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Reflect on nature and forge your own path: A solo traveler’s guide to discovering Japan

Sep 21, 2023 by The Go Ahead Tours Team

There’s an emerging culture in Japan surrounding the term “ohitorisama,” which roughly translates to “one person” or “party of one.” The culture celebrates the joy of spending time alone indulging in hobbies, enjoying a meal, or traveling solo. Maybe that’s why Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour ranks number one on our list of top solo trips

Japan offers countless opportunities for solo travelers to immerse themselves in the local culture, bask in the majesty of natural wonders, and savor the cuisine. “​I made the decision to have my first international trip by myself to Japan, and it was the absolute best decision that I made!” said traveler Rebekah after returning from our Japan: Kyoto, the Japanese Alps & Tokyo. “I absolutely recommend this trip to anyone who wants to visit Japan.” If you’re ready to travel solo, we think going guided on one of our Japan tours is an excellent choice.

Why should you visit Japan on a solo guided tour?

Is Japan good for solo travel? Absolutely. The country offers a wealth of cultural experiences and immersive historical and natural sites. Travelers who take our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour—or who go solo on any of our other Japan tours—will find plenty of opportunities to forge new friendships while reserving valuable time to get to know themselves better. Below are some of the best reasons why you should go guided for your Japan solo travel

Much of Japan caters to solo travelers

Solo travel in Japan is hardly a novel concept, though recently, the demographic has shifted from predominantly briefcase-wielding “salarymen” to travelers seeking new experiences and cultural immersion. Because the locals are so accustomed to hosting solo travelers, you’ll find that no one bats an eye when you explore a temple or sit down to a meal solo. In fact, the country’s counter dining and street food culture are ideal for parties of one, so don’t be shy about venturing out for local bites during your free time on tour. 

Your Tour Director will be there to help you with logistics and the language barrier

Wondering how to travel solo in Japan when you don’t speak the language? Go guided! When you join us on a guided tour of Japan, your Tour Director and local guides will be there every step of the way to make sure everything runs smoothly—all you have to do is relax and enjoy your adventure. “This trip would not have been as successful without our Tour Director Yuki,” said traveler Don of our Japan: Kyoto, the Japanese Alps & Tokyo. “She made sure each person had their needs met. On off-dinner days, she was able to organize reservations for us, as it is difficult to do so in a country as busy as Japan. One night, I wanted to eat sushi at an authentic place. She made the arrangements for me, and all I had to do was get in the cab and pay for the ride and dinner. Japan is by far the most friendly of [countries] I have toured. People go out of their way to assist you.” 

The people are polite and helpful

Japanese culture emphasizes respect and hospitality, so don’t be surprised if locals go out of their way to make sure you’re taken care of. “The people throughout the tour, in every city, were courteous, polite, and helpful even when they didn't speak English,” said traveler Marie after returning from our Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto tour. “It was an amazing country that has left an indelible impression on me and my friends.” 

The cities are safe

One of the reasons why solo travel to Japan is so popular is because the country consistently ranks as one of the safest in the world. Its low crime rate and culture of respect and community contribute to the country’s safety, as do effective policing and preventative measures, such as female-only train cars. Traveler Keiko declared Tokyo “The most safe city in the world” after returning from our Highlights of Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto tour. “Not only is it safe, but also clean, and people are kind and hospitable consistently wherever you go. It’s just amazing,” she added. 

Japan offers countless opportunities for reflection

The best way to explore Japan’s iconic scenic landscapes is with a substantial amount of peace and quiet. Solo travel in Japan offers ample opportunities for uninterrupted connection with your surroundings, which can lead to a more immersive experience. 

Travel solo to Japan

What are some of the best places in Japan to visit for solo travelers?

We’ve already established that a Japan tour is an excellent choice for your next solo guided tour. But once you’re there, where should you go? These are our favorite Japan solo travel destinations.


If you’re traveling solo to Japan but don’t want to feel alone, Tokyo is a wonderful place to start. A can’t-miss destination on any Japan tour, the bustling capital is one of the most populous cities in the world and features a seamless blend of ancient tradition and futuristic aesthetics. The best things to do in Tokyo encourage you to dive in and embrace the harmonious culture of this vibrant city. 

What should you do as a solo traveler in Tokyo?

  • Visit the Sensō-ji Temple. Also known as the Asakusa Kannon Temple, Sensō-ji is the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo. The entrance is marked by a towering Thunder Gate hung with an iconic red lantern. Stroll down the Nakamise Shopping Arcade and view the temple’s tiered pagoda to see why Sensō-ji tops our list of must-see temples in Japan to visit. “I absolutely loved Senso-Ji temple and would recommend travelers make a donation to the shrine to get their fortune (an o-mikuji),” said staffer Daniel, who lived in Tokyo for several years. “Senso-Ji is a popular enough temple where the o-mikuji will be in English, as well as Japanese.” 

  • View the famous Shibuya Crossing from above. There’s no better way to feel like part of a community than to see thousands of people moving as one. When you view this iconic crossing from above, you’ll see thousands of locals and travelers crossing the multi-directional crosswalk together at every light change—it’s a small way to feel bonded to others, even when traveling to Japan alone.

  • Connect with your fellow travelers while preparing a traditional meal together. On our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour, you’ll participate in a cooking lesson led by a chef at a local restaurant. After you’ve learned to make an authentic Japanese meal, sit down with your fellow travelers to enjoy the dinner you made together.

Explore Tokyo

Mount Fuji Region

One of three holy mountains in Japan and arguably the country’s most famous, Mount Fuji is a must-see stop when traveling solo to Japan. (There’s a reason why a visit here made it to our list of the most amazing things to do in Japan.) The awe-inspiring scenery and cultural significance of the celebrated mountain and its surrounding area are worth the trip alone, but when you join us on our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour, we’ll make sure you discover all of the region’s hidden gems as well. 

What should you do as a solo traveler in the Mount Fuji Region?

  • Step back in time in the Iyashi no Sato craft village. This open-air museum was reconstructed on the site of a former farming village that was devastated by a landslide in 1966. Explore the village’s thatched-roof houses and learn about rural Japanese culture and traditions set against the backdrop of Mount Fuji. Take part in an interactive craft workshop in one of the charming cottages and explore others, which have been converted into galleries, restaurants, museums, and shops.

  • Admire the dramatic scenery. Our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour will take you to the Fuji Subaru Line 5th Station, a popular basecamp that’s located about halfway up the famous mountain. From here, you can snap photos of Mount Fuji’s iconic snow-capped peak and enjoy panoramic views of the glorious Fuji Five Lakes region below. “I’ll always remember the abundance of cherry blossoms as well as the experience of seeing Mount Fuji after a snowstorm when the skies were perfectly clear,” said traveler Michael after returning from our Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto tour.

  • Explore the Narusawa Ice Cave. Narusawa Ice Cave is an underground ice world hidden beneath the “Sea of Trees,” Aokigahara Forest. The cave was formed naturally more than one thousand years ago when a nearby volcano, Mount Nagao, erupted. Wander through the subterranean cavern to see massive year-round ice formations and learn about the cave’s historical uses—from seed storage to silkworm cocoon preservation.

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If you’re thinking about solo travel to Japan, you may want to consider a stay in the country’s spiritual capital. From the gossamer cherry blossoms that make Kyoto one of the best places to visit in March to the more than dozen UNESCO-listed sites that dot the city, Kyoto is a cultural traveler’s dream. When you join us on our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour, you’ll spend three nights in this timeless city. 

What should you do as a solo traveler in Kyoto?

  • Enjoy a peaceful moment of zen in the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Stroll down the quiet path and reflect on the serene beauty of the forest’s immense 160-foot-tall bamboo stalks. The grove is the ideal location to practice the Japanese art of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing.

  • Seek serenity at the Kinkaku-ji temple. Known as the Golden Pavilion for its gilded facade, Kinkaku-ji is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the best things to see in Japan, according to our Japan travel guide. The gleaming temple is reflected on the tranquil pond before it and is surrounded by a cluster of trees whose colors change with the seasons—the sight of it is sure to leave you breathless.

  • Walk through the tunnel of torii gates at the Fushimi Inari Shrine. The thousands of orange torii gates make this Shinto shrine one of the most famous sites in Kyoto—it was even featured in the 2005 film Memoirs of a Geisha. Join us on our Fushimi Inari Walking Tour & Tea Ceremony excursion to walk the path under the iconic gates before sitting down with a tea master to learn the steps and customs of a traditional tea ceremony. 

Discover Kyoto


One of our best travel tips for Japan? Never leave! Ok, we understand that every trip needs to come to an end, but if you want to extend your stay in the Land of the Rising Sun, book the Kobe extension offered on our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour for an epic 72-hour adventure

What should you do as a solo traveler in Kobe?

  • Visit Hiroshima and reflect on the City of Peace. If growth and reflection are among your reasons for seeking solo travel to Japan, you won’t want to miss a tour of Hiroshima, a city that has blossomed out of tragedy. “Hiroshima will both break your heart and mend it,” remarked traveler Janice after returning from our Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto tour. Visit Peace Memorial Park and see the Atomic Bomb Dome, a memorial made from the only structure to survive the city’s infamous bombing. 

  • View the mystical floating torii gate and shrine at Miyajima Island. The UNESCO-listed shrine and orange torii gate seem to float on the sea at high tide, making this a prime spot to reflect on the profound beauty of living harmoniously with nature.

  • Try the city’s famous beef. Kobe beef is among the best in the world and is seen as a rare delicacy that can be hard to come by outside of Japan. On a free evening, pop into a restaurant to try the outstandingly tender meat and see what all the fuss is about. One of our best tips for traveling to Japan solo? Let us take care of the reservations. Book our optional Kobe Beef Dinner excursion to enjoy a multi-course meal featuring the regional delicacy alongside your fellow travelers.

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What to do in your free time while traveling solo in Japan

One of the best things about going guided for your Japan solo travel is that you’ll experience a balance between group activities and free time. These are some of our favorite things to do when we set out on our own on a tour of Japan

Shop for souvenirs

One of our favorite things to do on any of our solo tours is to shop for souvenirs to bring home as reminders of our travels. From ceramics and papercrafts to knives and chopsticks, you’ll find a wealth of beautiful and useful souvenirs during your solo travel in Japan. We recommend you take heed of one of traveler Lydia’s travel tips for Japan: “If you see something you really like to buy as a souvenir, buy it. Every city has different things, and you may not see that specific thing you want again.” 

Sing like there’s nobody listening

Join us on our optional Tokyo Dinner & Karaoke excursion offered on our Japan for Solo Travelers: Tokyo, Mt. Fuji & Kyoto tour to enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner followed by a favorite Japanese pastime—karaoke. We think that it sometimes feels easier to be brave when we’re among new friends, so sing your heart out and serenade your fellow travelers over drinks in a private room in a karaoke club. 

Take a day trip to explore Nara

Join a local guide on our optional Nara: Traditions of Japan excursion to explore Japan’s enchanting former capital city. Here, you’ll view the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue, walk the stone lantern-lined paths of the Kasuga-Taisha shrine, and stroll through tranquil Nara Park, home to hundreds of sacred wild deer. 

Slurp some ramen

Regardless of whether you’re traveling to Japan alone or with friends, you’re going to want to try this iconic dish. In fact, one of our best tips for traveling to Japan is to try the ramen in a few different restaurants and cities—this will give you plenty of opportunities to try the different flavorful broths and array of toppings. Take a tip from our guide to ramen noodles and show your appreciation for the meal by slurping with gusto. 

Ready to embrace the art of traveling solo? Book your solo travel to Japan!

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About the author | The Go Ahead Tours Team
We’re a team of passionate travel experts, dedicated to helping people explore the world. From inspiring stories to tips for an amazing trip, the topics we cover are all about getting you out there and making discoveries.

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