Earthquakes & Japan Travel Safety TipsAug 10th, 2009 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Travel
Japan has more earthquake activity than almost any place in the world. While we don’t have noticeable earthquakes everyday, they are a common occurrence – one that gets your attention but doesn’t hold it for long unless unless it is longer or stronger than “usual”. The 6.9 magnitude earthquake that was felt in Tokyo last night was an attention getter!
The hanging lamps were swaying quite violently and everything was rattling in our twelfth floor Chiba, Japan apartment for at least a minute while we waited, and wondered, when the shaking would stop. You can read a quote from both me and Honor Dargan, guest contributor on The Nihon Sun and author of Tokyotopia on Galavanting.
What can visitors do to prepare for an earthquake when visiting Japan? Not a lot I’m afraid, but some tips for staying safe include:
- Locate the emergency exits closest to you at your hotel.
- Prop open your hotel room door in case the building buckles – you may not be able to open it otherwise.
- Crouch under a sturdy table or desk, stand under a doorframe or head for the bathroom – these locations are usually the most structurally sound and offer you the most protection.
- Don’t panic or rush out of doors unless absolutely necessary – if you do need to evacuate do so calmly on foot taking only what you need.
- If you are out of doors, look for open spaces and parks that offer protection from debris that may fall off buildings and hillsides.
If you happen to be in a tall building when an earthquake strikes you will likely feel the intensity of the quake more than someone on the ground. Modern buildings in Japan are built on foundations that are meant to withstand earthquakes but they tend to sway more the higher you are!
The chance of you experiencing and earthquake in Japan is pretty good, the chance of it being large enough to cause damage or take lives is much less likely. In fact you may not even notice an earthquake if you are walking or otherwise moving about.
Earthquake Simulations in Japan
The Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center has some video simulations of earthquakes or if you are in Tokyo you can visit the Tokyo Northern Disaster Research Center to experience an earthquake simulator free of charge. The simulations, like the one in the video above, will allow you to experience the exact magnitude and duration of the the 1923 Kanto Earthquake and the 1995 Kobe Earthquake.
The first hand account of the 1923 Kanto Earthquake as experienced on the slopes of Mt. Fuji is also fascinating reading.
Video Credit: YouTube, Earthquake simulation