Hay Fever in Tokyo: A Guide for International Travelers

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As you wander through the vibrant streets of Tokyo during your visit, especially between February and March, you might find yourself sneezing or dealing with a runny nose.

These symptoms could be a sign of hay fever, a common issue in the city during the early spring.

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What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grasses, or weeds.

In Tokyo, the main culprits are cedar and cypress trees, whose pollen can cause symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.

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Why is Hay Fever Common in Tokyo?

The prevalence of hay fever in Tokyo can be traced back to post-World War II reforestation efforts when cedar and cypress trees were extensively planted for timber and to prevent soil erosion.

These trees have since matured and release large quantities of pollen into the air each spring, affecting many residents and visitors alike.

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Prevention Tips for Tourists

  1. Wear Masks: A mask can help block pollen from entering your nose and mouth.
  2. Use Sunglasses: Sunglasses can protect your eyes from pollen.
  3. Clean Regularly: After being outside, wash your face and hands to remove pollen.
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Gathering Pollen Information

Staying informed about pollen levels can help you plan your activities.

Check local weather forecasts or dedicated pollen forecast websites and apps for real-time information on pollen levels in Tokyo.

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What to Do If You Suspect Hay Fever

If you experience hay fever symptoms:

  • Over-the-counter remedies: Many Japanese people also suffer from hay fever, so many over-the-counter medicines for hay fever are sold at pharmacies.
  • Prescription medication: For severe symptoms, consult a doctor for stronger medication.

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