LATEST TRAVEL UPDATES AND ADVICE FOR JAPAN

Updated: 09th March 2020

Travel Alerts

There is currently no restrictions for travel to Japan. At present, all our tours to Japan are departing as normal.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

There is an ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus in Japan, including instances of in-country transmission. It may cause more severe symptoms in older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions. There are enhanced quarantine procedures at entry points to Japan such as airports and ports. These include temperature checks and hand sanitation.

Our Tours
On all our tours to Japan we are providing sanitizing gel. Guides are reminding guests to sanitize frequently. We are not providing surgical masks as surgical masks will not protect against the virus.

Should at any point the FCO change their level of advice to 'Do Not Travel' all of our holidays to Japan would be cancelled. Travellers will then be offered the choice of travelling to Japan at a later date, travelling to another destination or full refund.

Prevention
The advice from the World Health Organization for the public is as follows:

1. Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

2. Maintain social distancing Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

4. Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19

Natural Disasters

The island nation of Japan is situated within a major earthquake zone, which results in frequent seismic activity and earthquakes ranging from small tremors to devastating disasters. If earthquakes occur below or close to the ocean, they may trigger tidal waves known as tsunami.

Earthquakes

The last major earthquake to hit Japan was the Tohoku earthquake of 2011, one of the strongest to ever hit the country and one of the five worst earthquakes in the world. Combined with the tsunami that followed, the earthquake resulted in the death of over 15,000 people and extensive damage to the infrastructure along the Pacific Coast of northeastern Japan.

Earthquake measurement

The Japanese have their own scale for measuring earthquakes known as the shindo scale. Most people are familiar with the Richter scale that measures the magnitude of an earthquake to quantify the energy released but the shindo scale is completely different, measuring instead the intensity of an earthquake and describes the degree of shaking at a point on the Earth's surface.

The shindo scale ranges from 0 to 7 with 7 the strongest and the intensity prescribed to the scale as follows:
shindo zero - a slight earthquake felt by only few people and not resulting in any damage to buildings
shindo one - felt by a few people indoors with objects likely to shake a little though still no damage to buildings
shindo two - felt by many people indoors with objects likely to shake though still no damage to buildings
shindo three - most people indoors will feel the quake, objects will rattle around and there may be slight damage to buildings
shindo four - felt by people indoors and likely to cause some panic with objects moving about considerably though buildings will only suffer slight damage
shindo five - people start to move outdoors to avoid danger with objects moving around violently and cracks appearing in buildings
shindo six - such movement that it's difficult to stand upright with heavier objects moving around and heavy damage affecting buildings
shindo seven - impossible to move at all with heavier objects moving around considerably and buildings suffering severe damage

The Japanese Meteorological Agency monitors seismic activity and issues warnings and advisories on earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, volcanoes and landslides, and we follow such warnings carefully. Since launching Japan as a destination our tours have departed without any problems and it's possible to visit Japan even during times of minor tremors (shindo 0-3) without any threat as there's little damage caused and many of Japan's newer buildings have been made earthquake resistant.

See Also

Check out the following useful resources to help plan your visit to Japan:

Best Time to Visit - Japan's climate and seasons
Best Places to Visit - destinations in Japan not to be missed
Tourist Visas - what you need to know prior to travel
Top Travel Tips - information about money, food and luggage forwarding
Traveller Reviews - what our passengers say about our Japan tours
Transport in Japan - handy info on getting around by train in Japan
Top 10 Japan Experiences - get the most out of your time in Japan
Cherry Blossom Festival - all your frequently asked questions answered