Japan is a beautiful and peaceful country but sometimes Mother Nature reminds you who
is the boss!
Typhoon, tsunami, earthquakes, landslides, flooding … you must be prepared to deal with
any of these natural disasters.
Here are some actions you can do before, during and after a natural disaster:
Get access to the information thanks to websites and apps:
First, you need to be informed as soon as possible (when it is predictable of course).
For every kind of disaster, the Hyogo Emergency net will send you an email or a text message.
The translation is not so good, but it can be helpful. You can subscribe there: https://bosai.net/e/regist/index.html
For earthquakes and tsunami, we like the Yurukuru App : it will notify you the outbreak of an
earthquake, you can know information of a tsunami and how was the last seismic intensity in your
area or wherever you want. According to the seismic intensity level you asked, you can receive an
alert when an earthquake is occurring in your area. Maybe select level 4 or 5 to get an alert when
you must be covered. In your phone settings, allow Yurukuru notification even when your phone is
on “do not disturb” mode.
You can also have access to the Japan Meteorological Agency website where you can see the
evolution of tropical cyclone: https://www.jma.go.jp/bosai/map.html#5/34.488/137/&elem=all&contents=warning or the landslide risks: https://www.jma.go.jp/bosai/en_risk/#zoom:5/lat:33.998027/lon:135.021973/colordepth:normal/elements:land
We also like the Accuweather App, but there is many more meteorological app you can
Secure your home:
- Attach the furniture to the walls in case of earthquakes
- Identify the tables or similar protective shelter where you could go under quickly to be covered
- Identify the closest emergency shelter to your home
- do not let any items outside when there is a risk of typhoon. It can very easily fly off, even
heavy items. Close any window shutters if available.
- Place a pair of shoes close to your bed in the event of glass breaking at night-time due to an earthquake or a typhoon.
- post a note somewhere all the family members can have access (like the fridge!) with the
emergencies number and what to say in Japanese.
Prepare an emergency kit with all you might need for a few days during or after a natural disaster.
This is a non-exhaustive list, you may adjust it to your own needs! Anyway, take a moment to do it,
as soon as possible. It’s really worth it in case of any natural disaster. Your emergency kit should
- Matches and candles
- Radio (you might have no more Internet connection). Be sure to select an English
speaking channel radio if you are not fluent in japanese (https://cocolo.jp/https://cocolo.jp/ 76.5 or https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/radio/ Live Schedule - Radio . Programs frequency band from 6 MHz to 21 MHz)
- First-aid kit: gauzes, disinfectant, band aids, anything to heal some injuries
- Water: plastic water bottle (2L per person a day is recommended) In the event of a typhoon (which is predictable), you can fill your bathtub of water.
- Dry food or cans: food that does not require any heating or even water
- Can opener, knife
- What I called an “evacuation bag”: money, medicines, official papers like passports, residence card, ID…
- Baby stuff if you have a baby (baby food, diapers and wipes, changes)
- Pet food: be sure to have enough if you are stuck for a while
- Batteries for flashlights and radio
- Fully charged power banks for your electronic devices like phones
- Utility gloves
- Survival blankets
- Shoes and some clothes
In many stores you will find some useful items like multifunction flashlights, portable toilet with
While a typhoon or an earthquake is occurring, stay inside.
Don’t go outside for any reason. There are many risks to be hit by a flying object.
Stay away from windows that can break.
For big quakes, a warning may occur, via radio, on the TV screen, or a mobile phone alarm.
Do not panic: buildings in Japan are made to withstand earthquakes.
If shaking is increasing, drop to the floor and cover your head underneath a table or a similar protective shelter. Do not go out!
Turn off the stove and other gas appliances. Close the main gas valve. Turn off the circuit breaker.
If a tsunami alert is announced, evacuate to areas north of Route 43. If you cannot, evacuate to a
high place or to a sturdy building higher than three stories.
After the disaster, assess the situation.
Check is someone in your family/friends is injured. If so, contact the Medical Emergency:
119: Medical Emergency and Fire Brigade, ambulances or fire services
If there are any damages, turn off all utilities (water, electricity, gas). Leave the building if you can.
Limit the use of your phone.
You will find more local information on the Ashiya city guidebook:
Other useful websites:
- Japan National Tourism Organization :Safe Travel Information | Travel Japan（Japan National Tourism Organization）
- Japan’s public broadcaster:NHK WORLD-JAPAN
- Helpful apps and websites in the event of a disaster:防災ガイドブック_レイアウト_翻訳用_英語 (bousai.go.jp)
- Disaster preparedness actions: Untitled (tokyo.lg.jp)
- Train Service Status Information (JR): JR-EAST - East Japan Railway Company (jreast.co.jp)
And now we hope that you will never have to experience one of these natural disasters!
Did you know?
Japan measures earthquakes with both Shindo Scale and the Richter scale to express the strength of
Each step of the Shindo Scale explains you how will feel the person who is experiencing an
Shindo 1: Hardly noticeable
Shindo 2: Slight shaking.
Shindo 3: Can be felt, objects rattle.
Shindo 4: Strong shaking, unsecured objects can fall.
Shindo 5 lower: Most unstable objects fall, furniture moves. Very strong shaking.
Shindo 5 upper: Heavy furniture starts to fall over. Unreinforced walls can collapse.
Shindo 6 lower: Most furniture falls. Damage to less earthquake-resistant houses possible.
Shindo 6 upper: Movement is only possible by crawling. Furniture is displaced. Houses may collapse.
Shindo 7 and up: Movement is impossible. Heavy damage to buildings.