Summertime is one of the best times to go to Japan because of all the events that you can attend and the activities that you can do this time of the year. From June to September, various festivals are held across the country that can make your trip a lot more interesting and memorable. However, during this period, it is also the typhoon season, so you might be forced to make many last minute changes to your plans that can likely end up ruining your entire vacation. How do you deal with these? What can you do to still make your Japan adventure fun and exciting despite the terrible weather conditions?
Overview of typhoons in Japan
From May to October every year, Japan gets hit by typhoons that bring torrential rains and fast and strong winds. It is especially bad in the months of August and September, which are the peak of the typhoon season.
On average, Japan is impacted by about 11 of the 26 typhoons that form in the Pacific each year. Of the 11, about 3 directly hit and make landfall, usually in the lower latitudes and southern areas of the country.
Effects of typhoons in Japan
If your trip to Japan coincides with its typhoon season, it is important to be aware of how your sightseeing and touring plans may be affected. The following are typical scenarios to expect shortly before, during, and after a typhoon hits the country:
- International and domestic flights may be delayed, rerouted, or even cancelled.
- Train and bus services may be delayed or cancelled too.
- Some malls, restaurants, shops, and other business establishments may shorten their hours or temporarily close.
- Theme parks, museums, shrines, temples, and other tourist attractions may not be open.
- Affected areas may experience power outages that may last for a few hours to several days.
- Roads may be blocked by fallen trees or other debris, and closed from traffic.
- There may be an interruption of water services.
Things to do in case of a typhoon in Japan
During a typhoon, you have to practice extreme care and caution. It is a natural phenomenon that can cause various damage and destruction not only to properties and infrastructure, but also to people.
- Check the weather forecast before your Japan trip. That way, you can alter your plans, such as rebook your plane tickets, change your hotel reservation dates, cancel your restaurant bookings, and others if there is a typhoon coming.
- Get in touch with your airline to know if your flights are delayed, rerouted, or cancelled, and make a decision on the best thing to do for your safety.
- Contact your hotel, hostel, or inn to confirm that your reservation is good, and their location is safe and secure during a typhoon.
- Once in Japan, constantly look up weather forecasts to effectively plan out your sightseeing days.
- If there is only light rain, bring an umbrella when you go out. You can get a cheap one at any convenience stores for a few hundred yen.
- If heavy rainfall is expected where you are, avoid taking part in outdoor activities in the area. Hiking to the summit of Mt. Fuji or cycling the Shimanami Kaido if there is a typhoon hitting Kanagawa Prefecture or Hiroshima Prefecture is a terrible idea. Instead, do indoor activities, like visiting museums and shopping.
- Do not go near bodies of water or mountains as these places are at high risk of flooding, high waves, and landslides.
- Stay indoors if the weather involves very strong winds. Things like large billboards and solid bricks sometimes can get blown away, and can lead to serious injuries or even death.
- Close all windows and doors in your room. Stay away from the windows as glass may shatter due to strong winds.
- Communicate with your hotel or hostel about the evacuation process in case the situation gets worse.
- Study the hazard maps found all over the city or town you are in to know where the emergency meeting points and evacuation areas in the vicinity are.
- Stock up on food and water in your hotel room. Pick up flashlights and batteries too. You can go to a nearby convenience store or supermarket to get these before the weather conditions get worse.
- Recharge your battery pack, phone, tablet, laptop, and other devices.
- Keep your passport and other travel documents in a waterproof bag that you should always keep close to you.
- Do not panic. Call your home country’s embassy in Japan for more information and assistance.
Important websites, numbers, and apps
Below are websites, phone numbers, and mobile apps that can help you during Japan’s typhoon season:
- Japan Meteorological Agency – This website provides the latest and most up-to-date information on typhoons in Japan. Bookmark it to get daily weather forecasts for your trip. It is also a reliable resource for earthquakes and tsunami advisories and warnings.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan – This website has a list of the major embassies and consulates found in Japan. You can find their addresses and contact numbers there as well.
- 119 – You can call this number in case of a fire or if you are in need of an ambulance/rescue service.
- 03 3201 3331 – This is the number to Japan National Tourism Organization’s Tourist Information Center.
- 03 3580 3311 – This is the number to call to get in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Safety tips (Free download: iOS | Android) – This app was introduced by the Japan Tourism Agency to help international visitors get up-to-date information on typhoons, earthquakes, tsunami, and other natural disasters happening in Japan.
- Typhoon Tracker (Free download: iOS | Android) – This app gives you information on the intensity and location of current typhoons in the Asia Pacific region. It also provides satellite video footages.