My husband and I are travelling to Japan with our 16-month-old daughter for 2 weeks at end of March, 2012. We are going to land in Osaka and flying out from Tokyo. Our itinerary is stay in Osaka 6 nights( visit Nara, Uji,Kobe and Kyoto). After Osaka, we are going to stay one night at each of Magome, Tsumago and Shibu Onsen these three towns. Then to Tokyo for 5 nights. We have booked air tickets and hotels. The problem is a couple of friends just told me that it is still dangerous to travel to Japan at this time especial with a baby because of the radiation level. Myself would love to go to Japan, but more importantly, I do not want to risk my kid's life. How safe is these area we are going to? Any thoughts appreciate!
Eleanor, do your friends have any evidence or data to back up their statements? Osaka and Kyoto were never affected by the quake, tsunami and radiation leak from Fukushima in march 2011. The same goes for Tsumagoi and Shibu Onsen because they;re on the other side of a high mountain range from Fukushima prefecture and there fore protected. Magome, which is part of greater Tokyo is still more than 200 kms from the site of the nuclear leak, and well outside the 80 km warning zone established by the government.
Background radiation levels in Tokyo are back at background levels, and were only ever elevated for a couple of days at the height of the crisis (and even then only to the equivalent level of an abdominal x-ray).
There have been instances of food products with elevated levels of cesium or iodine, but these have been few and rare. There is NO evidence of widespread contamination of the food chain.
What contamination has been detected is of a low level, and really only a concern to long term residents who may ingest it over a long period of time. A short visit of a few days poses no significant risk.
The US embassy in Tokyo has some resources on food radiation measurement - and a cute photo of a senior consular official tucking into a meal of farm fresh eggs. http://japan2.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-health.html
Most of the dairy products in Tokyo come from the warmer parts of japan, so further south than Fukushima and therefore away from any potential contamination.
If you're particularly concerned you could try asking abut the source of the food products you're consuming and avoid anything from Fukushima or Ibraki prefectures. almost 2 years ago
Eleanor, I've been living in Osaka for 15 years and was here for what we call 311 (March 2011). By odd circumstance I was in a place where I could feel the quake (100s of miles away) but most on the street were oblivious.
There have been several conflicting reports even within the country. Frankly, I think it's being downplayed. Conversely, the Germans were tenacious in their reports during the Chernobyl incident (another reason for travel insurance?) while I lived there.
As for you traveling, even with a baby, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto etc, are all fine and safe. There does not appear to be much airborne radiation, though the marine radiation levels may not be being accurately reported. Most of Osaka's food is grown locally south and west. Tap water is first world. Bottled water and drinks machines abound. There are some concerns in Tokyo as it is closer to the accident, yes, background radiation levels are back to normal (and have been for sometime).
Might I suggest, if it is of concern, than instead of canceling your entire trip, spend the 5 days you would have spent in Tokyo here in the Osaka/Kyoto district. Not that I'm bias, but I recommend this always as Tokyo is a megapolis and we've got much more of that 'Japan' tourists come to see. We'd love to see you! almost 2 years agoAnswered by ABKitz via WorldNomads.com
An update for you all from March 2013
http://safety.worldnomads.com/japan-radiation-study 9 months ago