Solo Travel to Japan

Feb 19th, 2007, 12:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5
Solo Travel to Japan

Any advice for a solo black female travelling to Japan? I plan to use a lot of common sense, but just wanted to know if there's anything I should "look out" for or expect.

SenayJ is offline  
Feb 24th, 2007, 06:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 24
Well, can't give a perspective on being black in Japan, as I'm not, but I did spend a week there as a solo female traveler in 2002.

The biggest problem I had was finding my hotel after arriving at Shinjuku station at rush hour on a Friday afternoon. There are about a billion exits from this station, and I had no clue how to get to my hotel, and was so jetlagged I couldn't think straight street.

Once I got that sorted out, things went better!

I had no problems whatsoever as a solo female traveler. I met lots of people along the way -- a single mom and her kids from Australia, a Japanese man and his grandson, a Japanese female accountant -- who I ended up traveling with for anywhere from an hour to a full day. Everyone was friendly. I probably should have been more cautious than I was, but I had no problems.

One of the things I enjoyed doing was going to an English-speaking cafe one night. That's where I met the female accountant, and she took me on a tour of the city the next day, she was so friendly, it was great! I'm not sure how I found it, though, probably online. It wasn't a bar or anything, just a place for Japanese to meet English-speaking people to practice their English. Nothing sleazy about the one I was at in the early evening.

Oh. Being female and short, I appreciated the fact that I could reach a strap on the subway without being on tiptoes. Everything was sized to my 5'2" height!
rabidstoat is offline  
Feb 27th, 2007, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 551
Agree with the above poster. Being female and solo should present no problems. Take the usual precautions and you would be very safe. I've been solo several times and it's never been an issue (though as a 50 something, haven't had unwanted attention) I think the Japanese are more used to seeing other nationalities these days but I don't know if being black would be an issue.
eigasuki is offline  
Mar 16th, 2007, 02:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 95
I'm not sure if you've already gone yet....but I holidayed in Japan as I had family and friends there and although fortunate enough to always have somewhere to stay, I did travel alone at times. Id recommend getting a Japan Rail pass (to avoid the queues, costs and to feel more secure about the fact youre able to leave/move on when you want to) Most of all, I was struck with how polite Japanese people are and how safe it is (compared to London). It does indeed feel very different and sometimes not being able to understand the writing is a bit daunting, but Japanese people are very helpful and amazingly generous. I loved them! I would also recommend trying to book hotels in advance whilst you have access to a few online websites. But dont worry if not - I may just have been lucky, but I didnt feel that I was every being taken for a ride or ripped off at any moment of my trip.My friends and family who lived there for several years have said the same.
You will find that in smaller towns away from the tourist tracks, people may stare at you as you will look different from the locals. But its not threatening in any way. I understood it to be because until about 15 years ago Japan hasnt really been such a popular tourist destination. So you will find yourself in trains/on buses where you are the only non-Japanese person, in which case you will stand out, but in no way should this make you feel unsafe. And certainly dont let that put you off from going to what I think, is one of the most wonderful, dynamic and interesting countries in the world!
traveller2007 is offline  
Mar 19th, 2007, 01:07 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 209
A hint that might help. If you are lost or need help, ask someone of high school or college looking age. English in common in school there.

Remember, people might be a little shy over speaking English (thinking they do not do it perfectly). However, they will likely be happy to try to help.

Mar 19th, 2007, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 91
Hi SenayJ, Japan is about the safest place to visit. The chances of being mugged or robbed is the lowest in the world. Just avoid Ginza district anytime after 11pm -- lots of drunkards -- and it gets pretty sleazy fast.

Traveling in the countryside is difficult if you don't speak Japanese. Those in the public transportation sector speak very little English. My suggestion: When you reach Tokyo, get the hotel or train station personnel (one that speaks some English) to start writing down the places you want to visit in Japanese. Use cards (about the size of business cards) and write on both sides: one side in English for your own reference and the other in Japanese. You may find problems communicating in English even in touristy places like Hakone/Mt Fuji National Park. That said, I speak only several phrases in Japanese but it's adequate. Just be optimistic, put a smile on your face and enjoy yourself. The Japanese are very helpful and friendly people... Safe travels!
jbtan is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 09:45 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 19
The safest place in the planet! People are very polite and they will help.However - if you travel to remote places you will get a funny glance or two ... reason? they may not have seen many black/hispanic/foreign people around there! But as I said, everyone will be very polite and helpful
enrique is offline  
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