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Newcomer Checklist: Emergency Kit Basics

Living in Japan means living on a geological Tilt-a-World, so being prepared for shutdowns makes a whole lot of sense.

By 1 min read 4

Did you know Japan is smack dab on the intersection of several continental plates, as well as home to over 100 active volcanoes, more than any other country on the planet? We live basically live on a geological Tilt-a-World, so being prepared for shutdowns makes a whole lot of sense.

Most people I’ve talked to haven’t really thought much about emergency prep here, but when you’re jolted awake at 3:00 a.m. I’m definitely reminded of where I’m at on the planet.

The good news is that to put together an emergency kit is not tough to do: you can throw one together at the 100 yen for cheap.

Here’s a super basic list for a 24 hour single pack.

  • Water (10L minimum for a single person)
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Non-perishable food
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Candles and matches
  • Copies of your important docs like your foreigner card and your passport
  • Map of the evacuation area in your neighborhood.

You can obviously get fancy with whatever you put in it, or go even fancier and order a kit from Rakuten.

I’ve been here a year now and felt at least six quakes. Having the basics on hand just lets you rest a little easier—that alone is worth the effort to me.

For links to more detailed information on emergency preparedness, check out my interview with military safety expert, John Guliani.


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  • Kering says:

    Good Post! Travelling to Tokyo next year so… Very helpful.

  • Soha Eldeeb says:

    So I prepared an emergency bag last month…. then I caught the flu and ate all the food haha

  • LynnAllmon says:

    Good reminder – I keep meaning to put together this stuff.

    Here’s a good site for ideas about what non-perishable foods to buy (in Japanese but with pictures):


    I’ve seen some places recommend enough supplies for three days and some even enough for a week. To be on the safe side, as soon as I go shopping next, I’ll try to put together a week’s worth of non-perishable food (also good for when I’m feeling lazy or agoraphobic).



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