Safety, Health & Insurance

Okazaki and Nagoya are very safe cities. There are however a few precautions advised by the local police.

Women – particularly when walking at night, it is worth staying on well lit major roads and/or in groups wherever possible. When riding bicycles, especially if you have just left a bank, do not put your handbag in the basket – there have been several “grab and run” motorcycle thieves. At night when walking it is advised to carry a small flashlight. Lock your apartment door. When looking for apartments/accommodation with a balcony, most Japanese women prefer an apartment that is not at ground level.

Rape and sexual harassment – Violent crime including rape is extremely low, though part of this may be due to under-reporting. At some stage or other there is the possibility of sexual harassment. Okazaki’s public transport is not crowded, and reports of Tokyo style “roving hand” incidents seem to be very rare.

Gay & Lesbian – There is a small gay and lesbian community. Nagoya is also fairly close by and there is a growing internet community. As a general rule Japan is a fairly tolerant and broad minded place, but some residents may take exception to overt displays of affection in public.

“Bosozoku” gangs, sound trucks, youth gangs etc – Apart from being a public nuisance on the roads and at some festivals, the small motorcycle gangs etc pose little danger. Although they are frequently breaking road and noise rules and pose a traffic safety risk, the police appear to take no apparent action. It’s best to do what the Japanese public does and just ignore them.

Traffic safety – Aichi is the car capital of Japan, with many families owning 2 cars. Be careful when walking or riding a bicycle, as some of the minor streets, particularly those through residential areas are narrow with poor visibility around corners. The most common form of traffic accident for foreigners in Okazaki involve bicycles.

Hygiene and sanitation – The safety of food (in restaurants, at yataiya stalls during festivals etc) is of a high standard and safe. The tap water is safe to drink and does not need to be boiled before consumption.

Health & Insurance – The hospitals are of a high standard, but if you do not have insurance, can be very expensive. Student visa holders are automatically enrolled in the national health insurance scheme (cost is less than 10000 yen per year), which also includes dental care, but if you are entering Japan for a short term course using a tourist (tanki-taizai) visa, it is essential that you have either travel insurance or some other form of portable health insurance.