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Typhoon Season In Japan: Facts And Safety Tips

The weather is apparently the first factor to consider when and where to go on a vacation. Spring with pleasant weather or summer with bright sunshine is surely the perfect time that many travelers choose to travel to Japan. In the autumn or winter, Japan also attracts millions of foreign visits, but the rank of visitors in these tourists in these seasons can not bear comparison with that of the 2 first ones. Do you know the reason? It is because that time is the typhoon season in Japan. However, if you decide not to travel to Japan in these months just to avoid a typhoon, you will miss many wonderful sceneries. Therefore, Question Japan will provide some basic information about the Japanese typhoon season and some safety tips to overcome the typhoons.

Things You Need to know about typhoon season in Japan

What is a typhoon? 

A typhoon (台風, taifū) is a large low-pressure system, originating over the Northwest Pacific Ocean. Water vapor rises from the warm surface of the ocean, then condenses to form clouds. The clouds rise into towering columns. As the warm, moist air rises, it cools and begins to sink. The wind begins to circle in the center like water going down a drain. This gives the storm its characteristic spin. The wind speed can reach up to 200 km/h, accompanied by torrential rainfall.

typhoon season in Japan

This map shows the tracks of all tropical typhoons in the 2017 Pacific typhoon season

Depend on the location of the formation process and directions of the storm, typhoon is called by different names:

  • Typhoons develop in the equatorial waters of the Pacific and move toward Asia.
  • Cyclones develop to the east of Africa or the northwest of Australia.
  • Hurricanes develop in the Caribbean region of the Atlantic Ocean or in the Pacific to the west of Central America.

In Japan, people don’t coin the names for typhoons, but call them by the order they approach the mainland. The names that we often heard of are international names.

Typhoon season in Japan

The Japanese typhoon season lasts from May to October, reaching a peak in August and September. The later the typhoons come, the stronger they are. According to statistics of Japan Meteorological Agency, about 30 typhoons form each year over the Northwest Pacific Ocean, of which an average of about seven or eight passes over Okinawa Prefecture, and about three hit the Japanese main islands, especially Kyushu and Shikoku. Therefore, there is no need to avoid traveling in these months. Moreover, as Japan is susceptible to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and, of course, typhoons, the government has employed many building codes and other methods to shield the nation and minimize the effects of any disaster.

typhoon season in Japan

Super typhoon Hagibis tracks toward Japan

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Effect 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.  Damages and incidents are unavoidable. 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 canceled.
  • Train and bus services may be delayed or canceled 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.

Despite having been accustomed to disaster prevention and well advanced- forecasted, Japan still has to endure the severe damages from “super typhoon” in history and until now. 2019 is a deadly year when two superstorms Faxai and Hagibis struck Japan, resulting in tens of death, hundreds of the injured and missing and long hours of power outage, etc.

Safety tips to overcome the typhoons

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.

Before getting to the destination:

  • Check the weather forecast before your Japan trip. That way, you can alter your plans, such as re-book 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 canceled, 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.
japanese typhoon season

Check the weather forecast before your Japan trip to avoid typhoon

During the storm:

  • 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 store 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 blown-away large billboards and solid bricks 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.
japan typhoon season

Do not panic!

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Conclusion

All things considered, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. We hope that the information and safety tips above can help you get to know about the typhoon season in Japan and make a good preparation for your trips. If there are any problems that you want to discuss further, feel free to type it in the comment section.

About Yuu Hiasa

Yuu Hiasa has been working in hospitality industry since 2003. In the past, he used to work as a tour guide and now he is running his business of supplying comfortable accommodations in Japan. Thanks to this experience and his passion for writing blog, the articles by him provides awesome tips and things to do when you are traveling in the country of cherry blossoms.