Upon first glance, for solo travelers, Tokyo may seem a bit daunting. A huge metropolis with over 13 million residents, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of planning a solo trip there. However, there are many reasons why Tokyo is actually the perfect destination for solo travelers, check out our top 5 reasons below!
1. Tokyo is Safe for Solo Travelers
Japan is one of the safest countries in the world and despite its large population, Tokyo has an incredibly low crime rate. Although you should exercise caution as you would in any city, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of people that have dropped their wallets only to have it returned a few days later. In cafes, you’ll often see people leave their bags and purses on tables whilst they go to the counter to order, which would seem unthinkable in most countries. This low crime rate makes Tokyo a great option for solo travelers, particularly for women when walking around the city at night.
2. Tokyo is Good Value for Money
There is a slightly outdated opinion that Japan is a very expensive country, but compared to some European and US cities it is much more affordable when dining out. Consumption tax is low (10% from October 2019) and tipping is not required. Furthermore, many types of restaurants offer meal plans throughout the day offering further discounts on dining experiences. For example, it’s not uncommon to find lunch deals for under 1000 yen, offering a main dish, side, and a drink. During the evenings look out for the magical words ‘tabehoudai’ and ‘nomihoudai,’ which mean all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink. If you’re eating in a group of fellow solo travelers it will often work out very good value for money and everyone can just split the bill evenly without any hassle.
3. Tokyo is a City of Single People
Japan famously suffers from a declining birth rate and fall in the number of marriages, resulting in a rising number of single people. It’s estimated that by 2035, half the population over 15 years old will be single and 40% will live by themselves. In Tokyo, apartments are mainly designed for solo living, small in size yet affordable enough for singles working in the city. It’s not just living arrangements in Tokyo that are made for one, there’s an increasing number of bars and restaurants designed to make single people feel more comfortable. For example, in Tokyo, there’s a chain of karaoke boxes for one person called 1Kara, perfect for people who don’t want to perform in front of strangers. ‘Hitori Yakiniku’ is a new breed of restaurants in Tokyo that takes the traditional group dining barbeque experience and replaces it with smaller grills for people dining alone.
4. It’s Easy for Solo Travelers to Meet New People in Tokyo
Whilst Meetup groups are no longer a new concept, solo travelers to Tokyo can now also meet locals via the OodyMate app. The social dining app, which is free to download, connects travelers with locals to arrange small group meetups in restaurants off-the-beaten-path that would be difficult to discover without insider knowledge. Dining with a local not only takes you to restaurants that avoid tourist-traps, but you can feel at ease regarding any language barriers or difficulty reading the menus. Many of the best places to eat in Tokyo don’t have English menus so eating with locals means you can try authentic Japanese cuisine.
5. It’s easy to access the rest of Japan alone via public transport
Tokyo has an excellent public transport system making it easy to access all parts of the city alone without having to hire cars or book group tours. Also, it’s easy to hop on a train and visit other cities nearby. Popular day trips from Tokyo include Yokohama, a cosmopolitan port city with its trendy Red Brick Warehouse district, Kamakura, nicknamed Little Kyoto by locals due to its high concentration of temples, Mount Takao, a wonderful spot to see autumn leaves, and Nikko, home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Kegon Falls, one of Japan’s top three waterfalls.