(This article was written by the Southern Regional Development Bureau of Iwate, and translated by Amanda Wayama)

One of the things that foreign travelers worry about when visiting Japan is whether they can overcome the language barrier.

We think that one of the top anxiety-inducing factors is worrying about what might happen if an accident, natural disaster, or sudden sickness strikes during a vacation. It’s also crucial for traditional inns, hotels, and other tourism businesses to be able to communicate easily with their foreign guests. That’s why it’s important to create communication tools that can solve these issues.

The Southern Regional Development Bureau of the Iwate Prefectural Government has created an Emergency Manual to give our foreign guests peace of mind as they travel the prefecture. Additionally, we’ve also created language sheets where all one has to do to communicate is to point at the correct phrase. This should help both the tourism industry and foreign travelers. Both the manual and sheets are available in four languages – English, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), and Thai.

Emergency Manual

The Emergency Manual (on the right of the first photo) was created so that foreign visitors to the south of Iwate could travel safely and comfortably.

The cover is an illustration made by a student at Ichinoseki’s Shuko High School. It shows off the character of southern Iwate, and makes for an inviting cover for people to pick up.

The manual outlines what foreign travelers in Iwate should do if they run into some unforeseen trouble on the trip (traffic accidents, illness, natural disasters, etc). It aims to be simple and easy-to-understand. It also lists emergency numbers by purpose (110 for the police, 119 for medical emergencies) as well as links to more information that could help during a crisis. There are many illustrations, making it easy to confirm where to contact in an emergency.

Ex: If you’re involved in an accident/traffic accident → Call the police (TEL: 110) and listen to what they tell you.

Language Sheets

These language sheets (on the left of the first photo) were designed to support communication between foreign travelers and tourism-related businesses.

Phrases that might be used during check-in, ordering, payment and other times are printed on the sheet. All someone has to do is point at the correct phrase to be able to carry out smooth communication.

There are also phrases listed that can help with guiding someone around. Along with numbers and units of measurement, there are also phrases like “turn right,” “turn left,” and “go straight.” This could allow someone to give detailed directions about town.

Both the Emergency Manual and the Language Sheets are available at hotels, tourism facilities, and sightseeing information centers around southern Iwate.

You can also download them directly from the prefecture’s website.

(URL: https://www.pref.iwate.jp/kennan/keiei/1028612.html)

These could also be of use to not just tourists, but to foreign residents in the region who struggle with Japanese, or other folks in town for international relations-related business. We hope you’ll give them a try if you’re interested.

We created these tools to help foreign travelers have a great trip throughout Iwate, and provide them as a gesture of hospitality. Please take a look on your next trip to the southern Iwate region!














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(URL: https://www.pref.iwate.jp/kennan/keiei/1028612.html)