Hello, I’m Ema, a Tokyo local who has spent most of my life in this vibrant city, with additional years in Malaysia, China, and the US. Thanks to my multicultural upbringing, I’ve always had an insatiable curiosity to explore different cultures and places around the world.

My journey into appreciating travel truly began during my college years when I started exploring solo. I’m so passionate about solo travel that I founded Travelr, aiming to enhance the experiences of those embarking on solo travel in Japan by connecting them through our app with other travellers and locals. In this blog post, I share expert solo travel tips in Japan to encourage everyone to explore my home country!

Here are some more information about Japan travel for you: why travel to Japan, safety tips you should know, affordable ways to travel in Japan, travel tips and hacks, and the ultimate Japan packing list!

One of the best ways to explore Tokyo is to visit the local areas and immerse yourself in the local culture. If you want to explore local areas, we have created scavenger hunt adventures personalised to your interests, filled with fun facts, clues and puzzles. If you’re curious, you can check out the games here!

Check out the Flip Japan Games here!

Solo Travel Tips in Japan and Beyond

Let me share my thoughts on solo travel in general, as well as tips for travelling solo in Japan.

Travelling solo in Cát Bà Island, Vietnam

Never considered travelling alone? Just take the leap and try it!

Travelling solo can seem daunting, especially in a distant locale with a different culture and language. Concerns about loneliness, safety, and unfamiliarity may loom large. However, having pursued solo travel for over a decade, I can attest that the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Here are three compelling reasons why:

1. Travel when you want, where you want. Don’t let others ruin your plan!

Have you ever talked about having a dream vacation with your friends for a long time, but it never happened in the end? Because nobody took the initiative to plan, because work got busy for them, or because one of your friends is broke and can’t afford to travel anymore?

If you are waiting for that perfect moment to travel with others, it may never happen!

If you are travelling alone, you pick wherever in the world you’d like to visit, at any time of the year that you get to take days off of work. Plus, you get to travel cheaper during the off-peak seasons!

2. You will meet so many more people and your perspectives will change.

Travelling solo will push you to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people including locals and travelers. 

“Man is by nature a social animal,” and true enough I cannot stand being completely alone for a long time. So, no matter how shy I get sometimes, I would always, always try to introduce myself to people I meet at a hostel, chat with locals I encounter at restaurants or shops, or mingle with other backpackers I meet through apps like Couchsurfing. 

These encounters with different people from around the world have influenced my views on life, big time. When I had a corporate job in Japan, for example, 90% of my life revolved around work and I did not make time for myself to explore new hobbies. I didn’t think much of it because it was pretty common for an “office lady” in Japan. 

However, I met so many people during my solo trips who were working hard but also pursuing multiple hobbies, seeing the world, or working on side projects—and hearing their stories really inspired me.

3. Solo travel makes you stronger and more confident

Although you may meet some great company along the way, there may be times when you have to deal with loneliness or face problems on your own. I once got my wallet stolen during my solo travel in Rome and felt devastated because there was no one I could rely on. 

However, once you overcome these challenges, you definitely feel stronger and more confident about your ability to solve problems by yourself, in any setting!

The Deets on Travelling in Japan Alone

Let me highlight 3 FAQs I am often asked about travelling to Japan alone. I cover lots of solo travelling tips here on Travelr’s blog as well.

Why is Japan a good place to travel solo?

solo travelling in Japan restaurant in Japan
  1. Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, even as a female traveller, you will feel safe walking around at night alone. 
  2. Japan has good transportation system. You can ride the train to almost anywhere in urban cities, so it’s easy to get around by yourself. 
  3. Japan practices the “ohitorisama” culture (doing things on your own). In Japan, it is not weird to dine alone or to do things on your own. There are lots of restaurants catering to solo diners, and there are even solo karaoke rooms!

Isn’t Japan an expensive country to visit, especially by yourself?

solo travelling in Japan in a hostel
UNPLAN Shinjuku, One of Ema’s favorite hostels in Tokyo

I would say travelling in Japan is definitely more expensive compared to other Asian countries, but some things are surprisingly affordable in Japan, like food and attractions.

The quality of food you can get in Japan for the price is pretty amazing compared to other developed countries, especially if you make the most out of lunch specials offered at many restaurants across Japan for only around ¥1,000 ($10). There is no tipping either. If you want to try different types of food at izakaya, it would be best to meet some travel buddies once you are in town, and split the cost. 

However, a hotel room or Airbnb in Tokyo can be pretty costly, so if you are travelling in Japan on your own, try staying at hostels or capsule hotels which are clean, safe, and surprisingly comfortable (around ¥3,000 a night).

Outside of Tokyo, accommodations are much cheaper, so even getting a hotel room for yourself may be pretty affordable. You can check out other recommendations on budget travelling here.

Isn’t it hard to make friends while travelling in Japan because of language barriers?

solo travelling in Japan and meeting fellow travellers

In Japan, people who can speak English fluently are said to be less than 5% of the population. So, if you don’t speak Japanese, it could be hard to go up to random people at a bar and make friends. 

If you want to make local friends during your solo travel in Japan (which I strongly recommend you do to understand more about Japanese culture), you should reach out to locals on Couchsurfing or check out some international Meetup groups in Japan.

Connecting with some locals before your trip can make your journey more worthwhile and fun; however, make sure to personalise your message and ask specific questions rather than a broad question like “What do you recommend to do in Tokyo?” if you want to get responses.

I hope that after reading this, you are a little more excited about doing your solo travel in Japan or anywhere in the world. Adventure awaits out there, so go ahead and make the world your playground!

Stay tuned to Flip Japan Guide for more information about Japan travel, Japanese culture, moving to Japan, living in Japan, Japanese language, and more.