Solo travel in Tokyo

Shermine Kwok | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Fancy taking a solo trip? To[kyo]( ranks high on the list of ideal cities to discover by yourself. It is safe, clean, and locals are generally helpful to tourists. It also caters well to the solo traveller in terms of accommodation and dining options, as well as things to do and see in the city. In fact, going it alone can make for a really special experience, and here are some things to do the next time you find yourself travelling solo in Tokyo!

© istock/ablokhin

Bunk in at a capsule hotel

© istock/Torsakarin

It can be expensive to book a hotel room for two when you are just one, but capsule hotels offer a novel (and budget-friendly) way to get a comfortable and good night’s rest. There are some capsule hotels that are for men only, as capsule hotels were originally meant for salarymen who had been out drinking too late and missed the last train home. They are now a fun travel experience for all though, with many stylish capsule hotels to try. The one I have personally stayed at is 'do-c ebisu', which I chose in part for its convenient location close to many of Tokyo's attractions. Upon check-in, I received a bag with a bath towel, face towel, loungewear, and a toothbrush. Guests also have use of a locker for any luggage, access to shower and sauna facilities, as well as a personal sleeping pod, with screens to ensure privacy. Many people worry that capsule hotels may be claustrophobic, but my experience was very pleasant. I enjoyed the privacy of the sleeping pod and found it rather relaxing and spacious inside. I will definitely consider trying other capsule hotels again in the future if I get the chance to. 

Eat Ichiran ramen 

©Flickr/Ajay Suresh

Possibly the best restaurant for enjoying dining solo, Ichiran is famous for its solo-diner concept, where minimal interaction is required, whether with staff or with other diners. Diners first select and pay for their meal through a vending machine which dispenses a ticket with your order. They are then ushered to a solo dining booth, separated from the kitchen via a little screen. Simply hand your ticket to the staff waiting on the other side of the screen and wait for a delicious piping hot bowl of their signature tonkotsu ramen to enjoy. The queue for Ichiran Ramen is often long, and for good reason too, it is simply delicious, definitely comfort food! You have to try it too! 

© istock/MosayMay

Beat the queues at theme parks 

©Flickr/Rob Young

Did you know that Tokyo Disneyland is very popular as a date spot amongst Japanese couples? Couples dress up in matching outfits, and some even consider waiting in line together for hours as a way to deepen the relationship and get to know their other half better. For those who don’t mind experiencing the rides alone, this makes for an unexpected benefit- the single rider queue at some attractions in the theme park! Single riders can opt to join a separate queue that is usually much shorter than the main line. The only rule is that you will have to get on any available seats, but it is a wonderful way to enjoy more attractions in a shorter time. For really popular attractions that have waiting times that go up to a few hours, this is a lot of time saved!

Capture snaps with Purikura 

Last but not least, you will need to take some pictures to document your special solo trip to Tokyo.  Fret not even if you do not have a buddy to take snaps of you. Japan has amazing photo booths which are also known as Purikura. With many options for backgrounds, layout, and decorations, it can be a little overwhelming for first-timers, but it is definitely a fun and special experience. You can find plenty of Purikura photo booths in Harajuku Takeshita-dori, where Purikura shops even offer tools such as curling irons and costumes for rent! You can go as crazy and wild as you want with your pictures, just ensure that you have a blast while travelling solo in Tokyo!

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