Safety is always one of the top concerns when travelling, the good news is that Japan is one of the safest countries in the world for travelers. Violent crime is extremely rare and Japan has exceptionally low crime rates overall.
While no place is 100% safe, the general consensus is that Japan is a very secure travel destination. You can relax and fully immerse yourself in Japan’s amazing culture without constantly worrying about safety.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll give you the honest truth about safety in Japan, based on my own extensive travel experience there. I’ll cover regional differences, crime stats, common scams, natural disasters, solo travel, and more.
Let’s dive in and answer the question: is Japan safe to visit?
Is Japan Safe?
Generally speaking, Japan is extremely safe for travelers if visitors use common sense and educate themselves about proper etiquette. Due to its very low crime rate, no regions of Japan are currently subject to any elevated travel advisories. Therefore, it is quite safe for travelers in Japan as long as they exercise normal precautions.
Travel Advisories for Japan
The official travel advisories for Japan have no warnings against any region. Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world for travelers.
Crime in Japan
The most recent crime rate in Japan is among the lowest in the world. Violent crime in particular is extremely rare. Most issues travelers may face are petty annoyances like pickpocketing.
You may be surprised to learn that crime rates for all types of crime are much lower in Japan than in the United States. Japan is known globally for its low crime rates and safety.
Common Scams in Japan
There are a few common scams in Japan for travelers to watch out for:
- Fake Taxi Scam – Getting into unlicensed taxis usually ends up costing tourists a lot more money. Only use official taxis in Japan.
- Overcharging – Some dishonest merchants may try to overcharge unaware tourists. Always check your receipt carefully.
- Bus Scam – Someone may tell you the wrong bus info to purposefully make you get on the wrong bus. Verify route info.
Covid-19 Safety in Japan
As of summer 2022, Japan no longer requires proof of vaccination or negative tests for entry. Masks are recommended but not required.
Japan has eased most Covid restrictions, but cases can rise during peak travel seasons. Check case counts before your trip.
Hazardous Weather and Natural Disasters in Japan
The most common natural disasters in Japan are earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions due to its geographical location on the “Ring of Fire.”
Earthquakes are common, though most are minor. Major quakes and tsunamis are rare but possible anywhere in Japan.
Typhoons mainly affect southern Japan from June-October. Check weather before visiting.
Crime Groups in Japan
While organized crime groups (yakuza) do exist in Japan, tourists are extremely unlikely to encounter any issues related to these groups. They are not involved in drug trafficking.
These organized crime groups are fairly low-key compared to other countries and do not target tourists. Your chance of any encounter is very low.
Safety for Solo Travelers in Japan
Japan is one of the safest countries in the world for solo travelers. Violent crime is extremely rare, and Japanese culture is very respectful towards women. Solo travelers do not need to take any special precautions besides exercising normal caution.
Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Japan?
Yes, the tap water is perfectly safe to drink anywhere in Japan. Japan has exceptionally high water quality standards. Feel free to drink water directly from any tap during your trip without concern.
7 Safety Tips for Japan
Tip #1 – Learn Basic Etiquette
Knowing proper etiquette like removing shoes indoors shows respect for Japanese culture. Learn some key dos and don’ts.
Tip #2 – Research Japan Travel Insurance
While quite safe, travel insurance for Japan can provide coverage for lost belongings, injuries, or trip interruptions. Compare plans and quotes.
Tip #3 – Don’t Jaywalk
Jaywalking is taken very seriously in Japan. Only cross streets at designated crosswalks. Fines for jaywalking can be steep.
Tip #4 – Avoid Dark Alleys at Night
Japan’s crime rate is extremely low, but isolated side streets or dark alleys at night are best avoided. Stick to well-lit main roads.
Tip #5 – Don’t Break Any Laws
Abide by all laws and social norms in Japan. Japanese authorities do not tolerate any nonsense from tourists.
Tip #6 – Party Safely at Nightclubs
Drink spiking has been reported at some nightlife spots. Never leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from strangers.
Tip #7 – Explore Safely
Whether hiking Mount Fuji or touring Tokyo’s busiest areas, don’t let your guard down. Pay attention to your surroundings and belongings.
FAQs About Safety in Japan
Is Japan safe to visit right now?
Yes, Japan is extremely safe to visit right now. It has very low crime rates, making it one of the safest countries in the world for travelers. Use common sense and enjoy your trip.
Is the US or Japan safer?
Japan is significantly safer than the United States overall. Crime rates for all types of crime are drastically lower in Japan compared to America. Issues like violent crime, gun violence, and petty theft occur much less frequently.
What should you avoid in Japan?
Avoid places associated with organized crime groups, physical or verbal confrontation, drug use, and breaking laws or cultural norms. Japan is strict on following rules and etiquette.
What is the safest city in Japan?
Tokyo and Osaka are globally famous for their low crime rates and safety despite their massive size. Rural areas also tend to be extremely safe. Practice common sense anywhere in Japan.