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Solo Travel Japan: What to Do Alone in Tokyo

In this solo travel Japan guide, I’m answering all your questions about traveling alone in Japan and, “Is Tokyo safe to visit?” There are many places where it’s safe to travel solo, but not many are accustomed to solo travelers—thankfully, Tokyo is!

This might sound strange, considering Tokyo is immense, with the metropolitan area covering around 2200 square kilometers. It’s also crowded, as 30% of Japan’s population lives in the center, and it’s estimated that 3.5 million pass through Shinjuku Station daily.

While Japan may not feel like the best place to be alone, Hitori culture (“one person” in Japanese) is huge, with restaurants, bars, and hotels all catering brilliantly to solo travelers. Is Japan safe for solo female travelers? Yes—Tokyo especially is incredibly safe and clean to explore.

Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?

The Insurance companies I recommend are Hey Mondo and Safety Wing

Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single-trip cover, annual multi-trip cover, and long-term travel cover. Safety Wing is great value, with monthly coverage starting at $45.08. It’s super easy to use, and it just renews each month. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy.

Read my full travel insurance post here, where I go into detail about all companies. 

Planning a Solo Trip Japan

If you want to try solo traveling Japan, you’ve come to the right place! There are many exciting places to explore alone in Tokyo. Let’s jump into everything to know about planning your solo travel Japan experience to hopefully answer your concerns about “Is Japan safe for solo female travelers?”

Find Your Happy Place

Every neighborhood in Tokyo has a different feel, and finding the ones that suit your personality is critical to having your best trip. If you want to dodge people, see bright lights, stare at a giant roaring Godzilla head, or drink in a bar so small you can touch both walls at once, Shinjuku is your place.

For shopping or people spotting, the crowded streets of Shibuya and Harajuku are full of fashion and Insta-friendly food trends, while hipster Shimokitazawa is where to stop for street art, vintage stores, and smoky jazz bars.

For a change of pace, Yanaka offers a touch of older Tokyo with a more traditional shopping street full of cats. Akihabara, Ikebukuro, and Nakano embrace all things anime and cosplay, while Asakusa offers temples and old izakaya bars. And that’s just the main touristy area—you could spend days exploring each area’s shops, restaurants, and side streets.

Quick Tip: Book accommodation, tours, and transport ahead of time online to save money and stress. 
Best Tokyo ToursClick here to check out the top Tokyo tours
Best Tokyo Accommodation: Click here to check out the best accommodation in Tokyo
Best Tokyo Transport: Click here to book a bus, ferry, or train in Tokyo

The Solo Guide to Toyko

Seek Out a Shrine

Tokyo has hundreds of shrines—top picks include Senso-ji in Asakusa, famous for its giant red lantern-covered shopping street, and the Meiji near Harajuku, where you might spot a Japanese wedding.

Five times daily at Fukagawo Fudo-do, you can experience the flames and hypnotic drumming of a Goma fire ritual or jump on the train to Gotokuji with its thousands of waving cats. Go here in the morning to beat the crowds, as the area containing the cats is very small.

Immerse Yourself in teamLab Borderless

This digital art museum is one of the most popular things to do alone in Tokyo. It consists of immersive light installations that must be seen to be believed. Going solo might not lead to the best selfies (you can’t use tripods or selfie sticks), so enjoy the moment. This is one of the more unique things to do while solo traveling Japan. However, it gets busy, so go in the morning or evening when the crowds die down.

Eat Your Way Around the Tsukiji Outer Market

While the original fish market is no longer there, the Tsukiji Outer Market remains and is lined with stalls selling some of Tokyo’s finest street food. Exploring here is probably my favorite thing to do when I solo travel Japan. Take one of the many local food tours to find the best stalls.

Get Naked With Strangers (It’s Not What You Think)

Onsens are baths full of hot, mineral-infused waters and are the perfect place to soak away your sightseeing aches. However, you have to enter the onsen completely naked (the baths are segregated by gender), which might be uncomfortable for some. However, this can be a great thing to do alone in Tokyo since you’ll probably never see your fellow bathers again.

Oedo Onsen Monogatari in Odaiba is the most foreigner-friendly Tokyo onsen, but brush up on bath etiquette before you go. You must shower and wash your hair before entering the water, and you won’t be allowed in if you have apparent tattoos.

How Safe is Tokyo After Dark?

Tokyo is safe to explore at night, and dining is an ideal solo experience. No one will look at you strangely when you walk in as a party of one. The famous ramen chain Ichiran has partitions between each seat, so solo diners can enjoy more privacy. No one can tell who you’re with when you watch the dishes revolve at a sushi train (often called Kaiten sushi or sushi-go-round). At Genki in Shibuya, you order by screen, and the food is delivered on a tiny replica bullet train.

Walking into a bar, though, could be a different story—you’ll generally be welcomed, but you may feel lonely amidst the social atmosphere. Cue the Magical Trip Bar Hopping Tour! These are run all over the city and allow you to meet with a local guide and other travelers to visit a handful of local bars for drinks and snacks.

This isn’t a “shots ’til you drop” kind of tour. Instead, you’ll learn about Japanese food and culture while visiting bars that might not be as fun on your own. I took the Shinjuku tour, which started in the tiny Memory Lane Alley.

Even if you’re not usually a tour person, you might want to try one while solo traveling Japan. People are friendly and may speak English, but you’ll often go days without a full-blown conversation. A tour allows you to chat, so I usually book two or three during a week alone in Tokyo.

Solo Trip Japan: Traveling From the Airport to Tokyo

Tokyo has two airports, and Haneda is the closest to town. If you fly into Haneda, you can take the train or monorail lines to stations in the city (Shinagawa and Hamamatsucho, respectively) in less than 15 minutes. There’s also the Limousine Bus, which takes about an hour to reach Tokyo Station but drops off at many hotels, so it may take you closer to your accommodation. It also runs all night if you have an early or late flight.

Narita is Tokyo’s second airport and further away from town. Two trains offer the best option for getting into the center—the Narita Express takes you to the Tokyo, Shibuya, and Shinjuku Stations in 60 to 90 minutes, while the Keisei Skyliner arrives at Ueno and takes around 40 minutes.

Suppose I’m flying into Narita after 7:00 p.m.. In that case, I usually stay the night at an airport hotel since it’s usually a long, exhausting travel day, and airport hotels can be cheaper than downtown options. Hotel Nikko is my top choice—the rooms are small but perfect for one.

Getting Around Tokyo

Tokyo has an extensive railway system to go anywhere in the city—a single journey costs 260 to 320 yen. Get a Pasmo or Suica card to transfer around the different rail networks without buying individual tickets. If you return the card at the end of your trip, you’ll get back a credit of 500 yen. You can also try one of the 24 to 72-hour unlimited metro cards available to tourists, saving you a lot of money. Taxis are another safe option, but they can be expensive.

Tokyo Accommodations

Japanese hotel rooms and the beds within them can be tiny—with one occupant, they feel cozy. If I’m solo traveling Japan, I have more choices of where to stay than when I’m traveling with my partner. If you’re traveling with family, research the best family hotels in Tokyo, as these recommendations are intended for solo travelers.

One of the best places to stay during your first time alone in Japan is Shinjuku, as it’s great for public transportation and full of delivery options if you’re tired. I usually am because I walk 15 to 20 kilometers daily in Tokyo! The Shinjuku Gracery is in a great location.

For more space, check out the Citadines Shinjuku—it’s further from the central station but surrounded by a cute local neighborhood with bars and restaurants welcoming solo diners. The ramen at Shaka was some of the best I’ve ever had. If you’re nervous about eating alone, most apartments have kitchens.

A cheaper option is Book and Bed, which describes itself as an “accommodation bookshop,” combining library-inspired decor with small individual sleep spaces. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet other travelers! Other good areas with lots to offer travelers include Asakusa and Shibuya.

Is Tokyo Safe to Visit?

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So, how safe is Tokyo to visit alone? Generally, the city is safe, and I feel unsafe walking around at night in only a few areas. Always keep your wits about you—if you feel worried, look for the local Koban (police box), and they will help you.

There’s a red-light district in Shinjuku, but the “entertainment” is kept under wraps. Be more cautious in Roppongi, where tourists are more frequently targeted.

Also, Japan has a reputation for gropers, particularly on crowded trains. It’s said they rarely pick on foreigners, but trains offer female-only carriages at certain times to avoid the risk altogether. Look for the pink “Women Only” signs on the platform edge to determine where they’ll stop.

Tokyo Travel Guide Planning

🚗 Where can I book bus or private transportation ?

 I recommend Bookaway or 12goAsia. You can find lots of different transportation available in all over Asia.

🎫 Where can I buy tickets for museums, attractions, and tours?

 I recommend either Viator or GetYour Guide. They have a lot of options!

👩‍⚕️ What is the best insurance to have while traveling?

I recommend using Heymondo for a great value policy. The app also offers you 24/7 Dr Chat. For Digital Nomads check out SafetyWing digital nomad insurance.

I have also written a blog post covering all my recommended travel insurance here

✈️ Any flight recommendations?

WayAWay offers you cheap flights with cashback. You can use this code CLAIRE22 to get 10% off. Otherwise Skyscanner or Expedia are my go-to flight searching platforms.

📱What do you use for internet connection while traveling?

I’m a big fan of personal WiFi devices and they have saved my ass so many times when traveling. I wrote a full review of the top travel WiFi devices you can read here. I personally use GlocalMe as I can either pop in a physical sim card or use their local carrier.

With regards to my phone connection, I use e-sims while traveling, so rather than having to swap out my regular sim card I can download the app and buy a virtual sim card. I recommend using eitherAirhub or Alosim. Both have great coverage of multiple countries and are very easy to use.

🛏️ What is the best platform to use for booking accommodation?

The 3 best platforms that I normally use are, and Expedia They offer great deals and multiple options. I always check all three to be sure of the best deals.

🛅 Do you have any luggage recommendations for traveling?

I do have a complete list of the best packing and luggage products that I recommend, you can check the list here. I’m currently traveling with this suitcase and this backpack. 

The Solo Guide to Tokyo

Solo Travel Japan: Final Thoughts

The only downside of traveling to Tokyo, solo or otherwise, is that you can’t see it all in one trip! If you’re like me, you’ll get hooked—take it from someone about to return for trip number six!

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Author Bio: Helen Foster from Destination>Differentville is a bit Japan-obsessed—as if the whole “six visits” thing didn’t give that away. Her blog focuses on the quirkier sights in a destination. She knows the answer if you want to know where to meet a robot in Tokyo or drink with a monk in Kyoto.