Things to Do in Tokyo Alone – a Guide for Solo Travelers
There are plenty of things to do in Tokyo. In fact, Tokyo is perfectly suited to solo travel and we're here to tell you why. Read on for some great tips and advice.
Solo traveling is pretty in vogue these days, a choice that allows you to go at your own pace, indulge your own interests and embrace a luxurious selfishness. Going it alone in a city like Tokyo, however, is hardly a solitary experience. In the most populous city on earth, you’re never too far from somebody else – even if they are a total stranger.
Regardless, the city does cater to the solo adventurer particularly well. Suitable activities, eating options and accommodation choices abound and we’re here to run you through them all. We’ve got some general advice on the city, a guide to accommodation options, some sightseeing highlights especially suited to when you’re alone and even the best places to dine out solo, all right here.
The first thing you should be aware of is that Japanese hospitality is, without hyperbole, unbeatable. Cities such as New York and Paris have an unfortunate reputation for a certain coldness, an unfriendliness that could be offputting for a newcomer. Japanese cities are the opposite; the people are ever-welcoming, helpful and friendly. Granted, it is a strict requirement of service workers but the general attitude pervades.
The point is that as a solo traveler you won’t struggle to find a friendly face or someone to help you out should you need it. An important factor to keep in mind.
Safety is another important factor for the lone traveler and luckily, Tokyo is literally the safest city on earth. That’s right – number one. That’s not to say you shouldn’t stay vigilant but it is a nice stat to have at the back of your mind. If you do run into any problems head to the nearest ‘koban’ (police box) and ask for assistence.
When you’re alone, interacting with locals becomes much more of a necessity. Chances are you’ll get lost, struggle to find what you’re looking for or just need some advice – keeping in mind the famous Japanese hospitality and the extreme safety the city provides should makes this a lot easier to handle.
Solo Accommodation Options
Accomodation options are plentiful in Tokyo, with options to suit any preference or budget. If you’re alone and want to stay alone, a hotel or Airbnb apartment might be a good choice. Both giving you a good base from which to explore the city from. If, however, you’d like to make a few friends or even a travel companion, you may be better off going for one of the capital’s hostels, guesthouses or trying out something like Couchsurfing. All of these put you in close confines with a lot of fellow travelers with whom you can swap stories and tips. You may even make some friends for life.
For more information on where to stay in Tokyo, take a look at the articles below:
Solo Sightseeing and Activities
Tokyo is a city full of distractions where it’s near impossible to be bored. Whatever your interests are, there’s something for you. When you’re alone you may even be able to fit more in. We’ve got a few highlights below:
Tokyo from above
The Tokyo Skytree, the tallest Tokyo tower, offers visitors a great view of the Tokyo skyline, but for a premium. If you’re running out of yen, try one of the city’s many free observation decks. The most popular of these is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Shinjuku – completely free and completely breathtaking. For a full run through of Tokyo’s observation towers, read our guide:
Shrines, Temples and Parks
Traveling alone allows you to set your own schedule. So when your feet begin to ache and you need to recharge – you can do just that. To do this, head to one of Tokyo’s many parks, temples or shrines. These pockets of calm are perfect for taking it easy away from the crowds. Check below for more information:
Tokyo’s onsens are always a good choice. Some are highly traditional, others ultra-modern and others a mix of both. Bathing alone is highly common as almost all are gender segregated anyway. What’s more, the onsen experience is about indulging yourself and relaxing, not talking, thus a perfect singular activity.
For more info: Tokyo Onsen – Relax Your Mind, Body and Soul
Karaoke in Japan is fun, reasonably priced and very common. If you find yourself stuck for something to do at night (or during the day) head to a Karaoke joint (you can’t miss them) and rent a room. Going to Karaoke alone is perfectly normal here and saves any potential embarassement. Give it a go!
Full guide to Karaoke in Japan, here: Karaoke in Japan – Survival Guide
Befriend some animals
If humans aren’t for you, how about some animal companionship? You’ve probably heard of Cat Cafes, but what about Rabbit Cafes, Owl Cafes and Snake Cafes? All options (among more) in Tokyo.
For a small fee, you get either 30 minutes or 1 hour in the cafe, with a cup of coffee or tea for yourself and a small jar of treats to feed the animals. The emphasis is on the animals in these places so don’t expect too much in the way of quality food or drink but if it’s cuddling with a kitten or playing with a snake that you crave – you can’t go far wrong.
More info right here.
Eating alone is common in Tokyo. It is a big city, people have busy lives and everybody gets hungry. Many restaurants cater to solo-diners specifically – offering food that’s quick and efficient but delicious all the same. The target market here is the hurried salaryman but you don’t need to be one to share in the fun.
Particularly we recommend ramen restuarants, chain restaurants and conveyer belt sushi restaurants. These three types take into account lone customers very well (in most cases).
Head to a McDonalds or Burger King if you like but you’ll be missing out. Fast-food in Japan comes in many forms, is cheap, delicious and is perfect for when you’re all alone. Restaurants such as Yoshinoya, Sukiya, and Matsuya serve classic Japanese beef bowls (rice topped with rice and vegetables), Coco Ichibanya for example, serves classic Japanese curry and places like Washoku Sato or Sagami are good for Japanese dishes like soba, sashimi and tempura.
Conveyor Belt Sushi
Conveyer belt sushi is perfect for eating alone. Seats face the conveyer belt with the chefs beyond – the food is the main event. Pick whatever you fancy from the belt or order something you can’t see -it’s up to you. With some of the freshest fish you’ll ever find in a city this large, conveyer belt sushi in Tokyo is a must.
Things to Do in Tokyo
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