10 Places To Avoid In Japan As A Tourist

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Japan’s vibrant energy beckons, but hidden beneath charm lie pockets to navigate cautiously.

Steer clear of underbelly districts like Osaka’s Kamagasaki, neon-drenched Roppongi at night, and Shinjuku’s Kabukicho. Prioritize respect for cultural sensitivities, and remember, the most treasured places often whisper, not scream.

Uncover Japan’s magic responsibly, avoiding these alluring (but potentially precarious) detours.

Most Dangerous Places In Japan: Stay Alert!

When Japan has numerous places for its visitors, there are also some places that can be dangerous for tourists.

You should avoid those spots to keep your trip pleasant, safe, and danger-free.

Therefore, without any further delay, let’s know what to avoid in Japan.

Kabukicho, Tokyo

You may not ever think that the world-renowned Japanese capital, Tokyo, could have any places to avoid.

But the harsh truth is that places to avoid in Tokyo really exist!

Kabukicho in Tokyo is not only the largest red-light district in the country, but also it is the biggest in the world.

Thousands of restaurants, karaoke, clubs, etc., are found in this place. Anyway, at the same time, It is also home to a wide variety of underworld establishments that attract weirdos and mobsters.

So, it is not surprising to see riot police walking casually down the street of this Tokyo’s neighborhood.

You might want to visit Kabukicho for a particular restaurant as it is safe enough, but you should definitely avoid boosters or promoters who are trying to involve tourists in their businesses.

In addition to that, host and hostess clubs are risky in particular. You will likely find you have racked up a huge bill when leaving.

So, you should definitely be aware of this place while visiting Japan. Try not to go to this spot even for delicious foods with your partner, spouse, or child.

Kamagasaki, Osaka

Kamagasaki, which is also known as Airinchiku, is the largest slum in Japan and it is one of the areas to avoid in Osaka.

A large number of homeless and day laborers who have no permanent address live in flophouses in the area.

In recent years, the cheap accommodation of this area has attracted many foreign tourists on a shoestring budget.

You may think that the slum-like area is the only reason why I am telling you to avoid this area.

Well, this is not the truth, actually.

You should be aware before going there that this place is known for organized crime.

What is worse is that this area is even under the control of those notorious organized crime groups.

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Moreover, Kamagasaki has a history of large riots to protest against mistreatment by the police.

It is the type of neighborhood where the police don’t seem to bother giving parking tickets or enforcing minor crimes.

Hence, there is the least possibility that you will get the help of the police in case of any danger.

Even the Osaka locals always try to avoid this place.

Hence, no matter how cheap this area is, you must keep your distance from this place to avoid unnecessary hassle.

Roppongi, Tokyo

While talking about dangerous places in Japan, I had to include another place in Tokyo, which is Roppongi.

While being an upscale residential and office district of Tokyo, Roppongi is also home to an infamous nightlife area.

Roppongi is safe enough in the afternoon, but if you decide to visit this place at night, you need to stay alert.

In the evening, there are touts everywhere that can harass you to follow them. But don’t make a mistake by following a tout in Roppongi — you may end up robbed, assaulted, or even kidnapped.

Several years ago, the US Embassy even issued a travel warning for Roppongi.

Surprisingly, the locals don’t seem to avoid this area as it has many popular attractions such as Roppongi Hills.

Still, it is not a good place to go wild, especially for tourists.

Shinsekai, Osaka

The crime rate in Shinsekai is quite higher than in most of Japan.

4 - Osaka Shinsekai at Night

However, if I compare, the levels of organized crime are lower today than in the 1990s.

When Shinsekai is mostly neglected nowadays, it started with high ambitions when designed in 1912.

This neighborhood was the most modern and cosmopolitan area in Japan. It was planned after the streets of Paris and included a sizeable ultra-modern amusement park called Luna Park.

But unfortunately, Luna Park underwent a series of suspicious fire incidents soon after it was built. As a result, it closed way back in 1923.

Today, you will still find a festive atmosphere in this area.

Being one of Osaka’s most famous attractions, it is filled with delightful and inexpensive restaurants, souvenir shops, and pachinko parlors.

Despite all of these, some residents swear it is a dangerous area. Most of the Osaka residents tend to stay away from Shinsekai.

Hence I suggest you keep your wits about you if you desire to explore this area out of curiosity even after knowing about the risk.

However, once again, let me remind you that it is one of the places to avoid in Osaka.

Susukino, Sapporo

Well, you might have heard or even enjoyed the world-renowned Sapporo Snow Festival. Right?

Then you must know that this famous festival takes place here every winter.

But how come it can be listed on places to avoid in Japan!

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Well, don’t worry and hear me out. Okay?

I won’t say that you need to avoid this place totally, but at least you need to stay alert while visiting this neighborhood.

Why, right?

Well, nowadays, it is the second-largest red-light district in Japan. And like any other red-light district, it also attracts gangsters and dangerous people of many types.

So, be aware that it will not be the safest place in Japan.

I thought I should make you alert, and that’s the reason why I included it on my list.

Nakasu, Fukuoka

Like Susukino, Nakasu is one of the significant entertainment districts in Japan.

It is a significant tourist attraction, but I won’t deny that it does have a slightly rough edge.

Altogether, Nakasu may not be one of the worst places to visit in Japan, but this mention is to suggest you be careful.

Ueno, Tokyo

You will find some of Tokyo’s best attractions in Ueno, such as dozens of museums, a large pleasant park, and a zoo.

But why do I still suggest you avoid this place?

Well, have patience, you will know in a short time.

At first, let me inform you that Ueno is okay during the day, but this is a place to avoid at night.

Many homeless people tend to sleep in the park at night, and the surrounding area becomes a less pleasant place to visit after around 9:00 pm.

On top of that, as the nightlife here is minimal, you will find not much reason to spend time here after the closing of places like museums and the zoo.

So, be sure to complete your trip to this area in the daytime to avoid an unpleasant atmosphere.

By this time, I have described the main places in Japan to avoid for safety issues.

However, you may also like to avoid tourist traps to have a more authentic experience.

Tourist Traps in Japan You Should Avoid

Now I am going to mention those specific tourist spots that you should avoid to make your journey joyful and hassle-free.

Sapporo Clock Tower

Many foreign tourists described Sapporo clock Tower as ‘a boring rip-off’.

If you ask for my opinion, I will say yes; it really seems a tourist trap to me.

I suggest you only take a picture on the outside platform but not go inside. There is nothing particular that you would love to explore, I think.

You may not believe it, but I really heard some people laughing at even the term clock tower due to its short stature.

Robot Restaurant

Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant earned its fame by capitalizing on Japan’s reputation for the loony and weird.

As a result, it is really a fun show but also very gimmicky at the same time and not to mention expensive.

An obvious sign of a tourist trap is the audience is mostly composed of tourists.

And you will definitely find it here, along with an overpriced bento box.

Golden Gai

The Golden Gai bartenders didn’t care much for foreigners before. But nowadays, the majority of patrons at this collection of little bars are foreigners, and only tourists would gladly pay 1,000 yen for sitting fees every night. Although perhaps not the finest location for bar hopping, it’s still a really cool neighbourhood to stop for a drink.

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Ameyokocho

Ameyokocho

One of Tokyo’s largest outdoor markets, Ameyokocho, is pretty tradtional in appearance and a bit brash – this is what actually attracts tourists to the area. If you’re visiting this area for the first time, you may find that it is not all what you had hoped for – extremely crowded, very obviously tourist-y and expensive. 

What are some dangerous areas in Japan?

While Japan is generally a safe country, there are a few areas that have higher crime rates or potential safety risks.

It’s important to note that even in these areas, the overall level of danger is relatively low compared to many other countries. Here are a few places that have been reported to have higher crime rates or safety concerns:

  • Kamagasaki (Osaka)

Kamagasaki, also known as Airin District, is an area in Osaka that has a higher concentration of homeless people and seasonal laborers.

While it’s not inherently dangerous, it’s known for its social issues, including poverty and occasional incidents of petty crime. It’s advisable to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings when visiting this area.

  • Some nightlife districts

Certain nightlife areas, particularly in larger cities like Tokyo and Osaka, can be associated with higher incidents of petty crime, including theft, overcharging, or touts.

Areas such as Kabukicho in Tokyo or the Dotonbori district in Osaka can get crowded, so it’s important to be vigilant and cautious, especially at night.

  • Certain neighborhoods in larger cities

Like any major city, there are some neighborhoods in Tokyo, Osaka, or other urban areas that may have higher crime rates or a rougher reputation.

Areas such as Shin-Okubo (Tokyo), Tobita Shinchi (Osaka), or Kotobuki (Yokohama) have been reported to have higher crime or safety concerns. It’s advisable to research specific neighborhoods and exercise caution when visiting.

  • Remote hiking trails or mountains

Japan has beautiful hiking trails and mountainous regions, but some remote areas can present safety risks, particularly for inexperienced hikers or during inclement weather conditions.

It’s essential to be well-prepared, follow safety guidelines, and inform someone about your hiking plans when exploring remote areas.

It’s important to remember that the vast majority of Japan is safe for travelers, and incidents of violent crime are relatively rare. By taking general precautions, being aware of your surroundings, and following local guidelines, you can minimize potential risks and have a safe and enjoyable visit to Japan.

Conclusion

Well, after knowing about the places to avoid in Japan, I hope your trip to Japan will be a perfect one with great excitement and thrill.

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