Doesn’t sound particularly exciting, but this factor does stand out when you are travelling in Japan. Tokyo is home to approximately 30 million people and is one of the biggest cities in the word, but there are no ‘dodgy areas’ to accidently walk into. In fact, I would say that you can happily walk about anywhere in the capital city at just about any time of day or night and you will be pretty safe.
This again is largely down to the people and the culture, but there is very little petty crime in Japan. You can go out on the streets at night where salarymen and young people are out eating, drinking and enjoying their night, but I can count the number of drunken scuffles that I have witnessed on one finger! – That was between a group of westerners. It is quite refreshing to be able to walk out anywhere at any time of day or night without a single concern about something going wrong or feeling threatened. This goes for Tokyo, other cities, towns and villages across Japan.
In the more rural areas of the country, it is quite common for people to leave their doors unlocked as there is no fear of crimes such as burglary. There are many hotels and traditional ryokan guest houses across the country that still don’t have safes to store ‘valuables’ as crimes such as theft are not common place in Japan. When customers have lost their wallet in the past, it is usually the case that they will have them returned with every single yen still inside.
The streets are generally safe and there is little threat to personal safety. You will even see Elementary school children making their own way to and from school across town on the subway in Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka without an accompanying adult. This is very refreshing to see as a parent in the west and reassuring to see that people are not afraid of letting their kids out on their own. This is when it is most obvious that Japan is different.
Why are the streets so safe?
It all boils down to culture, collective responsibility, community, respect and it’s just how Japan is. They don’t see it as anything particularly special and it is another reason as to why Japan is so great.