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Traveling to japan at 18 years of age? 2010/5/16 04:46
Hello people, im intrested in going to japan within the next 3 months when i have leave from the Army.

I was wondering if its safe to walk around japan by yourself at this age with a small ability of speaking Japanese and wether people may try to take advantage in a way if i cannot speak i etc etc.

Also if theres anything i cannot do being 18 eg the laws of drinking/smoking.

Help would be appreciated.

by Pastieman91  

... 2010/5/16 11:03
I was wondering if its safe to walk around japan by yourself at this age with a small ability of speaking Japanese and wether people may try to take advantage in a way if i cannot speak i etc etc.

Japan is a very safe country, and locals generally do not try to take advantage of tourists like it is usual in most other countries of the world. But there are always exceptions, so you should always be careful.

Also if theres anything i cannot do being 18 eg the laws of drinking/smoking.

Drinking and smoking is not allowed below the age of 20.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Living in Japan at the age of 18 2010/5/16 16:03
Japan is probably *the* safest country you will ever go to.

You *might* encounter some anti-foreign sentiments, BUT 99% of the time it boils down to people just looking at you curiously (it's kinda funny :D ).

If you want to get an idea of how safe this country is...
-there are 6-8 year old kids going to school by train ALONE (haven't seen that in Europe)
-I've seen people, for example, leaving a bunch of (presumably expensive) hockey sticks UNATTENDED on one end of the train car and going to the other end to talk to a friend. Sleeping in metro with an iPhone nearly falling from one's hand is normal. Haven't seen this in the West either.
-I've had a friend who left a bag with a large sum of money (like... 2 laptops worth of cash) in a public place, and when he returned a few hours later, it was still there.

As for your small ability of Japanese... I know lots of people who lived in Japan for years and never got past the konnichiwa/arigatou stage. And somehow they survived :-P

I hope you'll enjoy your stay in Japan :) If you have any questions, ask!
by Rad (guest) rate this post as useful

Thanks 2010/5/17 03:56
Thanks for both your comments, i belive now i have a greater understanding of the how "safe" Japan can be i think ill enjoy myself alot more than looking over my shoulder to see if sombody is going to take advantage if being foriegn :)
by Pastieman91 rate this post as useful

... 2010/5/17 08:52
Then again, my friend's laptop was stolen the other day. So, just exercise the usual caution.
by Uji rate this post as useful

.. 2010/5/19 05:11
Thanks Uji,

Yeah ill be cautious as if i was in my own country as everywhere isnt entirely safe.

by Pastieman91 rate this post as useful

Meh 2010/5/19 13:02
I wouldn't say "exercise the caution of your home country" as while yeah there are criminals in Japan too, but it's not nearly the level of danger in the US or whatever country your from (could be any army...).

However, I wouldn't say having wads of yen bills taped to the outside of your clothing be a suitable replacement for a wallet either...

Is Japan safe? Yes
Can you relax more? Definitely, but just don't be stupid about it.

I know "don't be stupid" doesn't give much of a concrete answer, but what I'm saying is use caution when the situation demands it. It will demand it a lot less than anywhere I would know of though...

I hope I conveyed my abstract thought, but if I didn't help then well just know that Japan IS indeed safer.
by DemonicDerek (guest) rate this post as useful

Lost in translation 2010/6/7 16:25
As stated in previous reaction, you can get by with virtually no Japanese and people do it for years. You can probably get by with even less than arigato or konnichiwa.
In my 6 years in Japan, I've never experienced nor heard of someone being tricked due to Japanese ability or lack thereof.
But being lost in translation can be a real pain if you're looking for the restroom in a Japanese style restaurant where every door seems to open into the middle of someone else's drinking party.
The one thing I'd brush up on if I were you is reading and recognizing common signs and markers like "restroom" (not just the pictures but the Japanese characters for men and women) "emergency exit" "Women only train" and other things we might take for granted in our own countries, but fail to research properly before going abroad. You never know when you'll have to use that kind of intel, and will probably be more valuable to you than my "How to pick up a Japanese girl in 10 words."
If you're in Tokyo and need a guide or something, message me.
by jmarkley rate this post as useful

I survived! 2010/6/7 22:50
I went to Japan last year when I was just 18, but I went with 2 friends. And because my mother is paranoid we have EVERY safety precaution imaginable from money belts to rape alarms, but really it wasn't necessary. I even felt that the money belt was more hassle than it's worth. Sure it's a great idea to get your passport etc close to your skin under your clothes but Japan in summer is too humid for it and on a slightly more vain note it makes you looks fat. Really you just need to exercise the same caution you would in your own country i.e. don't leave your bag open, don't put all your money in one place, be aware of your surroundings etc.

As I said I went with 2 other girls, which made things easier as you can watch out for each other, and there is safety in numbers.

Anyway good luck on your trip! I'm already planning my next trip to Japan this summer XD
by LooshyLuBear rate this post as useful

I went at 19 2010/6/15 12:39
I went to Japan with a friend at 19. We travelled all over and we were really totally fine. Don't be stupid applies, I mean, if you can survive in your home country you can almost certainly survive in Japan, if you are from a teeny tiny town where you know everyone and are walking around the most crowded streets of Osaka maybe you can be a little more aware of your surroundings, but still it's not much to worry about.

Technically you are not of age in Japan until 20, this goes for smoking/drinking/even occasionally things like hotels. I was a bit worried about this but it was never a problem. I wasn't looking to smoke or drink, but I was with Japanese friends and we did have a few drinks on occasion, no one really seems to worry about it oddly enough. Also, even though a few hotels said in the fine print that you had to be 20 to stay there, no one even mentioned this to us.
by Elindomiel rate this post as useful

Don't Worry 2010/7/10 14:41
Although my experience of Japan was as a 16yr old exchange student, I can say that even when I traveled somewhere alone I felt safe. Of course just be sensible.

Having said that regardless of the legal drinking age, if you really want to drink you wont have any trouble. I never got asked for ID and even the bartender once knew that I was 16 but just told me not to drink too much. I am not really a drinker so no problems.

Once an Australian friend of mine and myself met some Japanese guys who invited us to the beach for a BBQ, I never once felt unsafe and they even made me call my host family to ask permission and told me I shouldn't be drinking alcohol.

Just be aware that occasionally you might be approached by people (older men) on trains or something but for me all they wanted to do was speak English and then they happily got off at their station.

Have a great time!!
by dragonfly (guest) rate this post as useful

You can do it. 2010/7/12 20:38
I travelled first time in Japan a couple of years ago when i was 17 years old. Even though i travelled alone and i was there for more than two weeks, i encountered no problem at all. My level of Japanese was much lower than the basics, and my English level is not native either, but again...i had no problem in communication. In fact, it was a great experience overall and travelling by yourself has many many advantages (you can choose where and when to go etc). One useful tip is to try to gather any available information about the places you want to visit in advance (transportation, time schedule, downloading maps, etc).

I even went to Kabuki-cho at night all by myself and i had no problem there either (except from the annoying people who try to convince you to visit their bars/massage parlors, but if you say "no", there is no problem at all). Of course, this doesn't mean that you should not be cautious. Moreover, you should avoid any "dark" alleys or people that look suspicious.

To sum up, it is possible for young people to visit Japan since it is a (generally) safe and very convenient place for travellers of any age. Have a great time there!!!

p.s: sorry for my bad English.
by Greek Traveller (guest) rate this post as useful

No worries 2010/7/16 12:59
I am 18 and I just came back from visiting japan. Japan has one of the lowest crime rate.. Well compare to America. I actually lived there when I was young and never thought about getting kidnapped or rape.etc. It does happen but not often enough where parents freak out about their 6 year old ridin the train by them selves at night. No need the worry about smoking and drinking even if you are not 20. No one Id you so you can just go to the store or bar and get it. When I was little I use to go buy my mom's beer all the time and that was till when I was 10 when we move to the state so that just gives you an idea of how strict they are about that. Hope that helps. Have fun
by Nanae (guest) rate this post as useful

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