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opinion about going to Japan alone

Dove Canyon
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opinion about going to Japan alone

I am considering going to Japan for a week but am having trouble finding anyone who can come with me due to either financial or time constraints. I don't think I want to tackle Japan alone (I'm a non-Asian American female) and don't know any Japanese. Do you agree I should not go alone? If I did go by myself, what would you suggest I do? I have no specific things I want to do/see, I just think the experience of going to Japan would be amazing!

Hong Kong, China
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1. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

From a safety perspective, Japan is very safe even for solo female travelers. Violent crimes and even petty crimes toward tourists are very very rare.

Logistic-wise, the public transport system (trains, subways, etc) are modern, clean, and all have English signage. If you do some homework in advance, and you can follow a network map and actual signs to make transfers here and there, it's not difficult to get around.

Many Japanese do not speak a good conversational level of English (some none at all). However, they are always extremely willing to help.

I think you will have a very good time actually as long as you do some homework in advance and don't mind traveling alone.

Some helpful sites to get you started:

General info:

http://www.japan-guide.com

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/

JR Pass if you will be taking longer trips across the country:

http://www.japanrailpass.net/eng/en001.html

Train fares and schedules so you can gauge travel times from A to B:

http://www.hyperdia.com

San Francisco...
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2. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

I'm a non-Asian American male and I was in a similar situation. I meticulously planned a month-long solo trip, and have made it an almost-annual event for the last six years. If you feel it would be amazing to go to Japan, you should do it! Try for a two-week trip (or longer) if you can. You could fly to Tokyo, spend several days there, use a rail pass to go to Kyoto and Hiroshima and other places that interest you, then fly home from Osaka. I like the Frommer's Japan guidebook because they rate all tourist sites. The "New Japan Solo" guidebook has great little hand-drawn maps of all major cities. Read what you can about Japanese etiquette. And study the websites that Sammyfloyd recommends. You will come back home from your trip feeling confident about navigating a foreign country on your own, and you will have fun telling stories about what you discovered on your trip.

Dove Canyon
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3. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

thank you so much for your input. I had no idea the trains had English signage, that is wonderful. and I also appreciate the book recommendations and links. I'd only have 6 days but I like the mini itinerary you proposed.

Edited: 01 August 2013, 04:09
Tokyo, Japan
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4. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

Japan might be the place most suited for a single female visitor, actually.

Local female solo travelers are not rare, on business and sightseeing. I've come across quite a few foreign female solo travelers in cities like Kyoto or Nara or Hiroshima, too. Today's Japan is not a country particularly praised for women's lib, but if you assume that North America or Western Europe should be more relaxing for solo female travelers and come to Japan, you might be pleasantly surprised.

"Bowling Alone" (R. Putnam) is not just an American phenomenon; it's been happening with people here, which is a bit sad (Karaoke Alone or Ohitorisama Karaoke has been a known tendency). Being a solo can be a disadvantage anywhere, when you find going to amusement parks or buffet restaurants without friends lonesome and not fun. However, you will have enough pleasant opportunities to visit museums, temple gardens and shrines, spend time at cafes and eat at restaurants, walk the streets and shop around, without being confronted with unwelcome male interference.

Edited: 01 August 2013, 04:17
Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

English and public transport was my biggest anxiety for our May trip - and it was unwarranted.

The japanese have made it almost idiot tourist proof - signs in english everywhere, including inside the trains, and with the help of www.hyperdia.com we didnt get lost once.

We have travelled a fair bit of the world and Japan is very safe.

Dont let being a solo traveller hold you back! One of my best memories is touring Alaska on my own, sometimes it would have been nice to share it with someone but 15yrs later the fact that I did it means more.

New Zealand
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6. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

I'm a non-Asian female who has recently travelled to Japan alone, spending 9 days altogether seeing Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo. I found travelling in Japan very easy because of the English signs as people have mentioned.

One thing I really appreciated is that all hotels in Japan seem to have single rooms available, which makes it cheaper for the single traveller. It has really annoyed me in some countries that I had no choice but to pay for a double room. Public transport is excellent, so I didn't need to use taxis, which can be really expensive for one person.

I found I was treated well as a single traveller in most restaurants, no second-class service or being ignored. In fact some establishments sat me at a window table, which so often seem to be reserved for couples elsewhere. The only restaurant that gave me a lousy table was part of an international chain.

I'm completely sold on Japan as a destination for the single traveller, and I intend to return and see more.

New Zealand
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7. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

Hi,

I'm a 28 y.o. non-Asian female and travelled to Japan alone a few years back, still the best travelling experience I've ever had. I'm planning another solo trip to Japan this year. :-)

I took a decent camera along and looking for good photo opportunities motivated me to keep exploring and taking photos kept me busy so I didn't feel at all self conscious.

I took a list places I planned to visit written in Japanese so if I was lost I could simply point on the paper to the placeI was trying to go. Multiple people walked well out of their way to help me get to where I was going, one particularly sweet grandmother walked me the whole way with her arm around my waist.

I found this book useful amazon.com/Solo-Traveler-Edition-Special-Int…

Maybe you can find it at your library.

If you want to see Japan don't let going solo stop you, it can be a bit scary but it's well worth it

New Zealand
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8. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

I should mention, I travelled off the beaten path a lot when I was there and even then I didn't find language much of an issue at all.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

Life is too short not to do the travel you really want to do.

Sydney, Australia
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10. Re: opinion about going to Japan alone

Hi Lorimendenhall,

I'm a non-Asian Australian male and I've had the good fortune to do my fair share of travelling. The majority of the time I much prefer to travel alone. This is, ironically, because I really enjoying meeting and socialising with new people. When I travel with a friend we have fun but I meet fewer people and have fewer experiences with the place I'm travelling in than I would have if I had travelled alone.

Also, it sounds odd at first, but I think to get the most out of travel you should be free of the reinforcement of the person your friends and family think you are. Travelling solo gives you an opportunity to changes thoughts, behavior and mindsets without having a constraint placed on you by those close to you. There's nobody to say: "That's not you". Don't get me wrong, your friends and family mean well and we do it to them as much as they do it to us but it's one of the biggest benefits of solo travel.

You also have complete freedom of itinerary. As other posters have mentioned Japan is probably one of the safest countries on earth for a solo female traveller. You probably have more to worry about walking around a big western city (statistically speaking).

Plenty of solo travel quotes on this page: brainyquote.com/quotes/…topic_travel.html but I'll go with this one: "“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” - Freya Stark