1. Announcement Regarding Travels to Kagoshima and the Eruption on Kuchinoerabu Island
(update: May 29th, 2015)
At 10:20 on the same day as the eruption warning (residential areas) which was issued for Kuchinoerabu Island (Yakushima Town) at 10:07 on 29 May 2015, an official evacuation of the residents of Kuchinoerabu Island (Yakushima Town) was issued.
Yakushima Island is approx. 12km east-southeast away from Kuchinoerabu Island, and, except for Yakushima-Kuchinoerabu Island services, Yakushima inbound and outbound flight and ferry services are operating as usual.
Kagoshima Prefecture and Yakushima Island remain safe to visit.
Kagoshima Travel Guide
JMA : About the eruption of Kuchinoerabu (in Japanese)
JMA : Volcanic Warnings
2. About Restricted Area Around Oowakudani
(update: May 29th, 2015, Still current at May 29th, 2015)
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) raised the volcano alert, from normal 1 to level 2, for the Oowakudani Park in Hakone town of Kanagawa prefecture, where the volcano vent is, at 6:00 a.m. May 6th.
According to the JMA announcement, Hakone local government issued an evacuation order for Oowakudani Park area based on its regional emergency plan. This is the action to keep tourists to this area safe.
The volcano alert level 2, the Near-Crater Warning is being issued for a 300-meter radius around the Oowakudani volcano vent. Therefore the operation of Hakone Ropeway suspended because its service running through Oowakudani. The car roads and hiker's courses to there also are all shut down.
This action is effective only for the limited area near the Oowakudani vent, not expanded to the other Hakone area. Except Oowakudani area, the transportation services, hotels and inns, restaurants and shops are operating as usual, the residents lives are normal.
That is why we wish the tourists stay and enjoy the Hakone, while carefully listening the information from the local government and agencies.
*note The volcano alert level 2 is issued when the volcano eruption is occurred or expected to be occurred. And under such a condition, except the volcano vent and its 300-meter radius around area, normal daily activities are possible.
Hakone Portal Website (by Hakone Tourist Association)
Volcanic Warnings (JMA)
3. The Effect from the Eruption of Mt. Ontake (update: Oct. 28th, 2014, still current at: Mar. 9, 2015)
Mt. Ontake, a 3067-meter volcano located on the west side of the Kiso Valley, erupted around noon on September 27th, 2014.
According to the Nagano Prefecture Tourism Department, the mountain is currently closed for climbing until further notice. Nearby Route 19, the amin highway along the Kiso Valley, as well as the JR Chuo Line which also runs along the Kiso Valley, and the Chuo Expressway are all operating as usual.
Tourist destinations in Nagano Prefecture (such as Matsumoto, Kamikochi, Kiso Valley including Tsumago) as well as Gifu Prefecture (such as Takayama, Gero, Shirakawa-go, Okuhida region and Magome) are not affected and safe to visit.
The only area to be affected by the eruption is a 4km radius cautionary zone that has been set up around Mt. Ontake for danger of falling ash.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism reports the following regarding to the tourism-related facilities.
- Ontake Ropeway (gondola) has suspended the operation.
- Ontake Kotsu Company suspended two bus routes around the mountain.
- Entry to local roads to Mt. Ontake are restricted.
- No other roads, railways and transport facilities are affected.
- There is no airport closure or flight cancellation.
Information of Nagano Prefecture
Information of Gifu Prefecture
Information of Takayama City
4. Tourist Information Center
Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) continues to release updates and provide travel-related information on its website.
For visitors currently traveling in Japan, the Tokyo Headquarters of Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) provides information service at the Tourist Information Center (TIC):
TIC in Tokyo
1st Fl, Shin-Tokyo Building, 3-3-1, Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005
Service in English, Chinese and Korean
Open Daily (except Jan. 1) from 9am to 5pm
5. Post-Earthquake and Tsunami Situation
We are grateful for the warm support and thoughts from many people after the historic earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011.
Despite Japan experiencing an unprecedented natural disaster in March 2011, the majority of Japan, including popular tourist destinations, withstood the natural disaster and rapidly recovered. The U.S. Department of State removed the travel alert to Japan on April 13, 2012, stating that "tourist facilities are widely available, except in coastal areas of Northeast Japan still recovering from the aftermath of the March, 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami."
International organizations such as IAEA and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, have affirmed the condition of the reactors as stable and safe. The U.S. government recommends that U.S. citizens avoid all unnecessary travel to areas described by the Japanese government on the following map (Japanese version map ).
The Current Radiation Level in Japan
Except for the neighboring areas near the nuclear power plants, there is no dangerous level of radiation detected in Japan. Tokyo is NOT within radiation contamination area, as it is located over 200km (124 miles) away from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant facilities. The radiation level in Tokyo is similar to that of New York City.
You can confirm the international comparison of radiation level here.
Government's Decision on Addressing the Contaminated Water Issue
In order to tackle the contaminated water issue at the TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plants, the Government of Japan has decided, mobilizing expertise of all the government authority, to play a further proactive role in taking countermeasures against the issue. In this context, on 3rd September, the Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters decided "Basic Policy for the Contaminated Water Issues at the TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.（PDF） " Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) considers public health and safety as the top priority for international travelers to Japan, and continues to provide latest information from Japanese and international authorities and regulators.
At present, statistically-significant increase of radioactive concentration in the sea outside the port of the TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi NPS has not been detected. However, the Government of Japan will continue to pay the closest attention to the situation, make every effort to work on the contaminated water leakage issue, and provide information to the international community in an appropriate way.
Basic Facts on Influence of Contaminated Water
Influence of contaminated water is limited in the port of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants, which is smaller than 0.3km2 (74 acres). The government's monitoring system detects that the radiation level of the sea water stays below the standard of 10 Bq/L. The government's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters has issued the basic policy for the contaminated water issues here.
How is the safety of drinking water and food in Japan?
Products distributed to the public, including food and water, are rigorously inspected and approved by Japanese authorities for contamination safety. The Japanese government has instituted a food product monitoring system from the world's highest level of standard, screening over 412,000 agricultural products. So far, there are only 2,866 items (0.69%) has exceeding level of radiation, and these items have been already removed from distribution and disposed. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is disclosing results from the current radiation test on food and water here:
Tap Water: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/index_water_supply.html
Other food products:
http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/2011eq/index_food_radioactive.html (updated daily)
Embassy of the United States in Japan
Radiation, Health and Food Safety Information Post-Fukushima
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
The office of Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
World Health Organization (WHO)
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
(Statements from international authorities)
6. Useful Links