Travel

13 Tips for First Time Solo Traveler to Japan

Jun 11 2019 By Sriya

In the past years, there used to be very few solo travelers in Japan who were often on business trips.

However, these days the number of solo travelers have increased with most of the traveler being the younger generations.

For solo traveler, traveling for the first time, it’s not possible for people to come and help you every time in Japan.

Hence, it is better for you to be prepared before having any trouble while traveling to Japan.

So, if it’s your first time traveling alone or visiting Japan, there are certain things you definitely need to know.

In this article, we have collected some tips you need to know if you are planning a sole travel to Japan.

 

Have Proof of Departure and Accommodation Details with You

When you are entering in Japan, you will need to declare your intended period of stay on the arrival card.

Also, you will need to write down one address you are visiting and a telephone number there.

In addition, the immigration officer might ask you your return ticket for proof.

This is done in order to make sure that the purpose of your visit is clear.

So, if it’s your first solo travel to Japan, have all these information and necessary documents before boarding your flight.

This process is only done for your safety and safety of Japan. So, don’t worry and be prepared prior to the travel.

 

Always Carry Sufficient Cash

This is one of the tips that not only works for Japan, but for wherever you travel. You always need to have extra cash with you.

Japan is still a predominantly cash-based society. So, having a credit card might not work for every place you travel in Japan.

Also, many Japanese ATMs still do not accept foreign bank cards which makes it difficult for travelers.

So, to save yourself from hassle of desperately hunting for an ATM, always carry sufficient cash when traveling to Japan.

 

Get Information About Important Japanese Taboos

When you are a solo traveler, traveling to Japan, it might get difficult for you to get information from people.

So, before traveling to Japan gather certain information about what are the taboos that are not to be done in Japan.

Always remove your shoes when you are expected to do so.  Such as when entering homes, spas or when you see a shoe rack or lockers at the house.

You are not allowed to talk on the cell phone while traveling in a public transportation. This is supposed to be disrespectful in Japan.

Also, you are not expected to wear a cold mask when having a cough or common cold.

Further, it is supposed to be very rude if you discuss or criticize the Japanese royal family.

There are lots of other taboos in Japan that needs to be noted if you are a sole traveler traveling to Japan.

So, be very aware about these taboos in Japan and make sure you do not make any sort of mistakes.

 

Learn Some Japanese Words

Learning some Japanese words prior to traveling in Japan makes it lot easier especially if you are a solo traveler.

This will help you to interact with Japanese people, communicate with them and share you knowledge and culture with them.

If you need to speak to a Japanese person in English, remember to do so slowly and clearly.

Be mindful of the fact too that many Japanese people are influenced by how their mother tongue abbreviates English words.

Japanese language has a different pronunciation system for English. So, you can make it easier for yourself to travel by learning some basic Japanese words.

 

Don’t Tip in Japan

Tipping at restaurants has never been a practice in Japan. It is sort of taboo there.

Tipping might even be considered as offensive to the workers, owners, and the whole Japanese people out there.

Whatever it is, just know that Japanese hospitality and service staff do not expect you to pay extra.

 

Find Low-Cost Dinner Options

You need not need to starve yourself if you do not have enough money to go for fancy restaurants in Japan.

Simply head to the cooked food sections of large departmental stores like Seibu and Isetan.

Note that near closing hour, many stalls heavily discount food items that cannot be kept overnight.

 

Don’t be Offended if an Establishment Rejects You

In some of the pubs and bars in Japan, they reject the foreigners traveling to Japan.

Most of the establishments do so because they feel they lack the cultural and language skills to handle foreign customers.

Naturally, some are also concerned that their usual custom might mind the foreign presence.

So, whatever the reason might be, do not argue with them or mind it, especially if you are a solo traveler.

Because it might cause you a big trouble which you would not be able to handle alone in others country.

 

Don’t be Late Ever

Don’t ever be late when us ing Japanese public transportation. Keep in mind that Japanese are very punctual when it comes to time.

Japanese train operators aren’t exaggerating when they say you can set your watch by Japanese train departures.

If you turn up half a minute late, then you will see the rear of your train or bus scooting away.

When catching trains, arrive at the station way before the departure time.

 

Tax Exemption for Your Purchases

In many retail chains of Japan, they offer tax exemption for foreign visitors which might make your purchase expensive.

However, your purchase must add up to a certain amount before taxation in order to qualify.

Note that you will need your passport on hand while doing the purchase. This is done to verify your identification.

In general, the minimum spending amount is five thousand yen. So, if you are sole traveler in Japan, keep this things in mind and work accordingly.

 

Practice Appropriate Behavior when Visiting Shinto Shrines

Shinto Shrines is a religious place in Japan to worship God. So, there are specific worship rituals you should know if you visit to Shinto Shrines.

There will always be a trough with running water for you to cleanse yourself. So, use it respectfully.

You should use the provided dippers to collect some water. Further, you need to wash your left hand first, then your right hand.

Under no circumstance should you spit into the trough or wash your hands above it.

At the offering hall, deposit a coin into the offertory box. Bow twice, clap your hands, bow again, and pray your respect.

 

No Smoking in Public

Many Japanese cities have taken aggressive steps to curtail smoking. In some parts of Tokyo, you could be even fined for smoking outside the spot.

Japan is very strict when it comes to their religions and rules. So, if you are solo traveler having a habit of smoking, do it on smoking zones only.

 

Tattoos are still an Issue at Hot Springs and Spas

All Japanese hot springs and public pools display notices forbidden usage by anyone with tattoos.

This is because of tattoos being traditionally associated with the Japanese criminal underworld.

So, to be sage and to avoid disappointment while traveling, you ought to be upfront and check with the staff if you have a tattoo.

 

Respect Japanese Culture

Few of the Japanese expect foreigners, especially tourists, to completely talk and behave like them.

As long as you observe and respect the major taboos in Japan, you won’t be harshly judged for not behaving as locals.

Japan has a distinct culture and it is frequently easy to get overwhelmed by culture shock in Japan.

So, if you are a solo traveler in Japan, respect their culture and follow the rules accordingly.

This will help you to familiarize yourself with common aspects of Japanese culture before your travel.


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