Solo travel in Japan

People travel solo for various reasons. It could be personal preference, or that the travel time, cost or destination doesn’t work for their potential travel partners.

Unfortunately the travel industry often seems geared towards people travelling in pairs or groups. Prices are quoted on a twin share basis, and solo travellers have to pay for a twin or double room. Japan is refreshingly different and caters for solo travellers, making it an ideal destination if you’re looking to travel by yourself.

Accommodation

Many Japanese hotels charge per person rather than per room. While the cost for one person in a room won’t be exactly half the two person cost, it will be a lot less. Many hotels provide single rooms, particularly business hotels. This makes Japan very affordable for solo travellers.

If you are on a very tight budget, there are plenty of hostels in Japan. While these obviously cater for solo travellers, there are some that offer a bit extra too. Some hostels have a café or bar included, which can be a good place to meet both other travellers and local people too, if you feel the need for company.

It’s worth noting that some ryokan do not cater for solo travellers and won’t accept a booking for one person. There are ryokan that are quite happy to accept solo travellers, so look elsewhere if a ryokan won’t accept your reservation request.

Dining

Dining solo is common in Japan, so there’s no need to feel conspicuous if you’re eating alone. Many restaurants have tables for one person, or a long counter with seats which solo diners often choose to sit at.

If you would like to eat with other people, possible options could be a cooking class or food tour. One more unusual option is the Moomin café, where Moomin plush toys are seated with solo diners.

Safety

Japan is a very safe country which makes solo travel easier. It’s possible, even for women, to walk around city streets and take public transport at night. The crime rate is low compared with many other countries, although it is still sensible to take reasonable precautions. There have been reports of thefts in hostels and drink spiking in bars.

Sightseeing

If you would like some company while sightseeing, taking a group walking or cycling day tour could be a good option. These are a bit more interactive than a bus tour and give you a chance to meet a variety of people. Another possible option is using local goodwill guides who are volunteers wanting to show their city to tourists. This is a good way to meet Japanese people and learn from a local. Classes in anything from cooking to gold leaf work to taiko drumming can also be an opportunity to meet other people, with the activity being a good conversation starter.

Do you have any questions about solo travel? Please send them to me here.

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For further information, the ebook Japan Just for You is a practical step-by-step guide to planning your trip to Japan, starting with developing your own personal trip concept. It’s now available on Apple, Amazon and Kobo, with other ebook stores to come soon.