Safe To Visit Tokyo

With the British Government now saying it’s safe to visit Tokyo & all other parts of Japan outside the most directly affected areas north east of Tokyo, the Japan National Tourist Organisation (JNTO) have added a list of FAQs to their website. Anyone considering a trip to Japan since the earthquake should find these answers both useful and reassuring:

Frequently Asked Questions Following the Earthquake & Tsunami
April 07, 2011

Can I still visit Japan?
Yes. Many parts of Japan, including popular holiday destinations such as Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Okinawa, are outside the area affected by the earthquake and tsunami and received no disruption to infrastructure. Everything in these areas continues to operate as normal.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office say it is safe to visit all parts of Japan, except the areas north east of Tokyo most directly affected by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.

Train services in and around Tokyo were restored soon after the earthquake. Visitors to Tokyo can use public transport to travel around the city. Some hotels and other businesses have shortened business hours, so it is recommended to check their websites in advance.

North-eastern Tohoku is the area that was worst affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Due to the destruction of necessary services and the ongoing disaster relief activities in this area, visitors are asked to refrain from visiting the area and travel within the exclusion zone surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is currently prohibited.

The Fukushima power plant is 200 kilometres north of Tokyo, 580 kilometres from Osaka (around the same distance as London to Dijon) and 1,770 kilometres from Okinawa (about the same distance as London to Sicily).

A joint statement from the World Health Organisation, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organisation, the International Maritime Organisation and the International Civil Aviation Organisation has reaffirmed that there is no current restriction on international flights, and operations can continue normally into and out of Japan’s major airports and sea ports. Commercial flights are operating at all airports except for Sendai Airport.

Will my travel insurance cover me if I visit Japan?
Yes. As the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office say it is safe to visit all parts of Japan, except the areas north east of Tokyo most directly affected by the earthquake and tsunami, most major travel insurance providers will cover your holiday in Japan. Please be sure to double-check check with your provider before you go.

Image © JNTO

Can I travel around the country on public transport?
Yes. Transport networks, such as roads, railways, airports and ports, are now almost completely back to normal outside the disaster zone. Visitors to Japan can use public transport to travel around all major cities – eg. Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka – and the bullet train network to travel between cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto and Osaka and Hiroshima.

In disaster affected areas, most main roads including expressways have recovered and the rail network has recovered up to about 60% of regular levels. The Tohoku bullet train line is being reopened in sections, with full recovery scheduled by then end of April. For aviation, all airports except Sendai Airport are open and in operation. For maritime transport, all ports are open and in operation with certain limitations.

What about the situation of radiation in Japan?
Areas outside the 30 kilometre exclusion zone surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant have been evaluated to have permissible levels of radiation. Environmental radioactivity levels by prefecture, including Tokyo, are monitored constantly and the readings are readily available to the general public. For more information, please refer to the Japanese Government Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) website, where you will find readings of environmental radioactivity level by prefecture.

Is the food & water safe?
Water
Tap water can be used for washing hands, bathing and drinking. For anyone who would prefer to drink bottled water, it is readily available in supermarkets and convenience stores. Radioactive materials in tap water are monitored everyday. For more information, please refer to the Japanese Government Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s website.

Food
Radioactive materials in food products are monitored everyday. The Government of Japan restricts the distribution and consumption of produce that is found to have radiation level exceeding the standard which is set by the Government. For more information, please refer to the Japanese Government Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s website.

Is there enough food & water?
Yes. There were some initial problems with distribution of supplies in the earthquake and tsunami affected areas due to damage done to the areas road, rail and shipping infrastructures. However, steady supplies of food and water have now been secured and are being distributed to people in the rescue centres and homes in the affected areas.

In other areas, including Tokyo, there are no longer any problems with shortages. Food, water and all other essentials are in plentiful supply.

Can I book a trip to Japan?
Yes, absolutely!

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