15 Reasons Why You should Choose Japan for your First Solo Travel
As a solo female traveller, when we plan our travels, we look at things through a different spectrum. The first thing on our list is our safety. In a world where women are far from being treated as equal to men, this remains our main concern. Will I be able to move around without being bothered? Will there be roving eyes at me making me feel uncomfortable? And will I be judged for travelling alone?
No matter how many times we pack for our solo trips, such questions creep into our minds all the time. And if you are taking that giant leap and planning your first solo trip, questions like these haunt you even more.
So, what if you could travel to one of the safest countries of the world on your first female solo trip? What if it was beautiful and captivating? What if it was a country steeped in mystery that will surely capture your heart in more ways than one?
Well, if you want an answer to these questions, it is Japan. It is beautiful, evocative, filled with modernities, and yet with a slice of history. The tall skyscrapers co-existing with temples and shrines would blow your mind! And on top of it all: A safe place for a woman.
But if you are still not convinced why Japan should be the country for your first solo travel, here are 15 reasons why it should be.
1. One of the safest countries in the world
Being on your own is scary. Travelling all by yourself is scarier. But in Japan, there is one less thing you have to worry about. The whole country feels safe, and you can plan your trips without worrying about unwanted attention. Tourism is a major part of their yearly income, and they make sure that people visiting Japan leave satisfied with their experience.
Daily life in Japan is fast. People always seem to be in a hurry, yet everything runs according to a routine and time.
But not everything can be perfect in the world, and that includes Japan. Though we know that Japan is a safe country with low reports of crime against women, never put your guard down. Always be aware of your surroundings and avoid dark lanes too late into the night. Better safe than sorry, right? To know more, read my blog on 25 tips for first-time solo female travellers.
2. Low crime rates
Not only is Japan a safe destination for travelling, but also a place where you don’t need to be constantly worrying about the safety of your belongings. There might be instances here where you may travel to a city just for a day, and you haven’t booked any accommodation. So do you drag your heavy suitcases along the city? Oh no. There is a system in most major railway stations in Japan where you can store luggage in coin lockers without worrying about its safety. Read my blog on Tips for taking the train alone in Japan.
As a female solo traveller, worrying about the safety of my personal belongings is something that keeps me up at night, especially if I am taking public transport overnight. But when in Japan, you do not have to worry about such things.
3. The people
I guess it’s no surprise that a country like Japan is safe because of the inhabitants. Japanese people are probably one of the best kinds of people you will ever meet. They are warm, welcoming, and extremely helpful.
If you ever feel lost in Japan, you will find Japanese people coming up to you and offering you their help. During my first visit to Japan, a stranger had even taken time off his busy schedule and helped me buy a train ticket. How amazing is that? In no other country in the world, someone will come up to you and say, “you look lost, do you want some help?”
Even at small restaurants, you will find the most courteous servers, and they often strike up a pleasant conversation with you. They are never without a smile.
4. People are respectful
People in Japan are not only friendly but also extremely respectful. All of us are aware of the famous Japanese bow, a famous gesture to show respect. At first, it felt a little awkward, I won’t lie, because it was foreign in my culture. But then I realised how respectful the whole culture in Japan is and soon fell in love with it.
Also, every time you walk into a store, everyone in the shop greets you, not just the manager, and when you leave, they all bid you goodbye. I don’t know if this is a part of their tradition. But this is something they follow with visitors to make them feel welcome in their country.
5. You won’t stick out
As you can very much make from my conversation till now, Japan’s people are one of the biggest reasons you should visit the country. But even among people who are so different from each other, you don’t stick out like a sore thumb in Japan.
You will hardly ever come across anyone in Japan who looks sloppy or messy. Also, as far as I noticed, no one really wears a flip flop in Japan. But if you wear casual clothes and a flip flop, you will never receive a weird stare, and that’s Japan for you all. You also have the liberty to wear anything you feel comfortable in, except when you visit shrines or temples where you have to dress a little more conservatively.
6. It’s okay for women to travel alone
As Japan is a safe place to travel for solo female travellers, you will find many solo travellers. For this reason alone, you will never feel lonely in this faraway land. You will also find plenty of Japanese women who travel alone, eat at restaurants on their own, and shop alone. I think this will squash all those doubts and insecurities that might crop up in your mind on your first solo travel.
7. Women only cars in trains
Unfortunately, in today’s world, sexual harassment is a big problem all women face in our everyday lives. Though Japan is way safer than other countries, some incidents are reported here and there, especially in a crowded train during peak hours.
To protect female passengers from such untoward incidents, Japan has a female-only car in their trains. They are usually coloured pink and so are easily identifiable. I cannot stress enough how great this is because you do not have to worry about squishing up against a strange man even on a crowded train. Whenever you can, always board this car on a train.
8. Female only accommodation
For your first solo travel, staying in a hotel or hostel with men swarming all over may seem daunting at first. Sharing space and sometimes a common bathroom may be uncomfortable for you. If you want to avoid those awkward moments, Japan has a great solution for you.
While in Japan, you have to stay at capsule hotels. It is a unique accommodation that is perfect for solo travellers. In addition to that, it is affordable, convenient, and available at many locations in a city. It gives you all the feels of living in a spaceship, and this is an experience you have to be a part of on your first solo trip to Japan.
While originally capsule hotels catered to only men, things are slowly but surely changing in Japan. And now you have an option to book an all-women capsule in main cities, especially Tokyo. I would suggest you choose Akihabara Bay Hotel, one of the best value capsule hotels for women. It is in one of Tokyo’s prime spots, so commuting to different parts of the city won’t be a problem for you. With that, they also provide free Wi-Fi, a laundromat, and quality skincare products for all guests.
Read my blog on some of the non-touristy things you can do in Tokyo.
9. Delicious food
Japanese cuisine is considered one of the best in the world and for a very good reason. But if you have never visited Japan, your knowledge about Japanese food is way from being complete. If you happen to love food and are interested in exploring food wherever you travel, Japan is the ideal destination for you. The country boasts of one of the highest Michelin star restaurants for a good reason. But if you ask me, you should plan your first female solo trip to Japan just to savour the delicious food at small eateries in the country. Every region has its specialty, and it is not only too yummy but also extremely affordable.
10. Eating alone is encouraged
As a solo female traveller, you might need some time getting used to having your meals all by yourself. The stares that restaurant servers give you when you say, ‘A table for one please?’ is hard to let go of.
But in Japan, you are actually encouraged to eat alone! Yes, it’s true. Ichiran in Tokyo is a ramen place where you sit alone in a booth with dividers on both sides. When you enter the restaurant, you fill out a form to customise your order. You will then receive your order through the screen in the booth. The best part is you can enjoy your meal alone without feeling awkward about it.
Ichiran is also known for its delicious tonkatsu broth, and it is a must-try. Read my blog, top 13 things you must enjoy on your first solo trip to Japan.
11. Take a dip in the past
Japan is a country where both past and present dwell in a symphony. As I said before, this country has something for everyone, and if you are a history nerd, then Japan is the place to be. From historical castles, temples to museums, Japan has preserved it all and beautifully. Special mention for Osaka Castle, a beautifully preserved castle that deports you back in the pages of history. To read more about the castle, do check out my blog: The ultimate solo guide to Osaka.
Even most restaurants in Japan have stood in the same spot for over a century. Apart from the castles in Japan, visit the historical museums and sites in Hiroshima and Nagasaki to delve into history.
12. Step into the future
While there is a part of Japan that is old school, there is a major chunk of marvellous technology that gives you a glimpse into the future. It is nothing new that Japan is a technological masterpiece, and if you are curious to see what the future holds for us, you have to visit Miraikan, the Future Museum. It is located on the man-made island of Odaiba in Tokyo and is full of interactive exhibits with robots.
But for me, the only thing that should absolutely draw you to Japan is the teamLab Borderless. Do me a favour and watch some videos of the multi-sensory digital art experience, and I am sure you will be booking your tickets to Japan next!
Contrary to popular belief, language is hardly ever a problem when visiting this country. All signs in all major train stations are usually in both English and Japanese. The same applies to bus stations and even places of accommodation and even restaurants. The ever-polite Japanese people also make it a point to try and learn bits and pieces of English so that they can speak to their ever-growing English-speaking customer base.
But I would advise you to learn a couple of Japanese words here and there so that even you can show them that you are making an effort.
14. Beautiful in every season
One of the best things about this country is that it is beautiful every season. There is the warmth of the summer, crisp snowy winters, picturesque autumn, and the majestic cherry blossoms of the spring. I would suggest that you book your tickets during spring to witness sakura in Japan, which is the ultimate experience. The whole country turns a colour of pink and white and it is just breathtaking! To know about sakura, read my blog on my ultimate solo travel guide to cherry blossoms.
15. It’s not as expensive as you think
There are travel options and accommodations in Japan that can burn a hole in your pocket. But the notion that it is an expensive country to visit is not true. You can enjoy Japan on a budget, and all you have to do are some research and thorough planning. Travel cheap, eat at local food joints and choose more affordable options to stay, and I can guarantee that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
So, don’t think twice before booking the tickets to Japan and enjoying the first of many female solo trips. You know what they say, right? Firsts are always special.
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.