15 Reasons Tokyo is Perfect for Solo Travel

A few years back, Tokyo became the destination for my very first solo trip. That trip made me fall in love with solo travel, changing me in more ways than one. Where or what really lies the magic of the capital city in Japan? Today, I’ll give you 15 reasons why I think Tokyo is the perfect destination for anyone’s solo trip.

Confession: My first solo trip was not the first time I went Tokyo, but who says you must go to a NEW city for a first solo trip? Read my step-by-step guide for planning for your first solo trip!

Why Tokyo is the Perfect Destination for A Solo Trip

1. Tokyo is simply SO DIFFERENT!

cool car | How the First Solo Trip Changed Me • The Petite Wanderess

Shibuya crossing • The Petite Wanderess
Shibuya crossing
Tokyo solo travel: Senso-ji • The Petite Wanderess
Kids dressed in costumes at Harajuku

Tokyo solo travel: Senso-ji • The Petite WanderessTokyo solo travel: Senso-ji • The Petite Wanderess

No matter where you come from, Tokyo will be really different from your hometown. I come from a very modern city (Singapore), and even then, visiting Tokyo for the third/fourth/fifth time was still eye-opening in different ways. Tokyo’s madness and the Japanese culture will make your solo trip to the Land of the Rising Sun a very distinct memory.

2. Tokyo is generally a very safe city.

A very important aspect for considering destinations for solo travel is SAFETY, and everyone knows Tokyo is a very safe city. I don’t like to generalize but in Tokyo, at the very least, petty crime is not that prevalent downtown.

Tokyo’s safety, if I may presume, is largely brought about by the integrity standards that the Japanese observes. The citizens also work hard to ensure a safer environment, by making one another responsible together. You might even see small kids taking public transport and walking home on their own.

As always, low crime doesn’t mean no crime happens. It’s never a good idea to walk alone late at night at dark, secluded places. 

3. Shinjuku Station is crazy and you gotta experience it for yourself.

Reasons Tokyo is Perfect for Solo Travel
just a weekday evening during peak hour at an exit at Shinjuku station

When I try to briefly explain to people about Shinjuku’s location in relation to nearby hotspots like Harajuku and Shibuya, I use “City Hall MRT Station in Singapore” as an example. However, I’m not sure if anyone can ever visualize it in a befitting way. At Shinjuku Station, there are more than 200 exits. The station serves 3.6 million passengers a day. Shinjuku station is soooOooo huge and sooOooOo deep inside, I was amazed how long it took me to walk to the correct platform to for the train to Kamakura for a day trip. Like, just how BIG is this station actually?

| Check out the places not to be missed in Tokyo for your first visit |
Shinjuku station • Reasons Tokyo is Perfect for Solo Travel
Yamanote Line platform at Shinjuku

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4. You just need to take the train for your public transport.

Tokyo’s train system is so well-covered and efficient, you’ll only need to use the train to get anywhere, as long as you manage to figure out the routes somehow (you will). The trains are also notorious for being really on time.Reasons Tokyo is Perfect for Solo Travel • The Petite WanderessTokyo subway map • Reasons Tokyo is Perfect for Solo Travel • The Petite Wanderess

One thing to note though is that train stations can be ‘connected’ via internal tunnels, but are different train station names. An example is heading to Asakusa using Shinjuku Line and Asakusa Line. Google Maps will tell you to take one train to Bakuroyokoyama station, then it breaks off and you next have to take the train at Higashi-Nihombashi Station. Eh? You thought Google Maps might mean you need to exit the gantry at Bakuroyokoyama, but actually, no! The 2 stations are interconnected – you don’t need to exit the gantries. Have I confused you yet? I still get confused sometimes even though I’ve been to Asakusa quite a few times loll. 

If however, you head to the outlying areas such as Kamakura or Nikko, they have their own transport systems such as monorails and buses. Never underestimate just how huge Tokyo is!

5. There are female-only train cabins.

With all good intention, I’ll advise you to stay away from taking the train during Tokyo’s peak hours (although these days, Tokyo is so crowded, I feel there’re only peak and super-peak hours). However, if you really want to be out at that time or to witness how crowded Tokyo’s trains are notorious for, there are female-only train cabins that come into effect during peak hours. I’m not sure if all trains on all lines have this implemented though!

Ps: I have no experience to share for the peak trains hours because you won’t see me out before 9am in Tokyo – I’m really scared of crowds in small places.

6. You’ll probably get lost… a few times.

It’s part of the deal for visiting Tokyo, but look on the bright side. Otherwise, how are you gonna tell others back home later about how confusing, how exciting a place Tokyo really is?

One time, I stood for what felt like a whole 20 minutes at a subway station, staring at its train map that was completely void of English words, filled with station names & Japanese words I couldn’t decipher. At that time, I travelled without mobile data in Tokyo because it wasn’t easily available back then. Inside of me, you bet I was panicking, but I was adamant that I’ll work out the journey somehow. And I finally did and found my way back to the hotel!

Now, with mobile data much more accessible now, the chances of getting lost are lowered.

7. Tokyoites are really helpful people.

Although they’re always in a haste, Tokyoites (slang for people living in Tokyo) are very helpful if you need assistance. They’ll help you to the best of their extent, unless you stop them at a time when they’re rushing to work (because Japanese companies value punctuality really much).

Once again, it comes down to the culture of looking out for one another.

8. More Japanese in Tokyo can speak English than you think.

I’ve never really had problems seeking assistance by speaking English. Even when I was alone at the oldest amusement park trying to figure out the ride ticketing system, a Japanese mother in the queue spoke English with me. When I was shopping for a new bag at a Samantha Thavasa boutique, the saleslady spoke English to me, having worked in Singapore before. Amazing!

Well, if the Japanese you’re speaking to can’t speak English, he’ll probably understand what you’re trying to say. You’ll be fine!

food menu | Reasons Tokyo is Perfect for Solo Travel • The Petite Wanderess
Sometimes, the food menu comes with English text too

9. Tokyo makes it EASY for you to dine alone.

With sushi bars, ramen bars, and even isolated seats at restaurants such as Ichiran Ramen, it’s so easy to enter a restaurant alone in Tokyo and grab a solo seat at the counter just like everyone else, or simply ask for a table for one. Restaurant staff will even watch out for you, ensuring you’re comfortable and know how to place orders.

Also, being busy people in Tokyo, people are always dining alone. You won’t be the odd one out, so no worries about receiving judgemental looks from strangers, cos there’ll be none. If there are, they’re probably foreigners who have never travelled solo before and don’t understand why we do.

If all else fails, you can always buy food from the fantastic convenience stores (Lawsons! Family Mart!) and dine in the comfort of your hotel room. Not sure if the convenience store’s staff will heat up the food for you but very likely will if you ask!

food at convenience store • Reasons Tokyo is Perfect for Solo Travel • The Petite Wanderess
prepacked food at convenience store

| Read: Why I recommend this hotel in Tokyo to everyone who’s going Tokyo |

10. No one will judge you for being alone.

No matter if you’re shopping, taking the train, hiking a mountain, anything — the Japanese will always keep to their own affairs in public places and not judge. Which makes you feel very at ease.

| Also read: How to Rock Your First Solo Trip |

11. Say hello to hotel rooms for single travellers!

No more having to pay double share even if you arrive as one. I stayed in a Bright Single Room at Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku Hotel, and really enjoyed my stay (review in this post).

room for one guest at Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku Hotel

For females, some hotels even have female-only floors. Talk about safety and thoughtfulness, Tokyo has you covered.

Reasons Tokyo is Perfect for Solo Travel • The Petite Wanderess
female-only storey at another hotel

I have yet to try capsule hotels as I’m a seeker of comfort whenever I travel, but if you wanna try something new and also cut costs, you can consider them as your form of accommodation for a night. Sized like a large refrigerator, your ‘room’ is simply an enclosed pod where you lie down and sleep. Genders are usually separated by floors.

| Check Booking.com for a list of hotels in Tokyo! |

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12. There are clean and modern toilets everywhere!

I don’t know about you, but the cleanliness of toilets matters a great deal to me whenever I travel, which was why I had to write a First-World-Questions article about visiting Bhutan.

In Tokyo, even if it’s a public toilet at a busy station like Harajuku, or one outside Meiji Shrine – in the middle of the woods with 100,000 trees, or even up on a mountain when I went hiking at Mt Takao, you’re guaranteed clean, modern toilets! Amazing!

Also, have you thought of trying a Japanese bidet toilet? With lots of buttons that give you control over water pressure, water direction, and even music to drown out any weird sounds from your body? And warm seats too – super awesome in cold weather? Japanese toilet systems are simply the most amazing thing invented. It will make you look forward to pooping time, lol!

13. Because ONSEN.

On hindsight, it’s probably more comfortable to experience onsen as a solo traveller, than deal with the double stress of seeing your friend naked + your friend seeing you naked 😉

If you’re clueless about onsen, fret not, for I have an easy guide on how to use the onsen! If you’ve never tried onsen, you’re really missing out!

14. Tokyo has seasons and sceneries perfect for your selfies.

autumn foliage at Hokokuji | Reasons Tokyo is Perfect for Solo Travel • The Petite Wanderess
Cherry blossoms as your selfie backdrop? Or autumn leaves? How about snow scenes? Tokyo has amazingly beautiful seasons, which is why everyone flocks there!

| Read: When is the best time to visit Tokyo? My vote goes to November! |

15. Tokyo gives you easy access to outlying areas for day trips.

Merely 1 or 2 hours away by public transport from Tokyo centre, you can take day trips to Kamakura, Nikko, Hakone, Yokohama, Kawaguchiko to see Mount Fuji, and so many more places. Explore cultural attractions and coastal towns, go hiking, and so much more. Enjoy your me time!

chairllft down Mount Takao
taking chairlift down Mount Takao

The Japanese are some of the most respectful, honest and cultured people I’ve ever seen, which makes the environment really comfortable to be at, even if you’re travelling on your own in this indescribable city – Tokyo. Now I can’t wait to go back again!

Are you inspired to make a solo trip to Tokyo yet?

I only use Agoda or Booking.com for booking hotels in Japan!

 

Looking for more tips to travel by yourself to Tokyo? Stay tuned, I’ll publish a post as soon as it’s ready! Meanwhile, enjoy these articles from Japan:

Tokyo //
Tokyo for the first time? Here’s where to go!
Where to stay: Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku Hotel
My tiny Japanese AirBNB apartment experience
Why November is a great time to visit Tokyo
Nature & hiking in Tokyo? Yes, Mount Takao!

Near Tokyo //
Where to see Mt Fuji? Kawaguchiko!

Kyoto //
How to use the onsen in Japan
Yumotokan onsen ryokan hotel
Finally seeing a geisha in real

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Credits: The points about female-only train cabins and female-only hotel floors, as well as photo of female-only hotel storey were contributed by my friend, Grace H., thank you! | All other photos taken by me. | Information about Shinjuku Station and train map are from its website.
Disclosure: This blogpost contains affiliate link(s). If you make a booking/purchase through the link(s), my travel blog receives a tiny commission at no extra costs to you. The commission helps me offset costs for maintaining this website, I’ll be very grateful for your support! Full disclosure terms are available on this page.

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30 comments

    1. I’m happy to hear, thanks Lorena! I’ve been to Japan a few times, but not Osaka yet. There’re so many places I’ll like to cover in Japan, can’t wait!

  1. Fantastic guide! I’ve never considered going to Tokyo alone because of the language barrier (and prices, haha) but you’ve convinced me that it’s possible. 🙂

    1. Thanks Brooke! Glad to hear that! Yen is pretty low now compared to few years back while prices have stayed the same, which means the ramen is cheaper now =) As for language, Tokyo is really possible for first-time visitors. I can’t say the same for other cities in Japan though, hehehe.

    1. Thank you Bonnie! Indeed, the city is working hard to boost tourism, especially with the next Olympics taking place in 2020 in Tokyo. I’ve only seen Tokyo get more and more crowded each time I visit =S I guess that’s the downside of tourism!

  2. The more I read about Japan the more I want to go and it is gresat to read it is a good destination for solo travellers too. Not much hotels have rooms for single travellers.

    1. Thank you! Japan is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been and it’s very hard to not love it. I totally appreciate the hotels that cater to solo travellers too! It’s only more fair this way =)

    1. Great to hear, Aysha! Tokyo remains top of my list whenever someone asks for recommended cities for solo travel, other than Singapore. Hope you’ll visit Tokyo one day!

  3. I love Japan and I have spent many a summers there visiting family but I must admit, the train map is so daunting! And I speak a little a Japanese and understand quite a fair bit, I still haven’t considered going solo..! Ahaha

    1. Aww those must be very fun trips when you visit! It’s easier since you can speak and understand a bit of the language! I do agree the train map gets daunting, I still feel lost too whahaha, but now, I’ve learned to put my faith in Google Maps as well as the train stations’ staff should I get lost, *fingers crossed*

    1. Hi-5 Allison cos it’s my fave country too! Can’t get enough or sick of it. Thank you for the compliment and for coming by! =D

  4. The place you first go n a solo trip is imprinting on you, for me it was Cuba (several places).
    Tokyo is still on my wish list and while I didn’t thought about going in a solo trip it looks quite a heaven foro solo female travelers for safety, cool factor, cleaneless andmuch more. Will live to dine in the cozy ramen restaurants and experience the onsens.
    And no doubt will love to get lost in Tokyo .
    Lovely post, thank you hipe this year to visit th city too!

    1. Thank you Mirella! Wow, Cuba! I’ll really love to visit Cuba one day – I’m very intrigued by all the bursts of colors in Havana, what a memory your first solo trip must have been!

      Hope your wish for visiting Tokyo this year will come true too! <3

  5. This is so incredibly spot on, Kristine! I’m currently writing this comment from – you guessed it – TOKYO! I’m not traveling alone but I can totally see how it would be easy to get around if I were a solo female traveler. Haven’t braved Shinjuku Station yet – wish me luck!

    1. How I wish I’m in Tokyo right now Flo! Tokyo is a very welcoming environment for solo travellers =) You can pop by Shinjuku for a quick one – just have to know ahead which area you wanna visit the most, then head for that exit. Best of luck!

    1. Thanks so much, I’m very happy to hear! Hope you can visit Tokyo soon and if it helps, I have a blogpost recommending the places to cover for the first time! =)

  6. This has made me so nostalgic for Tokyo! Me and my husband have friends there and have been a few times, most recently in January, and I actually said it’s such a good place to go on your own because it’s just so orderly and organised and efficient. Everything is designed for people who work 23 of 24 hours a day haha, but that actually pays off really well if you’re a visitor to the city because it just means everything is so well run and you can get whatever you need with minimum hassle! I can’t wait to go back 🙂

    1. Ahh Caroline, that’s awesome! Tokyo is a city I’ll consider for staying for an extended period of time, if I can ever accept the over-crowdedness as well as high costs of accommodation. I go once every 1 or 2 years and the next time, hopefully, it will be to other new places other than Tokyo! Agreeing that everything is well-planned; the thoughtfulness of Japanese design is really inspiring!

  7. Great tips! I have actually never gone on a solo trip, but if the opportunity comes I totally am ready! I would love to visit Japan as well, and it’s really good to know that Tokyo is a safe city. I do have a question though, as a foreigner with blond hair lol…I’d be afraid I’d really stand out though. Are there many Europeans there? How are they looked upon and treated?

    1. Great to hear! Trying a solo trip will be very interesting, I hope everyone tries it once! Hmm, I’m Asian so I blend quite well with the Japanese. As for foreigners with blond hair, I’m pretty sure you’ll stand out BUT I’m very sure you will be treated with the same respect that the Japanese treats everyone. Other than that, people in Tokyo respects manners and personal space a lot because it’s already over-crowded as it is, so everyone does their best to mind their own affairs. You’ll be very fine!

  8. I LOVED Japan! I got lost on a daily basis, like multiple times a day. One time in the subway station I was following the right colored signs for the train, then all of a sudden they stopped and I had to go back to find them again. And the number of times I went to the wrong train platform thing and had to go back out was crazy. Thankfully I had a three day unlimited subway pass, so that saved me A LOT of money on accidents haha

    1. Loll Tokyo has the ability to really confuse everyone cos it has to handle so much, even the train stations and train lines! Such an amazing city. Thankfully you had the unlimited pass to help you with saving the ‘got-lost’ costs! ;D

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