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Solo Travel to Japan: Best Places and safety tips

Planning solo travel to Japan? Take a look at our recommendation on what to take, precautions and how to stay connected while abroad!

Manuel M.

October 28, 2023

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Traveling solo to Japan holds the potential of a life-changing adventure. Japan’s rich cultural heritage and breathtaking surroundings make it a fascinating blend of old customs and modern advancements. It’s important to be ready before you pack your bags and head out on your own journey. Most importantly, you have to remain connected.

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What to Bring

What to take with you on your travels is extremely important because it can make a big difference whether you’ll have a pleasant time abroad or if you end up with a headache. Don’t burden yourself with excessive luggage on your solo travel to Japan, specially since you’re on your own, you’ll be weighed down by too much clothing. Depending on the time of year and weather when you travel, pack just about enough clothing and indispensable items for the time you’re abroad.

Meguro River, Matsuno, Japan. Source: Unsplash

Packing light and adaptable items is key for a solo vacation to Japan. Keep in mind that when you travel to new places, you’ll encounter a wide range of climates. Bring lightweight items that can be layered for the colder months and breathable fabrics for the hotter summers in Japan. Pack the basics like sturdy footwear, an umbrella, a bag, a water bottle, and a power converter to keep your electronics charged while on the road.

Clothing is not the only thing that you’ll need with you for your solo travel to Japan, you’ll also need some form of ID and documentation. Clearly, you’ll need your passport, money, credit or debit cards, and many others. Check out the final checklist at the end for the most essential items to take with you.

(Visiting the City that never sleeps? Stay connected!)

Safety Precautions

When traveling alone, you have to take safety measures, specially if you’re traveling alone. Triple check that you take your passport and documentation and make digital copies on your phone just in case. Confirm if you need a visa to enter Japan, an eTA (electronic travel authorization) or no visa at all. A popular website that can provide you more information is Passport Index.

Familiarize yourself with emergency phone numbers to contact during your solo travel to Japan in case you find yourself in a sticky situation. It’s crucial to locate your country’s embassy and keep their contact information on hand. Japan is generally considered a safe destination, but just like any other place, take the necessary precautions like being aware of your surroundings and watching out for pocket pickers in crowded areas.

Japan is also known for their serene and respectful culture. It is common to remove shoes while entering a house, some shops, and temples, and to bow as a form of greeting. Slurp your noodles and don’t poke your chopsticks in your rice as a gesture of respect for the cook. Speak gently and avoid making loud gestures. Always get permission from the locals before taking photos, especially at religious sites, and learn the local tattoo conventions before getting any. Japan emphasizes on orderliness and recycling, so please dispose of trash correctly. If you follow these suggestions, you should have a much more rewarding and enjoyable experience in Japan.

Hints and Guides

  • Learn basic Japanese: Even though many Japanese people do speak English, learning a few simple phrases like “hello,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” will take you a long way toward improving your interactions and showing respect for the locals.
  • Use Public Transportation: Consider taking advantage of Japan’s large and well-organized public transportation infrastructure. If you want to visit several Japanese cities during your trip, you can save money by getting a Japan Rail Pass.
  • Try the local Cuisine: Japanese food is famous throughout the world, and each region has its own unique characteristics. If you would like to have a memorable meal, you should eat something you’ve never had before. Don’t hesitate to try and use new things!
  • Try an Onsen: Japan has plenty of hot springs called onsens. Dive into the healing waters and learn about a longstanding exemplar of Japanese culture.
  • Keep in Touch: Staying connected to the internet is also another important factor to consider on your solo travel to Japan. There are plenty of alternatives to getting data abroad. You can use a pocket WiFi, a local SIM card, mobile apps, and even free WiFi networks. To get around in Japanese cities, translate signs, and search for information, having a constant internet connection is essential.

The innovative eSIM service is a global trend in staying connected thanks to how easy it is to get one and install it. There are many providers like Holafly to stay online regardless of where you are in the world. You can also learn more about what eSIM is.

The Holafly eSIM

For your solo travel, learning how an eSIM for Japan improves your travel is a fantastic option for keeping in touch with loved ones back home. The eSIM eliminates the need for a physical SIM card by working as a virtual chip. Read more about the benefits of using Holafly eSIM:

  1. Packages Holafly has plenty of available plans and packages that can go from days up to 3 months. Depending on how long you want to stay in Japan, you can get the package that best suits you.
  2. User-Friendly: The Holafly website and app are very easy to use and navigate. You’ll find it very intuitive to be able to get the eSIM that you need for your adventure. Once you get your eSIM you be able to connect right when you land. You don’t have to go through the hassle of trying to get a local SIM card, specially with the language barrier.
  3. Availability: Holafly’s eSIM has nationwide coverage, so you can keep in touch, no matter where your travels take you—from the crowded streets of Tokyo to the ancient temples of Kyoto.
  4. Cheap: When compared to roaming fees or pocket WiFi, Holafly’s eSIM is generally cheaper. You can relax and enjoy your trip without worrying about coming back home to astronomical data bills. With Holafly you’ll be charged one flat rate and there are hidden charges.
  5. 24/7 Customer Support: Holafly’s customer support team is available 24/7 to assist you in several languages, like English, Spanish, German and French so you won’t have problems talking to an agent.

(Check if your eSIM is eSIM compatible here!)

Checklist for traveling to Japan

Our final checklist for your travels. Take note or you can even print it out! Take advantage and check out how to create your own itinerary.

Travel Documents:

  • Passport (with at least six months validity from your return date)
  • Visa (if required)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Itinerary and accommodation reservations
  • Emergency contact information

Money and Payment:

  • Cash in Japanese yen
  • Credit/debit cards (notify your bank about your travel plans)

Clothing:

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Lightweight, breathable clothing (depending on the season)
  • Layering options for cooler months
  • Hat or cap for sun protection
  • Swimsuit (if you plan to visit onsen or beaches)

Personal Items:

  • Prescription medications and necessary medical supplies
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent

Electronics:

  • Smartphone and charger
  • Camera and accessories
  • Portable power bank
  • Travel adapter and converter (if needed)

Travel Gear:

  • Lightweight backpack
  • Travel pillow and eye mask (for long flights or train rides)
  • Combination lock for securing your belongings
  • Reusable water bottle

Miscellaneous:

>Traveling from Canada to Japan? Here’s a guide to help you out!<