Life Through Seasons in Japan - Shopping in Japan

Preparing An Emergency Kit In Japan

Last Updated on 2024-03-02 by Teni

I’ve been living here in Japan for my entire adult life, but no matter how comfortable I feel living here, I can never shake the feeling that, wherever I am, the “big one” be next. At least the experiences of  childhood in the southeastern United States and the days after 3.11  have encouraged me to create a rolling stock of nonperishable goods and to have an emergency bag on hand.  Take a look at my family emergency kit and home stockpile for tips on preparing an emergency kit in Japan.

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This silver bag is similar to the one I have in my kindergarten classroom. It’s very typical of Japanese classrooms and offices.

Family Emergency Bag

We have a dog, so it’s unlikely that we would be able to take him with us to our nearest evacuation center. But, at least we’re prepared to go!

UPDATE: Since this post was first published, I’ve streamlined and upgraded my family emergency kit with this 30 piece ready-to-go emergency kit from Amazon:

I took everything out of my bulky emergency kit, discarded out of date items, and stored clothing in a separate location.

Then I consolidated all personal hygiene items, food/drink, first aid etc and added it to the new emergency bag.

It has found a new home in the genkan, and it fits perfectly underneath an IKEA Lack table:

UPDATE: I’ve since moved, and it now fits under the kitchen sink!

Other Amazon Finds:

This set is for a household of 3-4 people. It comes with a copy of the Tokyo Bosai (Tokyo Disaster Preparedness) book, a Japanese/English manual, a radio that doubles as a smartphone charger, food/water, a portable bed, hygiene products and so much more.

This 48 piece set is an ideal choice for anyone living alone or as a backup to store in a car:

If you already have an emergency bag at home but would like to supplement your supplies with a rolling stock of nutritious, well-balanced food, this is a 3-day supply with a 5 year expiration date.

Things to consider:

For parents, don’t forget to add formula, diapers, wipes, and clothing your child. Likewise, ladies don’t forget to add sanitary products to your emergency bag, too!

If you wear contacts, it’s a good idea to have a spare pair of glasses rather than dealing with contact lenses and how to apply them in sanitary conditions.

If you currently take any oral or topical medicine, be sure to add this medication and a copy of your “medicine book” (薬の手帳 | kusuri no techo) to your emergency kit. Be sure to check the expiration date of your medicine regularly and use it as rolling stock.

Extra items I added to my emergency kit and home emergency stockpile:

Waterproof Document Pouch

  • Tokyo Bosai (Disaster Preparedness Tokyo) area map
  • Copies of passport information pages (for daughter & me)
  • Up-to-date color photographs (with names, DOB, address on the back)
  • Driver’s license (copy)
  • Health insurance cards (copy)
  • Dog microchip registration card & dog registration tag number (dog)
  • Notebook
  • Pens
  • Stickers & crayons (to entertain my girl)
  • Coins, Cash (1000 yen bills) & bankbook copies

For Miss M

  • 2 pairs of leggings
  • 3 onesies
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 2 sleepwear
  • 1 thick cardigan
  • 2 turtlenecks
  • 1 thermal shirt
  • 1 bar of laundry soap
  • 2 picture books


  • 1 Heattech set (leggings and long-sleeved shirt)
  • 2 pairs of thick tights
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Short-sleeved cardigan
  • Fleece jumper


(Basically anything you can get from a hotel works fine!)

  • First Aid Kit
  • Mini shampoo and conditioner set
  • Hand soap bars
  • Face soap bars
  • Mini packages of tissues
  • 1 set of oral and topical medication
  • 2 tubes of lip balm
  • Sanitary napkins and tampons
  • Tube of toothpaste
  • Disposable toothbrushes

Daily Goods

  • 2 Whistles
  • Reflective bands
  • 2 pairs of slippers
  • Blanket
  • 2 towels
  • Heating pads
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Battery-powered flashlight and replacement batteries
  • Package of antibacterial wipes
  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • LOTS of disposable chopsticks and plastic utensils (whatever I get from the kombini I just stash away)
  • Cell phone battery pack and USB cable

Home Emergency Stockpile

  • Solar Powered Battery Pack
  • Hand-powered flashlight
  • Mini flashlight
  • Portable gas stove
  • 2 full gas cartridges
  • 2 cases (six 2L bottles) of water
  • Boxes of Aquarius mix
  • Bottles of mugicha in various sizes
  • Tissues
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Toilet paper
  • Dry dog food
  • Instant noodles & soup
  • Rice
  • 1 case (six 1L) soy milk
  • Granola
  • Canned goods

Learn More — Preparing For Emergencies In Tokyo

Back in January, my daughter and I visited the Honjo Life Safety Learning Center and took part in the Disaster Prevention Experience Tour, a trip organized through our city’s Youth Affairs Administration.

It’s one of several “experiential facilities designed to help all Tokyo residents lead safer lives by enabling visitors to acquire disaster preparedness knowledge and techniques while enjoying themselves as they take part in earthquake simulations, initial firefighting and emergency first aid exercises, and learn the basic principles for escaping smoke inhalation.”

Admission is FREE and you can also check out the Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Center or Tachikawa Life Safety Learning Center if Honjo (Kinshicho area) is too far.

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