Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Impact Travel

U.S. government urges citizens to avoid traveling to Japan.

ByABC News
March 11, 2011, 1:02 PM

March 11, 2011 -- In the aftermath of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel alert urging "U.S. citizens to avoid tourism and non-essential travel to Japan at this time."

The advisory goes on to say that "strong aftershocks are likely for weeks following a strong earthquake such as this one" and that "many roads have been damaged in the Tokyo area and in northern Japan."

Jason Sabio, a member of the Philippine national soccer team, landed at Tokyo's Narita International Airport as the earthquake began. He took to Facebook to let family and friends know he was safe.

"I am safe, but stranded. We touched down about 3 pm Tokyo time. While on the runway, the ground was shaking. At that time the ground began to shake violently and the airport was shaking. We have been stranded on the plane for over 5 hours. Narita is closed. No word of when we will be able to get off the plane. I will keep everyone updated when the Internet is on. Very spotty. God Bless."

Thousands were left stranded in airports overnight, and according to FlightAware.com more than 650 flights were cancelled. In northeast Japan Sendai Airport was completely covered in water.

But less than 24 hours after Sabio's harrowing journey, both of Tokyo's airports, Narita and Haneda, are open and flights are beginning to resume. However, roads in Tokyo have been heavily congested because both the metro and train system remain closed.

Despite the recent events both tour companies ABC News spoke with said they had received few cancellations and plan on continuing tours next week.

InsideJapan Tours currently has 70 clients in the country and sends 5,000 people to Japan every year.

"There is lots of travel in the coming weeks because we are getting into cherry blossom season," said Mathew Eccles, U.S. Branch Manager. "Everything can change rapidly, but at the moment we are going to continue our tours as planned. There is no reason for people to change their plans."