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Avoid troubles in Japan: Prepare for your trip; Purchasable emergency kits available in Japan!

You may face troubles while you are traveling in Japan. Let’s have a look at what you should prepare for and what to use as an emergency kit.

What problems may arise during your stay in Japan?

The islands of Japan are located directly above the Ring of Fire. Natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes are commonplace. You may even find yourself in other difficult situations; typhoons, torrential rain, floods, landslides, heavy snow, volcanic eruptions, etc.
There’s a chance you may even get stuck on a train or in an elevator. Although this could just as easily happen elsewhere.
Japan is famous for its safety, yet there are still crimes you should be aware of. Women need to protect themselves against sexual molesters or even secret photography, etc. Illness and injury are more of the common problems you should be prepared for.
For more information on natural disasters in Japan, read this article:
How to Deal with Emergency Situations in Japan

Things highly recommended to do before setting off to Japan

Smartphone, Battery Charger and Payment Plan

You should take a smartphone that’s easy for you to use. Telephone payment systems differ from country to country, company to company, so don’t forget to check if you can use a certain payment plan overseas. There could be huge bills waiting for you in your home country.
Battery chargers for iPhones and androids are available at convenience stores in Japan. Or you could just bring one from home.
For information on Japanese Wi-Fi, read on:
A must-read before you head out for your trip! A Perfect Guide to Using Wi-Fi in Japan

Websites and Apps

First of all, please check any information on Japan announced by the government of the country you live in. There may be useful information on Japan and some precautions on traveling in Japan.
After checking for basic information, let’s have a look at some informative sites and prepare some useful apps.

-Informative Sites and Useful Apps
Let’s check out websites full of information on Japan, and install some useful apps that may be useful for your survival. I recommend the “WOW!JAPAN” site and its official app. It doesn’t just provide a ton of information on sightseeing but also has various articles with plenty of tips that will help you during your travels.

-“Safety Tips” App
This app was developed with help from the Japan Tourism Agency. It informs travelers of information on current natural disasters in Japan. You can change the language setting by tapping the mark on the upper right-hand corner. The app announces various warnings on earthquakes, weather, volcanic activity and heat stroke. Moreover, it has a route searcher, learning materials on natural disasters, communication cards which you can use during disasters, emergency contact information, civil protection information, and useful links. Each topic is worth checking.

-“Disaster Preparedness Tokyo” Site and its App
This site and app were based on the book called “Tokyo Bosai (Tokyo Preparedness)” which was published by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office four years ago. On the site you can choose from one of 10 languages. The app has a mascot named Bosai the Rhino, and he informs you on how to act in a disaster through games, quizzes and simulations.

-Translation Apps
Various kinds of translation apps are available. Among those translation apps, Jspeak (Hanashite Honyaku), developed by NTT Docomo, can be set to one of 14 languages including English and Japanese. From the “Translation” button on the WOW!JAPAN’s top page, you can reach a Google Play site to install the app. For iPhone, please use the Apple Store and search for “Jspeak”.

-Camera App
I guess that every smartphone carries a camera app, but it is better to have a separate app which does not make a shutter noise. A silent camera app is useful for taking photos of food in restaurants (but refrain from taking photos in prohibited areas).

Taking photos are not only useful at preserving your memories in Japan, but also to record evidence of crimes and damages in order to receive insurance money. It would also be a good idea to take photos of your valuables beforehand in case of damage or theft.

Get Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to buy travel insurance in case of any damages such as theft, disease and injury. The hospitalization can be costly. It is also hard to communicate with hospital staff about money. Insurance which offers an interpreter service is preferable.
In addition, if your valuables are stolen, some of them might be covered by your insurance plan. So before buying travel insurance, please check how much it covers, costs, how the operator service is, and if the insurance company has employees that can help you in Japan.

What if you lose your smartphone?

Smartphones are useful and without one life can be difficult! Have you ever thought about what losing your smartphone overseas might entail? Your important data might be safe on a cloud service, but how about the phone number? Do you remember your parents’ phone numbers? How about other important numbers and passwords?

I highly recommend keeping a memo of the location and phone number of your country’s embassy in Japan. The help desk phone number for your travel insurance, the phone number of credit card companies are useful in case you face any troubles. This kind of information should be written down and you should keep two copies: one for yourself while you travel, and another for your family back at home.

It is also a good idea to make a copy of your passport page in case you lose it. By having a copy you could limit complications for when you reissue it. It may be better to use a valuable keeper described below for any of the documentation you may need.

If you are staying at a hotel, keep the hotel card with you whenever you go out. In case you get lost, you can show the card to someone and find your way back .

Convenient Goods for Emergencies you can Purchase in Japan

-Disposable Masks
Upon your arrival in Japan, you may notice that many people wear masks. They do so not only for protection against the common cold, cough or hay fever, but also to prevent any contagious infections. Moreover, some ladies wear masks when they don’t have any make-up on!
Of course you can use them as a dust cover or to prevent catching a cold in the case of an emergency.

As you may know, it is a traditional Japanese cloth to wrap things in. It is usually a colorful square-shaped cloth and is made of cotton, chemical materials, and sometimes plastic. There are many ways to wrap your possessions according to what you want to carry.
For emergency kits, you can use furoshiki as a scarf or blanket when it is cold. If you do not want to directly sit on the ground you can even spread it as a picnic sheet.

-Dry Shampoo
It is uncomfortable if you can’t wash your hair for days, especially when staying in a hospital or at an evacuation center. In the situation that you cannot have a bath or shower, or maybe if there is a shortage of water, this product called “dry shampoo” will be beneficial to you. Even with the absence of water, your hair and skin can be refreshed.

-Valuable Carriers
In emergency situations such as natural disasters, you may spend time with people you don’t know at an evacuation center. There may even be a possibility of thefts. It is best to hide your valuables (including the memo mentioned above!) under your cloths.
You can find various kinds of valuable carriers at travel stores in Japan. How about buying one in Japan and using it for your travels?

Please do not be too scared of these troubles. If you are well prepared, you can avoid them. Enjoy staying in Japan!

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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