10 Tips for Traveling to Japan Alone

traveling to japan alone
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Someone in a travel forum recently shared they were traveling to Japan and wanted to know if it was a good place for traveling solo. Here are the top-voted insights about solo travel in Japan. 

traveling to japan alone
Image Credit: Pixelfit/Getty Images via Canva.com

1. People in Japan Are Amazing

“One of the best nights of my life was solo in Japan, sitting at a bar, and some lovely locals took me under their wing (and to a punk show). Japanese people are so wonderful,” one shared. 

“I had a similar experience! Solo walking in Tokyo when I hear, “You! You look French! Are you French? We have wine!” We ended up singing karaoke and going to a metal show. the Best night of my trip,” another agreed.

2. Japan is Easier to Navigate as a Single Traveler

“I've done Japan solo maybe half a dozen times, and I've never had issues,” one replied. “The country has a high single, and a low child population, so many businesses are set up for singles or doubles.”

“In Tokyo, it is almost easier to be solo as you don't have to come to a consensus on what you want to do from a massive list of choices.”

3. Seating is Simpler Solo

“It will be easier to get a seat in small restaurants, drinking bars, cafes, etc. — especially those where you have to wait in line,” one noted. “Check out the more exclusive restaurants as a single traveler. You'll get in much quicker, the experience will be priceless, and they have the best food in the world.”

Another added, “The number of places and events that cater to solo guests in Japan is insane! It's not weird to do things yourself, and most places and people are happy to help you if you have any problems or concerns.”

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4. People Approach You to Practice English

“People will talk to you to test out their English. It's not uncommon that random people will approach you, especially businessmen and college students, to practice their English with you,” one explained.

“I was exhausted; a kind businessman was just off work and wanted to speak his limited English with me. Standard ‘where are you from, how old are you' questions. They may ask you to a coffee shop so they can learn more English, but that's all they want.”

5. The Language Barrier is Not That Bad

“The language barrier is nowhere near as bad as it seems,” said one. “You will find most tourist locations: train stations, hotels, attractions, restaurants, and department stores have a lot of English compatibility for solo travels.”

“Going to a hole-in-the-wall restaurant is possible with Google translate, but you must be patient. You tend to feel lost when you ride a train, which suddenly stops, followed by a Japanese announcement.”

“Fortunately, a woman sitting next to me asked me if I understood and translated it for me. I'm still thinking of how kind that was today,” admitted another.

6. Tokyo is Larger Than You’d Think

Someone warned, “Be aware that 10,000 steps in a day are slow for Japan, as you will be walking to or from train stations a lot. Taxis are possible, but you often have to tell them the number code for the location you want to go. (9-digit zip code).”

“Japan, especially Tokyo, is a vast city, so do the due diligence ahead of time to plan things split into groups with places close to each other. I didn't do this and spent hours going back and forth 45 mins metro rides as a result.”

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7. Utilize the Local Apps

“Find the local apps such as public bike rental, local maps, and everything else locals use and set them up before you go,” one stated. “Uber in Tokyo. The benefit is that you can enter your destination when you book the trip and avoid miscommunication about where you're going. We used it a lot when we were there, and it was great.”

A second user added, “Taxis in Japan are outrageously expensive. Their resistance to letting Uber enter their market is due to fear of taxis losing business.”

8. Japan is Very Safe

“Japan is super safe, and the language barrier is not so bad as most Japanese know some English. The public transport system is super easy to use, and all signages are in English. Even Hyperdia, to check train timings, is in English,” one noted.

Another agreed, “Japan is very safe. Try to avoid crowded Subways. People are always ready to go out of their way to help you out. So travel to Japan. You definitely won't regret it!”

“It's very safe, and everything is so convenient,” replied a third. “Nobody bothers you, and the people are very polite. They will do their best to help you if needed. There is excellent public transportation, and the country is mesmerizing, strange, and beautiful. If you can go to Japan, you have to go.”

“I've been to Japan eight times. I've been to Canada, Germany, UK, and Mexico. Japan is the safest you will ever feel. Eight-year-olds are taking the subway to night school. You are the biggest threat as an outsider,” a final user commented.

9. Try Staying at a Hostel

Someone suggested, “Try staying at a hostel or somewhere you can meet people to befriend. It will make it more fun to explore together with a new friend (when I went, I used Couchsurfing's “meet people” section and met locals, it was the most fun I had on the trip)!”

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10. Japan Is More Enjoyable Alone

Finally, someone shared, “Overall, I hugely enjoyed my time alone in japan. I got to spend time doing the things I love, which others may be bored of, to my heart's desire (such as sitting in onsens for hours or going to pet rabbits), I got to meet cool new people, and I had an utter blast exploring such a fascinating place!”

“Japan is also an exceptionally safe place (As a young solo woman traveler, I wasn't scared), so that's also a bonus for this specific location. You will be so glad you did it!”

We hope you enjoyed these ten insightful things people said about traveling to Japan alone from Reddit. This article is inspired by the internet and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The Impulse Traveler.

Elizabeth Ervin
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