Whether you’re just visiting the country on holiday or you’re thinking about moving there for good, one question is sure to cross your mind: can I drink the tap water?

Is it safe? In this article, we will go over all the different types of water in Japan, and I will help you find your answer.

It is relatively safe to drink in Japan and is filtered using different methods such as activated carbon, ion exchange resin, and reverse osmosis.

However, in some places, the water is still not safe to drink, and you will see signs throughout Japan with a big red circle and line through it. If this sign is shown, do NOT drink the tap water!

Although tap water is safe to drink in most places throughout Japan these days, you are advised not to drink tap water if it is your first time visiting. ( here is a scientific study to learn more).

If you stay in Japan for a long time, chances are your body will become accustomed to the water and it won’t cause any problems, but don’t take the risk if this is your first trip to the country!

If you have an allergy or intolerance to chemicals, then stick with bottled water.

However, if you are not affected by chemicals or are more health-conscious, tap water is the way to go. It’s better for the environment, and it helps cut down on unnecessary plastic use!

How clean is Japan’s water?

How clean is Japan's water?

The clear rivers, sparkling streams, and limpid lakes in Japan are something of a national treasure. With so much beauty around, it’s not surprising that many people choose to camp by the side of the rivers or go boating on them.

  • Do you know where Japan’s water comes from?
  • What makes the difference between clean and polluted water?

Let’s take a closer look.

Do pipes bring water to your home? What makes water clean?

It’s not something you can see so quickly, but it’s there all the time working away, 24 hours a day, keeping your water clean and healthy.

The primary substance that does this is sand. Tiny grains of sand are caught in rocks underground and act as an enormous filter.

They’re so powerful that even the tiniest specks of mud and grime are caught. That’s because drinking water straight from the tap is frequently cleaner than what you get in a bottle.

Where does Japan Tap water come from?

Where does Japan Tap water come from?

Wherever you live in Japan, chances are there is a river or stream nearby. Rivers are fed by springs, which are water bubbling up out of the ground.

The sand-catching dirt means that because rivers come from underground, they are pretty clean to start with.

But as they flow along, the topsoil washes into them, taking bits of mud and dirt with it, which can then get trapped in the sand.

So while the river itself is clean at first, pollution can get into it further downstream.

Rivers bring water to cities and factories. Once it has flowed out of the mountains rivers, tend to get faster.

This means many twists and turns turn them into fun places for white-water rafting, but they are not suitable for keeping pollution out.

In major cities, factories line the rivers, and millions of gallons of water are taken from them every day in washing machines and baths.

In this way, because they are fast-flow rivers that get lots of visitors, it’s easy for waste materials to get into the water. This is one reason why some rivers in Japan are much cleaner than others.

City rivers are home to factories and houses. Rivers eventually flow into the sea. Another problem with rivers is that everybody wants to use them.

That means there’s always somebody taking water out of them, which can mean they sometimes become low on water. But the real danger comes when you take too much water out of a river.

This can leave bits of land along the sides very dry and create ‘drought’ areas entirely different from the surrounding, wetter regions.

These dry patches make it easy for dirt and dust to blow about, and sediment gets washed out of them by rain, which washes this mud back into what little water there is in the river.

Rivers near industrial areas suffer incredibly severely because there are often hills of dirt alongside them created by ‘slope mining’ (digging into hills to get at coal or other minerals).

Is Japanese tap water chlorinated?

Yes, it is chlorinated at the tap. Chlorine is added to purify the tap water because it kills bacteria. It’s safe to drink.

Chlorine evaporates immediately after being turned on in the toilet or bathtub, so you don’t have to worry about bathing with chlorine-contaminated water. However, it’s best to use a cleaner or other method to clean the tap water before drinking it.

Please note that our article states’ chlorinated’, not ‘purified.’

While chlorine kills bacteria, it fails to kill other harmful elements present in water, such as arsenic and fluoride.

It also doesn’t evaporate immediately after being turned on. If you live in Japan, I recommend investing in a tap water purifier to clean your water for drinking and cooking.

Is it OK to drink tap water in Tokyo?

Is it OK to drink tap water in Tokyo?

The water in Tokyo is entirely safe to consume, as it is extensively cleaned on the way from rivers. Tap water does not contain hazardous chemicals such as mercury or lead found in underground and well waters.

Can you drink the tap water in Osaka?

The pristine tap water in Osaka is not only safe, but it also ranks among the best quality around. The infrastructure and maintenance of these purification centers ensure dependable flow for all who drink it, making this city’s sources exceptional with their mild taste.

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