Japan is an earthquake-prone country, but that means that procedures to follow in the case of a major quake are well-rehearsed, and larger buildings such as hotels, shopping centres etc. are prepared with emergency equipment and supplies. If you are in such a building or complex, follow the instructions of local staff. But if the information provided in English is not clear or adequate, follow these general official guidelines:

General official guidelines:
• Extinguish any fires and turn off electrical appliances.
• Open any doors leading out of the room you’re in, as they often get jammed shut, blocking your exit.
• Stay away from windows because of splintering glass. If you have time, draw the curtains to contain the glass.
• Don’t rush outside (many people are injured by falling masonry), but get under something solid, such as a ground-floor doorway, or a desk.
• If you are outside when the quake hits, head for the nearest park or other open space.
• If the earthquake occurs at night, make sure you’ve got a torch (all hotels, ryokan, etc provide flashlights in the rooms).
• When the tremors have died down, go to the nearest open space, taking your documents and other valuables with you. It’s also a good idea to take a cushion or pillow to protect your head against falling glass.
• Eventually, make your way to the designated neighbourhood emergency centre and get in touch with your embassy.

At the airport:

All normal announcements will be interrupted, and an announcement will be made along the lines of:
“It is an emergency earthquake bulletin, please be aware of strong shakes.” This will be repeated in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean.

On hearing this announcement, you should:
– Ensure your safety and wait until the shaking stops
– Move away from windows and any other glass panels, and stay close to pillars and walls
– If in a lift, do not panic but wait calmly for the rescue service
– Follow the guidance of airport staff and act calmly

As soon as it is safe to do so, contact our operating company in Japan who is responsible for your travel arrangements, using the telephone numbers provided (office number if during Mon-Fri 09:00-18:00 Japan time, or out-of-office number outside these times).
A useful free app to alert you of earthquakes throughout Japan is Yurekuru Call.