What safety precautions should I take in Japan?

Grow your spidey sense.
For a truly fun and safe trip, think ahead about what you might do if a problem develops. That way you are prepared even for unlikely contingencies.

Say where you’re going.
When you’re going out, tell your plans to your host family, dorm staff, or friends. If nobody is around, at least leave a note. For overnight or longer, include the name, address, and phone number of your destination. For three days or more, make sure the student coordinators at KCP have your itinerary.

Don’t travel alone.
On an extended trip, it’s safer (and more enjoyable) to travel with companions. Plan in advance for long travel, hotel stays, and so on.

Develop street smarts.
In a large city you need to be more aware of your behavior on the street than in small towns or campuses. Be careful in unfamiliar environments. For example:

  • Ask questions of “safe” persons: shopkeepers, officials, students, or adults with small children.
  • Don’t put valuables in your backpack. Use a money belt or waist pack (with pouch in front) instead.
  • Avoid risky areas, like bars with obnoxious drunks. Don’t pick a fight, and don’t take the bait.
  • Keep a low profile and stay alert.
  • Dress conservatively. Someone dressing in a menacing or military manner may attract the police.
  • Don’t stay out alone at night in unfamiliar territory.
  • Don’t be overly friendly with strangers.  Don’t tell them your personal information or give out your dorm/homestay address.
  • If you are whistled at or receive verbal compliments on the street, try not to take offense. Just move on quickly.
  • Don’t be alone in a closed room with someone of the opposite sex whom you don’t know well.  This important for anyone, in case of either assault or accusation.
  • If your intuition tells you a situation is dangerous, you’re probably right. Act as if it is, and protect yourself.

Don’t look for trouble.
If trouble develops on the streets, resist your curiosity and head in the other direction immediately.

Keep informed.
Embassy bulletins, frequently updated, are posted on the main bulletin board. These tell about any current security issues. Be sure to check them.

Guard your passport.
While in Japan, you must always carry either your passport or a foreign registration card as your official I.D. at all times. But don’t give up your passport to other people.

If you like, you can register with the U.S. Embassy’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).


Fire prevention tips:

  • When you leave a room, turn off all air conditioning and heating units. This saves energy and prevents fire. If a unit is located in your room, remember to turn it off before you go to bed.
  • Don’t put anything burnable (such as laundry) near heating units.
  • Never smoke in bed or in any place that does not have an ash tray.