Travel Health Information For Japan

The Land of the Rising Sun - Japan, is a country where the past and future are combined offering travelers to the country a truly unique experience. Japanese culture and tradition still feature heavily in the day to day lives of the Japanese people, however they are also known to set unique and unusual trends in fashion, electronics and in the area of technology.

Japan is often difficult to understand for those who have grown up in western civilization, as the country can seem to be full of contradictions with cities which are so modern, featuring state of the art high tech solutions and yet traditional wooden shacks can still be spotted sandwiched next to glass fronted multi story apartment buildings.

On just about any subway ride through the city, you might see childishly cute over sized cartoon character or young Japanese women dressed in unusual outfits. Japan is filled with beautiful temples and gardens for locals and tourists alike to relax and invigorate their spirit. In the middle of modern skyscrapers you will discover sliding wooden doors which lead to traditional chambers with tatami mats, shoji screens, and calligraphy where traditional tea ceremonies take place.

Japan is one of the safest nations in the world for tourists, however earthquakes in the region are frequently reported in the news, with the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and subsequent Fukushima nuclear incident fresh in the minds of many people even today.

Overall, Japan is a safe country for travelers, and has ranked equal 10th with Ireland in the top 10 Global Peace Index 2017.


Shinto shrines are places of worship and the dwellings of the kami, the Shinto 'gods'. Sacred objects of worship that represent the kami are stored in the innermost chamber of the shrine where they cannot be seen by anybody.

People visit shrines in order to pay respect to the kami or to pray for good fortune. Shrines are also visited during special events such as New Year, setsubun, shichigosan and other festivals. New born babies are traditionally brought to a shrine a few weeks after birth with many couples choosing to hold their wedding ceremonies there.

Japanese cuisine (和食, washoku) offers an abundance of gastronomical delights with an enviable variety of regional and seasonal dishes as well as international cuisine. Restaurants range from mobile food stands to centuries old ryotei or seasonally erected terraces over rivers, cheap chain shops and uniquely themed restaurants featuring ninjas and robots. Many restaurants specialize in a single type of dish while others offer a variety of dishes.

Japan is a shopping paradise with a wealth of stores selling everything from traditional souvenirs and local food to the latest electronics and hottest fashion brands. Both domestic and foreign brands are represented, as are stores for all budgets from the 100 yen shops to high-end fashion boutiques and department stores.


Large cities such as Tokyo and Osaka sport several shopping districts, each with their own unique character which are conveniently grouped around major train stations. Small stores are also found in shopping centers, along covered shopping arcades and in extensive underground malls. Outside of the city centers large big box retailers, outlet malls and suburban shopping malls compete for shoppers with lots of variety provided for the locals.

When heading away to any destination, older travelers should take the time to undertake and pre-prepare for their journey away from home. Different climates and conditions can sometimes pose a risk to travelers of any age, with many unknowingly placing themselves at risk of exposure to illness or disease.

The following information provides the traveler with a list of known exposure risks for those considering traveling to Japan. Always consult with your Doctor before traveling overseas.

Note: The following material has been provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to be relied on as a substitute for professional medical advice. No person should act, fail to act, disregard professional medical advice, or delay seeking professional medical advice on the basis of this material. The Travelnanna website, nor its representatives does not guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of any of this information and will not be liable for any loss, damage or injury directly or indirectly caused by this material or its use.


This very common infectious disease can now be prevented through immunization. Many people miss the disease in childhood only to have a significant illness as an adult.


Travelers passing through crowded venues like airports or on commuter transport are susceptible to influenza which is one of the most common vaccine preventable travel related illnesses. Vaccination against influenza is generally highly recommended.

Japanese Encephalitis

JE is a mosquito borne viral disease prevalent in rural areas of Asia that can lead to serious brain infection in humans. Risk is greatest during the monsoon months however the risk is generally very low for most travelers. Vaccines are available if the exposure risk is deemed to be high.

Measles, Mumps, Rubella

Vaccination is recommended for travelers born after 1966 who cannot confirm they have received two doses of measles containing vaccine. Since 1990, this may have been the combination vaccine MMR (measles, mumps and rubella). There have been previous outbreaks of measles and rubella in Japan in recent years.

Tetanus, Pertussis, Diphtheria

Tetanus is caused by a toxin released by common dust or soil bacteria which enters the body through a wound. Diphtheria is a bacterial infection of the throat and less frequently, the skin. Pertussis or whooping cough (known as the 100 day cough in Chinese) is a highly infectious respiratory infection responsible for over 300,000 deaths annually, mainly in children. These three illnesses are preventable and covered in the same vaccine.

Traveler’s Diarrhoea

Up to 40% of tourists may develop three or more loose bowel motions a day within the first week of travel. A variety of germs can be responsible for this infection and a travelers may choose to pack products such as Gastro-Stop to remedy the problem quickly.


Sandra Hawkins

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