Japan Travel - Alone?

Old May 11th, 2015, 01:16 PM
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Japan Travel - Alone?

Hello,

I'm a 25 year old college graduate looking to travel to Japan. I've lived in Miami, Fl all my life and it's been a dream of mine to travel there. The past year I've been attempting to go but many friends/family members have (understandably) withdrew their interest due to financial/work obligations.

I'm starting to consider traveling to Japan on my own. My question is: Does anyone know of a program/travel group of US travelers that travel to Tokyo/Osaka?

I've skimmed the web but I've been pretty unsuccessful.

Looking forward to any feedback!

-Stephen
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Old May 11th, 2015, 01:34 PM
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Do you really want a tour group? Traveling in Japan is easy on your own, I wouldn't hesitate to go on my own. There are a number of excellent trip reports here from people who have traveled solo to Japan.
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Old May 11th, 2015, 04:51 PM
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I agree 100% with Kathie.....there is no need to go with a group. I am now in Japan for the 10th time and have always gone on my own. I might do a walking tour with a guide from time to time but that's about it for tours.....

Check out japan-guide.com for basically all you need to know to get around in Japan.
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Old May 11th, 2015, 06:39 PM
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Traveling in Japan is easy on your own. If you stay in a hostel you may meet other people who will make your experience more fun. I recommend it. I found the subway is a little challenging at first but subway personnel are very helpful. I noticed that regular citizens don't go out of their way to help you, even if you look like you're struggling, but they will offer assistance if you ask.

I wrote a trip report with pictures, recommendations, itinerary, and observations:
http://fanofblank.blogspot.com/2014/...and-kyoto.html

Enjoy planning and your travels!
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Old May 11th, 2015, 08:35 PM
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Another vote for going solo. If you've never traveled solo before, you might read some of the trip reports here:

http://www.fodors.com/community/trav...collection.cfm

Japan is one of the safest countries, you should have no worries traveling there solo. Also, Japan is one of the countries that participates in the "Greeter" program, where a local person volunteers to show you something of their town. The program is free, although you pay for your greeters transport (I've also bought mine coffee and sometimes a meal). See:

http://www.globalgreeternetwork.info/index.php?id=320
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Old May 11th, 2015, 11:17 PM
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My first trip to japan was by myself. I had a wonderful time, and have returned many times; traveling solo, with my husband & kids, with friends, or with just my husband. It is really easy and safe.
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Old May 12th, 2015, 10:42 PM
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You are brave,traveling alone is a great idea, I dare not...
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Old May 13th, 2015, 05:36 AM
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"I dare not"

Why not? What are you afraid of? I've been traveling (mostly) solo for fifteen years and am still enjoying myself.
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Old May 16th, 2015, 01:42 AM
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Because I'm afraid of meet sth bad,but you're right,we should enjoy our life...
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Old May 17th, 2015, 04:21 PM
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Here's another vote for solo. The country is safe, easy to get around, and the people are wonderfully helpful. Just do your research beforehand and you will be fine.
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Old May 17th, 2015, 05:26 PM
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Do not keep waiting. Your friends may never be ready to go to Japan (or any other trip). Go solo! If you've never traveled alone go on a weekend trip to get your feet wet.

Couple years ago I was planning on going solo to Japan but let my family and friends talk me into taking a group tour. I also struggled with finding a tour because either it was expensive, large group, moved to fast or had no free time. I found a local travel company with an itinerary that I liked and offered some free time. It was a small group and we got along (6 people)... but the group leader was not as attentive. There were a couple tours that I would have skipped to do other things instead.

Anyway, I had free time in which I explored Tokyo and Kyoto on my own. Once the subway was figured out I didn't have any problem getting around. Second day I was out looking at my map, a stranger came over and started pointing places out for me. Then there was a train station attendant who power walked with us to make sure we didn't miss the train. Most of the people I encountered were quite friendly.


A long winded post to say: Do not question Japan. You are going. Maybe you can search for hostels, airbnb or couchsurfing to have other people around?
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Old May 19th, 2015, 05:21 PM
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Japan was my second solo trip (Bali was my first) and I went independently, at age 24. It's an extremely safe country, very easy getting around, great food, fascinating culture.

I split my time between Tokyo and Kyoto: I felt I did not have enough time in Kyoto, but I did take day trips to Hiroshima and Nara that I don't regret at all (especially Hiroshima).

It's helpful to learn some very basic Japanese phrases, and more importantly, some basic Japanese courtesies and etiquette before going. You don't want to be creating mini ramen death shrines with your chopsticks!

Go for it! For all the reasons above, Japan is a great first country to get your feet wet in terms of solo travel. You may find it to be your preferred form, I know I do. I've since been to South Africa, Iceland, Paris and Amsterdam solo, and have an Argentina and Chile solo trip planned for later this year.

If you are still skittish about going independent, take a look at he tours run by intrepid or g adventures: their tours usually attract a cross section of ages/demos and can run cheaper than some other group tour companies aiming at a more affluent audience. I have not personally been on them since I have no issues travelling solo, but I have friends that have used both companies in your age range and enjoyed their experiences on the whole.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/japan

https://www.gadventures.com/destinations/asia/japan/
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Old May 21st, 2015, 08:09 AM
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Whether or not you're the kind of person who enjoys travelling alone from a companionship point of view, only you can answer.

But from a safety point of view, I have not felt safer anywhere I've been, even red light districts, I felt so completely safe I would have walked through them alone, although that was not the case.

It's not that there is no crime in Japan but that there does not seem to be a great deal of it targeted at visitors.

In addition, the Japanese are very very polite and very helpful, so if you get lost or need help understanding something, you will certainly be able to find assistance.

That said, I would say the Japanese are not as gregarious with strangers as some cultures, though that's a generalisation, of course. I wouldn't expect to find yourself invited into the homes of strangers, but you may certainly find yourself invited to join fellow customers at bars etc.
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