo and Kyoto).

      Shirakawa is located in Gifu which is directly west of Tokyo. It is about 500km from the tsunami and earthquake areas. The area is certainly very safe to visit and life is normal in those areas, if not just a little bit quieter than normal. If you are travelling to Shirakawa be sure to check out the Nakasend?.

      Stayed tuned to japantravelmate.com, I will be posting an article very soon about travelling that area.

  10. Careful traveler September 7, 2011

    It is the very good post! There is no reason not to visit the beautiful country Japan (avoiding really dangerous east-coast places). The main thing traveler should know is in order to be in safety during travel, he (she) should learn travel places dangers before trip and prepare for trip on the base of this learning. Be prepared and enjoy your travel!


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