As many foreigners may be aware, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in 2011. Japan is prone to earthquakes. And it is important to be prepared for earthquakes at all times. There are risks throughout Japan. If you encounter an earthquake in Japan, what would you do?

With increasing number of foreign visitor recent days, various countermeasures of disasters have been studied and implemented.  In the case of the Kumamoto Earthquake in 2016, many foreign visitors stayed in Kumamoto acted to ask about a mean of leave away from Kumamoto. In fact, when a major earthquake occurs, transportation does not work at the moment, and in such cases, it is necessary to take measures of evacuation following instruction of municipalities, police, and fire department.  It is important that you evacuate as instructed.

However, many foreigners didn’t go an evacuation shelter and didn’t receive material aid such as food &water and other supplies at that time, because of the language problems and foreigners sometimes unfamiliar with earthquakes. At least the means to protect yourself must be considered by the tourists themselves.

Intensity scale (Shindo)

Apart from the magnitude, the earthquake level is represented by the earthquake intensity scale(Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale). If it is more than 5, the event could be on air as a breaking news.

Feeling an earthquake, the following two points are important:

1, to protect yourself

2, Be careful  fallen objects

Inside a house or building: Stay calm and immediately protecting yourself to hide under a desk.

Outdoors: Protect your head with your back or hand, and move away from the hazard of falling glass and building materials presented by buildings in your proximity.

Inside moving vehicles: Do not panic and follow the instructions of the bus driver or train personnel and calmly proceed to evacuate the vehicle.

Near Coastal areas: Evacuate from areas close to the sea. As coastal areas may be in danger from tsunamis, relocate to higher ground as soon as possible.


Evacuation shelters and Evacuation safe areas.

An evacuation shelter or Hinan-jo is a public place as an emergency shelter for citizens who lost their homes during instances of disasters like earthquakes and floods. Public buildings and elementary schools are commonly assigned as Evacuation Shelters by municipalities.

An Evacuation Safe Areas or Hinan-basho, on the other hand, is a wide area like a park or courtyard where people may gather for safety when a particular disaster strikes.


Emergency 119

Fire/Rescue/Ambulance    Call 119

1, Dial 119

2, Tell if it is fire or emergency.

3, Tell the location (address or landmark)

4, Explain the condition of the patient or the level of fire.

5, Leave your name and phone number.