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Can a 16 year old travel alone to Japan?

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My 16 y/o son (will be 17 in January) wants to visit his older brother (24 y/o) who is living in Tokyo. His brother has suggested that he come and stay in a youth hostel or inexpensive ryokan for a week. He assures us that it is safe and that there's plenty to do in Tokyo that will keep him amused.

The older son is living in a kind of dorm, apparently too small to accommodate his brother. That's why he's suggesting a hostel or ryokan.

I think he's crazy; but thought I'd ask what others thought. I've never been to Japan. My 16 y/o has traveled internationally (once), but was with me. He speaks no Japanese.

I know that youth hostels won't be a problem, but will he have any trouble checking into a ryokan alone? (I would make reservations before he goes.) I would also insist that his brother pick him up at the airport and return him to the airport at the end of the trip. Estimated stay: 7-10 days.

Any views appreciated!!


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