Going to Japan (Osaka) in 2 Weeks - Should I Cancel?

Hi Everyone,

I will be going to Osaka/Nara/Kyoto in 2 weeks for 2 weeks and my parents are thinking to cancel it due to the Coronavirus.

Their main concern is the flight (we are flying Qantas) as its an enclosed area where the air just circulates/air con system … etc. Also, I have read a lot of articles about Japan suppressing the media to report on Coronavirus as Olympic is happening soon so that can be one of the reason that we arent seeing everything.

However, I think its the best time to go given that there are no tourists (people from China cant go there and they are majority of the tourists).

Also, if I do cancel, I will need to pay $400 for flight cancellation and lose $500 on one hotel as I can cancel the rest

I just want to get some thoughts on this.


  • My parents are old and older people have higher chance of getting it so thats why they are worried.
  • We have enough face masks (P2 grades)
  • We have been to Japan like 7 times
  • I am also Chinese so I am not racist against Chinese people

I have decided to cancel my trip. Thank you for taking your time to comment.

Thanks in advnace


  • Yeah nah mate.

  • +8

    I am Japanese and I read all coronavirus Japanese news. At this stage people from 湖北省武漢・浙江省 are not allowed to enter Japan. So still other Chinese tourist are visiting.The virus is really spreading now. Japanese gov only concernes about economical damage before people's health. If I were you I wouldn't go there because you may not able to come back to Aus.

    • Thank you for this info, I really appreciate it.

    • -1

      So still other Chinese tourist are visiting.

      China itself has locked down more than half a billion of its own citizens from even leaving their homes. So even if other countries don't bar them from entering, they may find it difficult to go anyway due to their own government restricting their movement.

      If I were you I wouldn't go there because you may not able to come back to Aus.

      Wait, really? Japan will detain me? Even if I'm not infected?

      • +1

        I think what Nagoya means is that you might need to be quarantined when you come back cause anything can happen in 2 weeks.

        • -3

          That's not how I interpreted "you may not able to come back to Aus".

          Quarantines have been self quarantine unless you are confirmed to be infected.

          I'm not even sure how self quarantine will work. Doesn't sound like it will be enforced in any way.

    • True, my passport was issued at 浙江省 so I was forced to cancel my trip.

  • you may not able to back to Aus as scheduled

    • can you expand on this?

      Is it automatic or just a maybe? Is it Aus or Japan that will stop you from returning?

      • It's a maybe as this is developing and it would be up to aus to stop you or they may make you go through quarantine for 2 weeks in Darwin before being let our even if you are tested negative depending on if others are suspected of carrying it on your flight

  • +13

    Thank you for all the responds (and yes, I have read all of them). We have decided to cancel the trip as our health are more important and there are too much risks involved, e.g. flights, not coming back to Sydney, quarantine 14 days after coming back, might not make it if someone is sick on the flight.

    • +1

      You can always go next year. Next year you'll have an extra holiday.

  • +1

    I'm going there too but in 4 weeks. I'm not canceling though. I can't get any refunds.

    I'm not too concerned. Like you said, the Chinese won't be there, and they are the major risks as far as spreading the virus.

    Outside of China, the rest of the world's infections make up less than 1% of the total. In other words, very miniscule.

    You're scared of sharing a plane with 300 people? But if there are no chinese on that plane, who are you afraid of really?

    I trust Japan knows how to deal with the cases they do have and will have this under control.

    What's undeniable will be the xenophobia. I have already seen restaurants there with signs in Chinese saying "Chinese are not welcome here".

    • +1

      'no gaijin' signs have been around long before this virus

      • well now they're specifically targeting chinese, not just any gaijin. They're not the only country with places doing that either. Even western countries like Denmark are doing it.

    • All my hotels are non-refundable but they are willing to waive the fee and give me full refund so you might want to check with them. I booked through Expedia/Agoda and they will contact the hotel

  • Going from Aus to Japan, the only people on that flight will be Aussies and maybe some Japanese. I don't think the flight has much risk tbh

  • +1

    Please review your travel insurance. Copied from Medibank Travel Insurance PDS:

    We will not pay for claims caused by an Epidemic, Pandemic or outbreak of an infectious disease or any derivative or mutation of such viruses (or arising from these) or the threat, or perceived threat, of any of these.

    • buying insurance right now seems like a waste of money.

      • +2

        Claims caused by an epidemic. Not all claims.

        If you can’t get travel insurance you shouldn’t be travelling. Massively risky.

        • -1

          so currently the most expected cause of a claim will not be covered? it's like buying hospital cover that doesn't include surgeries.

          • @lostn: A claim from coronavirus is quite low. Far more likely to be hit by a scooter crossing the road in bail. Everyone should get travel insurance. No, not me negging you.

            • +1

              @ChickenTalon: we should lift all travel bans and screening then.

              Also, it's looking increasingly likely that this will become an epidemic, which means no cover.

  • Stay at home. It's not worth the risk.

  • 'main concern is the flight (we are flying Qantas) as its an enclosed area where the air just circulates/air con system'

    I read in maybe the NYTimes that the breathing air on modern planes is not recirculated - after heating the sub-zero air past the hot engines, it enters from maybe above your head, and departs from maybe at floor level (or vice versa)

    point being - unless you touch an infected person, or are coughed on by an infected person, the virus only lives for like 30 seconds on any surface so you cannot get it from the ventilation system on a plane.

    • +1

      planes are well filtered with hospital grade filters. Doesn't matter if it's qantas or some other airline. The air should be safe.

      The bigger risk is the airport.

  • -1

    I am also Chinese so I am not racist against Chinese people

    This, for me, would be one of the big reasons I'd consider NOT going, less so than the virus.

    People always say Australian's are racist (UN studies show Australia to be one of the least racist countries, along with the rest of the Anglosphere - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/05/15...).

    Wait until you're a Chinese person in Japan especially now… then you'll know what racism really is.

    As you've been before you are best to judge how bad (or not) this may be. Maybe it'll be OK. If it were me, I'd still go and not worry about Corona either.

  • Do you have travel insurance? see if you claim back on that

    • You mean travel insurance will cover the cancellation cost/loss ? Will the credit card's insurance do that job ? I have the AMEX Platinum Edge. Thanks

      • no harm in asking, depends on when you booked the flights, accommodation etc. If you booked it last week maybe not as you knew the risk but if you booked a while ago they may do

        • Cool, I will give it a try thank you. I booked it 9 months ago.

  • +1

    Japan has good beer and friendly girls. Thanks for cancelling so someone else can have fun.

  • putting all the rest aside, sitting in airplane for a couple of hours is a major threat, knowing how rapidly this virus can transmit.

    • Agree and also having the risk of having to send back home if someone is sick on the plane (heard from different people but cant find the details online, need to verify)

  • +1

    At the moment ,you will not get checked if you have coronavirus negative or positive even you think you contacted infected person unless you develop clear symptoms in Japan.Some Japanese passengers from the Diamongd Princess returned home by using public transport or taxi after the test on the ship showed negative yesterday, but sometimes the result will change as a matter of time. Japanese gov is not handling the case serious enough….

  • Weight out the risks & decide. Here's some unbiased updates on COVID-19.

  • What passport do you hold?
    If you hold a PRC passport then you may not be able to come back if travel ban still in place.

    I’d say it’s still fine to travel (I just got back from japan). But you’ve to be very cautious especially in Osaka, a very crowded city.
    But you need to prepare to wear masks on plane and in jp - do you have stocks?
    Use antiseptic wipes to wipe the areas of your seat in plane, and carry a hand sanitiser with you.
    Research also shows that window seats are safer than aisle seats in terms of chances of catching virus on plane.

    • +1

      Research also shows that window seats are safer than aisle seats in terms of chances of catching virus on plane.

      I would like to see the URL to a reputable scientific publication or you just talking trash.

      Latest suggest not going to the toilet might decrease risk of transmission. Might just leave the face mask at home and bring a poop bag.

      • Couldn’t recall where exactly I read it and I googled again


        • +1

          A 2018 study showed most passengers got up from their seats at some point during the flight. Those seated in window seats were least likely to move from their seats. Only 43 percent of those seated in the window got up, as opposed to 80 percent of those in the aisle.

  • I wouldn't worry since you are travelling out of Australia. There hasn't been a person to person transmission in Australia. Even in Yokohama where the Diamond Princess is moored which is near Tokyo it is well quarantined.

    Don't believe in all the fear mongering and panic peddlers.

    Diamond Princess was because of a Hong Kong embarking / disembarking passenger. Singapore is due to conferences. As you can see major hubs like Hong Kong and Singapore are a real issue due to small space, density of people etc.

  • I'm going mid-year to Osaka, hoping to get down to Tokyo for the Olympics too. Either I go there because I have to pickup some stuff anyway or I choose airmail, but it is quite expensive and the products are relatively heat sensitive. Plane transport is fine because it's usually cold or heated, but sea cargo can hit over 50c which basically damages my product. It's my yearly trip, I doubt I will be cancelling it.

    I think it will be fine, especially since I've got an Aussie Passport. lol.

    So far I've been looking at who has been infected. Only a tour guide in Osaka has been infected. They are doing fine last I checked.

    You should wear a surgical mask as the N95 will become uncomfortable. Apparently the filters on the planes circulate air around every 3 mins, so if you can hold you breath whilst someone sneezes it might also work; hint for the paranoid ones.

  • mate - cross a busy main road at night 10x - the odds are good. Not getting corona is even higher… even if they did unless they're sick already they'd probably survive but since they believe the media shit then maybe they just shouldn't be allowed out at all.

  • +2

    Have family who have in recent days cancelled this months trip to Japan due to the Corona virus.

    Please note Japan has not closed off its borders to Chinese tourists from Mainland China as yet….treat that as you will.

    I would not recommend visiting at this point in time irrespective of the visitors age.

    In particular I would strongly recommend that no person over 50 years of age or those with existing health issues, heart or lung issues in particular try & undertake a trip to Japan in the curent circumstances.

    Dont forget the large number of medical staff who even with fullsuits & all the medical protections & knowledge have been infected with Corona virus & some have even died!

    • "large number" - where did you get that from? Ruperts drooling press?

      • +3

        Probably referring to China, the numbers that China has been reporting are "rumoured" to be fake.

  • https://www.businessinsider.com.au/healthcare-workers-gettin...

    From article linked.

    More than 1,700 Chinese healthcare workers have gotten the coronavirus, and 7 have died. A study found that 29% of infections were in medical staff.

    China’s National Health Commission announced Friday that 1,716 health workers had contracted the new virus. At least seven have died.

    • so 7 have died out of 1700 - including those who had no protective equipment of any kind - that's over months…and yes drooling press

      how many were murdered in Germany at the bars?

      how many dead on the highway of tears now?

      • +3

        People in Wuhan and China have been posting about how the media in China has been covering and suppressing the numbers of death. It is like hell in China but not many people know about it. Outside of China is fine especially Australia but its better not to underestimate this.

        • what you mean chinese internet suppression doesn't work unlike that in America and Australia? dream on…

          I see you 'may have one or two boxes extra depending on how many my family needs. Its Uvex P2 Cupped Respirator w/valve masks.' to sell for a price…

      • -1

        The Chinese Government are known to hide a lot of facts. I have no doubt that the Corona rates (numbers and death) is a lot higher there but not reported. Hell one of the biggest reasons it's such an epidemic right now is that they're trying to cover and hide things.

        • +1

          please post the list of over 100 banned political sites by the current federal government

          all governments hide the truth these days specially 5 eyes because they are all joined at the wallet

        • +1

          the actual figures are likely to be higher than reported, but not because they're hiding it.

          The explanation is quite simple. Treatment centers are swamped and can't handle the load. That means a ton of people are not tested yet. You can't report official figures without testing otherwise you are just guessing. Official figures cannot contain guess work, only confirmed cases. Until all the infected are tested and confirmed, they cannot be considered infected.

          And then there are people who are incubating. They might be infected but show no symptoms. There is simply not enough manpower, hospitals, or testing kits to test everyone who has no symptoms. If you're just going to assume everyone is infected without testing them, then there's no point having figures at all.

          • @lostn: Totally agree. I have been browsing forums and see "rumours" about many dead bodies covered in plastic bags lying around in Wuhan and they are just burning/killing people (even if they are alive). Not sure if its true but it seems pretty realistic to me.

        • -1

          Hell one of the biggest reasons it's such an epidemic right now is that they're trying to cover and hide things.

          This is not true. They were praised by the WHO for going above and beyond, and reacting very fast. The reason the virus got out of Wuhan is because the symptoms of the virus were… flu-like symptoms. They had no reason to assume it was anything more than a flu. Would everyone who has coughs and blocked noses be treated as carrying a new deadly virus? Of course not. As soon as it was discovered that it was a new virus, the province went into total lockdown.

          And it's not considered an epidemic. At least not yet. The fact that the rest of the world's cases is less than 1% of China's puts their containment measures into perspective. It is clearly working or else there would be a lot more cases everywhere. China has only 1/5th of the world's population but has >99% of its cases, which means they have contained it well.

  • So you dont beileve that having Large numbers of 1716 health workers affected are any concern.

    You asked for factual data, i provided it & you still cling to your comment even though that has been shown to be factually incorrect.

    With your head in sand mentality may I recommend you take a trip to China or Japan for that matter!

    Dont forget from the same article you ignored.

    "The threat to hospital staff isn’t limited to China: Two of four new coronavirus cases in the UK are healthcare workers, officials announced last week."

    • 'Don't forget the large number of medical staff who even with FULLSUITS AND MEDICAL PROTECTIONS' is what you wrote BEFORE EDITING.

      They didn't even have facemasks in China- as for uk news - well that's so full of crap no-one in England believes it anymore - and if it was true only means that the nhs can't manage anything anymore- which again everyone in England know is true because its all going to be sold to America shortly…

      you regurgitate racist ravings serving American interests, just like so many..

  • Are you serious?

    My post still says "FULLSUITS AND MEDICAL PROTECTIONS" not sure why you fail to see that in the post!!!!!!

    Even staff at the reception desk in China's hospitals wear masks & protective face shields.

    Would I be correct in thinking that you are from China?

    I only report on what I see, experience, & can comprehend.

    Having visited Japan more than twenty times over the past few decades I have seen how tourists levels of good hygene practices from vary considerable by their nationality.

    In fact my most recent trip to Japan was just a couple of months ago.

    With this in mind I can assure the op that his parents would be at risk if they visit Japan at this point in time, a risk that the elderly cant afford.

    Japan has reported carona virus cases across the length & breadth of its Islands.

    • 81 cases out of 127 million people yes?

      and you are still talking garbage about the equipment staff had at Wuhan at the outset…

      why aren't you in quarantine anyway?

  • -1

    Hi Ozbargain,

    I left my lunch at home. Should I skip lunch or eat outside?

    Oh wait let speak to my conscious…hmmm I wonder should I talk to the guy with pitchfork or the halo/saint looking guy…decisions..decisions.

    Hey ozbargain should I …

    To be con't

    • +3

      I am sure some people are in the same boat as me.

      • +3

        ok the diamond princess?

      • +2

        Nara & Kyoto are packed with tourists mostly from China.

        Osaka obviously sees a lot of tourists too.

        Going to places such as Kobe or Nagoya will have far less tourists & can be enjoyed more due to the tranquility experienced when less noisy/pushy tourists are likley to be seen.

        Again my concern is that your parents might not cope if they get sick in Japan.

        Will your travel insurance cover them if they fall ill to the carona virus, what exclusions would there be?

        A loss of $900 is significant for most people, but what value do you place on your parents well being?

        • Thank you for your comment. Not sure if you saw my other comments, I have already decided to cancel the trip.

          • @tenoclockfindu: Sorry I missed your update.

            Hopefully at some stage this crisis will pass & you & your parents get to go on a great Holiday together in Japan.

            Having travelled extensively both business wise & as a tourist with & without my family across most of Japan if you would like any information on any area or aspect of Japan please feel free to message me directly.

            Would be happy to help in any way I can.

            Best Regards,

  • +2

    Petry your maths skills & logic are highly suspect.

    I stated clearly that my return was a couple months back…therefore that was pre Caronavirus outbreak!

    You might want to stop & think next time before you post in haste & dig your hole even deeper.

    May I ask where your from?

    • I'm an aussie mate, and the dollar's starting to tank already as I said before.

      corona started in December 2019 - that's a couple of months ago…
      and you are well aware that the chinese had bugger all protective equipment…

  • December 31st ffs first case reported dont keep digging the hole deeper. Count the number of weeks between december 31st 2019 and to day less than 8 weeks yes?

    We however came home mid december 2019!

    Please can we keep to debating facts & not keep making assumptions?

    Anyone now visting either Japan or Korea imho is taking too great a risk & at best should be quarantined for 14 days on their re-entry to Australia.

  • Hi OP, let us know if you can get hotel booking cancelled.

    I have trips booked for 31/3 (all non refundable) and i have been following the news daily on this.

    • +1

      Hi Josh0161,

      I have already got 3/4 hotel refunded. They were all non-refundable.

  • I'm going to France next month, I'm a little bit worried too.

  • Competition for $600 towards flights to Japan requires free sign up https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/505643 Not many people have entered, so entering and making six referrals equals a 15% or so chance of winning.

  • +2

    Going to Osaka next Friday (was originally going via Chengdu) cancelled the Sichuan Airlines flight, booked a direct to Osaka with Qantas. Sumo tickets in Osaka for 8 March :) Though it's our 8th trip to Japan, won't be cancelling unless the Aus government bans all Japanese flights.

  • -1

    Can't even take a shit/pee in public anymore with corona-virus splashing all over! ;-P Might have to dispose of all my clothes etc every time I go out….

  • +1

    Just returned from japan this week, and my main concern would be the people that they recently started releasing from the Diamond Princess into Tokyo. ill be monitoring that over the next few days/week and see if there is a spike in the general population. until now the virus in Japan has been pretty much contained to that cruise ship.

  • YA it would seem Japan is down playing it, esp with Diamond Princess

  • +3

    If it was me I’d still go but leave my parents behind.

    This is a good general rule under any circumstances imo.

  • Came back from Japan recently.

    So many people with face masks in all of Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Every main place which interacted with the public had hand sanitizers at or near the front door. I had sanitiser hanging off my tote and my wife carried sanitising wipes.

    We probably used sanitiser about 10x a day and made sure we didn't touch our faces with our hands. It was a glorious trip! A distinct lack of Chinese tourists and very minimal lines everywhere, except at Tokyo Disney because it was a school holiday period.

    We travelled and we were fine. But I would be worries if we were taking an 80yo grandma with us. It's only really the elderly and those with significant pre-existing issues that seem to go down.

  • Been in Japan for a week and it's great. Very few tourists compared to when we were here last year. Before leaving Australia I was worried too but now I want to book another flight for later this year (assuming things don't get much worse regarding the coronavirus). ANA just emailed me some deals so I'll have a think about it.

  • If it makes any difference, I'm literally in Japan right now. I've seen very few Chinese tourists here, compared to in early Jan from what my friends said.

    I've gone to many of the tourist spots and it's amazing not having hoards of Chinese tourists groups around.

    also, if you do research, the air in planes go through very high grade filters, so you're more likely go get infected from touching a surface than breathing it in the cabin air.

    So I wouldn't be concerned imo.. just wear a mask, bring hand sanitizer and you'll be fine.

    • are all the japanese wearing masks?

      • Yes. Literally every japanese person is wearing a mask, especially retail/restaurant workers. There are signs everywhere explaining workers are wearing masks to prevent Corona virus.

  • +1

    Personal choice. Coronavirus has a death rate of ~2% compared to ~1% for flu, with a significantly higher rate for the elderly and basically not killing the young (zero deaths so far under 9). If you're older or have a lot of contact with those who are older, it's very understandable to take heightened caution. Personally I wouldn't let it stop me as I don't fall into this category for the most part. On the other hand, if you don't do the flu vac and are freaking out about Covid-19, I'm afraid you're probably just an idiot ;-)

    Keep an eye on Smart Traveler for the best advice: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/japan

    • You might be healthy and young. But it seems like quite a few cases of young working members of the family bringing it home and infecting their elderly parents. Could you live with yourself going on a trip and infecting elderly family members.

      ABC article

      first infected Italian, a 38-year-old man, had dinner in early February with a friend who had just come back from China.

      Soon after, two more people tested positive for the virus — the initial patient's pregnant wife, and another man he had come into contact with, the Ansa news agency reported.

      I am not old but I seriously struggle with the idea of going on a trip, catching it and infecting someone else then they die.

      • Yep, hence my point on being careful if you have exposure to the elderly. This is why you need to make your own decision, for example traveling to those locations during their flu season means you're significantly more likely to catch the flu than Covid-19 with a pretty similar death rate, but hits toddlers and babies particularly hard. So if this is a genuine concern, only travel during warmer months and take increased precautions at home during flu season. It's just about being consistent towards this type of thing.

  • should have sold your ticket i guarantee that some people would have pay for cheaper tickets, myself include, oh well. lol only like 100 infected in japan were as in china its at 75K even if you go yo low risk area it still safe.

    • tickets are not transferrable. They have your name on it.

  • +2

    I traveled at the height of North Korea launching nuclear missiles directly over Japan a few years ago & still didn't cancel my 2 week trip to Japan. As long as you're not going directly to China the risk would be the same as staying here imo

    • North Korea launch a test missile without warhead.

      If it was a nuclear missile and it exploded over Japan you wouldn't be saying the same thing.

      • Slight technical detail but still the same type of threat

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