Riding out Typhoon in Japan – Episode 2

As you saw last week, we did manage to make it to Tokyo and get situated in our Airbnb before Typhoon Hagibis hit on Saturday. We’ve been in Tokyo during typhoons in the past, but those more or less just amounted to a lot of heavy rain. We were still able to go out and explore Tokyo with our umbrellas. Typhoon Hagibis was different!

Episode 2: https://youtu.be/14eSoYhMUo0

Typhoon Hagibis was a monster storm and all the news outlets were covering it constantly. Consistent advice throughout the days leading up to the storm was to prepare and take this seriously. This is what stressed us out in last week’s episode as we were trying to make it to Japan before the typhoon struck.

Sometimes the reports are overblown and you take all the precautions for no reason. This was not one of those cases. We did stock up on food the night before, along with a ton of other people. The grocery stores were jammed packed.

We did hunker down for the entire day on Saturday and didn’t take any chances. We probably would have been safe to go out right up until late afternoon as it was mainly rain to that point. The typhoon didn’t reach Tokyo until around 9pm when we felt the full force of the winds accompanying Hagibis.

When travelling to Japan it is a good idea to prepare yourself with some knowledge on what to do during these emergencies. It is a rather active country in terms of natural disasters, and for the most part they are well prepared and it’s not an issue. But you don’t want to be caught off guard when taking cover is appropriate. Here are a few resources to have at the ready for these moments:

NHK – One of Japan’s broadcasters that does a lot of work to bring English language content out to the world. They stream English content for free through their website and applications. It would be a good idea to get their app installed on your mobile device so that you have an outlet to get informed during such an event. Since we were hunkered down and prepared we had my laptop connected to the TV at our Airbnb and were streaming it live. This paid off because they were broadcasting in realtime and we were able to keep up to date on what was going on. Even if we didn’t have the luxury of connecting to a TV we could have watched through their app on my phone.
Here is their iOS app.

Safety tips App – Japan’s tourist board has put together an app which is a must have on your device. It provides a lot of useful information about natural disasters. If there are any warnings in your area they will be posted. You can also keep an eye on earthquakes in the app where a map will show you the effects of earthquakes. If you feel one you can check the app to see how close it was to you. This is a great resource for non-Japanese speakers, which can be a challenge at times when it comes to up to the minute information.
Here is their iOS app.

Japan Shelter Guide – another very helpful app to have on your mobile device. This one will help you find a shelter in the event of a disaster and you’re not in a safe place. It will keep you up to date on warnings so you can have some level of preparedness and not be caught not knowing what to do. This is especially important when you’re on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. In the advent of a tsunami you need to know where to go to find safe higher ground. While there is some English in this app, a lot of the information is in Japanese. Luckily they have shortcuts to translate the Japanese warnings through Google Translate. During Typhoon Hagibis we were getting several notifications from this app which helped keep us informed.
Here is their iOS app.

We hope that you never need to rely on these resources, but it’s always better to be prepared just in case. Watching this weeks episode you’ll get a little glimpse into how dangerous it could be if you got caught without shelter during such a storm as Typhoon Hagibis. While we were safe and rode out the storm without issue, there were lots of places in Japan which were not so lucky. If the timing was slightly different and we were on our journeys outside of Tokyo these apps might have come in handy. Some areas had extensive flooding, receiving over a meter of rain!

These are all free so no reason not to load them on just in case. And NHK is just fun to have regardless. Once we’re back home, if I ever miss Japan and wonder what’s going on back there, I load up NHK and watch some news.

Also note, we are Apple people. 🙂 I’m sure these are available for other platforms, but I’m not sure where. If you are invested in a different platform I’m sure you’ll know where to look and hopefully knowing about these apps on iOS will help you find them for your platform of choice.


There was one location featured in this episode

  • Airbnb – We’d recommend the Airbnb unit that we stayed in. It is clean, comfortable and has all the amenities needed. It is also located in a great neighbourhood with lots restaurants and shops very close by, along with 2 train stations 5-10 minutes away by foot. Best part is the host who is helpful and courteous and genuinely wanted to make sure we enjoyed our stay in her unit.

Thanks for watching/reading!

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