Holidays In Japan For Solo Travellers

Japan is an ideal holiday destination for a solo traveller. Its culture provides endless opportunities for exploration and self-discovery, while its unique and iconic attractions make it simultaneously familiar and exciting.
Japan is a safe and welcoming place too; while the customs of the locals may be very different, courtesy and respect are values that are shared between cultures and travellers are sure to find warm hospitality in Japan.
When solo travelling, there is no better place to mingle with the locals than at the local markets. Whether it’s souvenirs, clothes, snacks, or drinks, local markets offer something for all budget types, and are an exciting way to experience the culture. Japan’s unique subcultures, such as Akihabara in Tokyo or Den-den Town in Osaka, are fascinating for any kind of traveller, and can be eye-opening for a solo traveller trying to navigate a country thousands of kilometres away from home.
Speaking of Akihabara, this hub of video game, tech, and maid cafes is a must-see for any fan of technology. Akihabara is renowned for having a wealth of information on the latest trends in both gaming and tech, while also having a variety of vintage collectables and fan-goods for those looking to get their hands on something special. Be sure to check out the famous maid cafe too, especially if you’re a fan of the genre, as this is one of the few places outside of Japan to experience the concept.
For those looking to explore further afield, there are some great destinations across the country. Mount Fuji is a world-famous destination, and a great place to take in the beauty of the towering peak as well as the rural scenery of the area surrounding it. A climb to the summit is a must-do for any traveller, providing spectacular views and a sense of reward when you reach the summit.
For those looking to relax, Okinawa Prefecture is a great destination. The subtropical climate and clear waters of this maritime paradise make it an idyllic place to relish in some sun, sea, and sand. While snorkelling is a must-do for many visitors, the ancient castles and sacred shrines found in the region make it a place of immense historical importance too.
And of course, Japan’s impressive culinary scene is another factor to consider for a solo traveller. From Kyoto’s traditional kaiseki meals to Hiroshima’s okonomiyaki, there are plenty of options for the budget conscious, as well as those looking to blow their budget on the best that Japan has to offer.

Shopping and Souvenirs

Japanese shopping is famously fun, with everything from traditional department stores like Daimaru to flea markets offering an array of items at a variety of price points. Travellers looking to buy a special souvenir should certainly head to a local market, where the range of items – from hand-crafted samurai swords to curiosities – is sure to bring a smile to their face. There are also plenty of online stores catering to the foreign traveller, making it easier than ever to get a unique souvenir from Japan.
When it comes to clothing, Japan is one of the trendiest places in the world. From kawaii fashion to avant-garde streetwear, there’s something for everyone in Japan’s fashion scene. Not only that, but many of the stores offer the opportunity to rent clothes, so you can immerse yourself in the latest trends without breaking the bank.
There are also a variety of outlets for pre-loved goods, such as the MOMOPOP outlet in Harajuku. Here, travellers can find a range of vintage clothes and bags at great prices. The outlets provide an opportunity to purchase something truly special, making it a great place to visit when looking for a one-of-a-kind item.

Getting Around

Getting around Japan can be a daunting prospect for a solo traveller, but it’s actually quite easy to navigate once you have the basics down. Japan’s extensive rail network is probably the best way to get around, with the JR lines offering some of the quickest and most reliable travel between cities.
For those looking to experience something different, Japan’s culture is full of forms of transport with a unique style. Tourists can take a taxi or rickshaw ride in Tokyo, or even rent a bicycle in cities like Kyoto to explore the scenic routes. It’s worth noting that rentals are quite common in Japan, with companies offering cars, motorbikes and even jet-skiing for travellers looking for an adventure.


Accommodation in Japan is just as varied as the other options available for solo travellers. Traditional Japanese accommodation, such as Ryokans, are a great way to immerse yourself in the culture, while the youth hostels in Tokyo and Osaka offer a great selection of facilities at a very reasonable price.
For those looking to stay somewhere more unique, capsule hotels and capsule ryokans are becoming increasingly popular options for visitors to Japan. Travellers can also make use of Airbnb, which has a selection of listings for solo travellers both in the cities and in more rural settings.


Japan is renowned for its nightlife, with a vibrant and diverse range of experiences available for solo travellers. Tokyo’s clubs and bars provide a great way to meet people and experience the city’s clubbing culture, while Kyoto offers a variety of jazz bars, izakayas, and even karaoke bars if you fancy a singalong.
For those looking to explore Japan’s party culture, there are also some great festivals around the country. The legendary Fuji Rock festival takes place annually in the stunning Naeba Ski Resort, while the Sapporo Snow Festival boasts some of Japan’s most impressive snow sculptures and ice slides.


Although solo travelling may feel intimidating to start with, Japan is actually one of the easiest places in the world to make friends. It’s worth joining a few social media groups or online meetups to get in contact with like-minded travellers. This will help you meet some people who have similar interests to yourself and even find some people to travel with if you want.
In addition, there are plenty of opportunities to interact with the locals in Japan. Many of the bars and izakayas will welcome solo travellers, and the Japanese are known for their hospitality, so don’t be afraid to approach them if you want to chat.

Sights and Attractions

When it comes to solo travelling in Japan, there’s no shortage of sights and attractions to explore. Kyoto is a popular city for tourists, with its stunning temples and shrines dripping with history and culture. Hiroshima, meanwhile, is known for its impressive Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, and the nearby Miyajima Island which is full of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.
Heading to the north of Japan, the chilly city of Sapporo perfectly encapsulates the beauty of Japan in winter. Home to some of the country’s best skiing and snowboarding, as well as its famous Snow Festival, it’s an ideal holiday spot for the adventurous type.
If beach holidays are more of your thing, the beaches of the Izu peninsula offer some of the most beautiful bays in the world. Be sure to make the most of the fine sand and crystal waters, as well as the unique local cuisine available in this coastal paradise.

Religious Sites

Japan has a rich religious history, with a variety of sites around the country dedicated to different faiths. Those with a penchant for Buddhism should definitely head to Mt. Koya, a sacred site nestled in the lush forests of Wakayama prefecture. It’s home to some of Japan’s most important temples and is a great place to experience the beauty and stillness of old-world Japan.
Hakone, meanwhile, is a great place to explore the more spiritual side of Japan. The Owakudani Valley is home to a variety of sacred Shinto sites, temples, and shrines, while the surrounding environment makes it a great place to reflect on life and the beauty of the natural world.


Japan is full of stunning nature spots, making it a great destination for anyone looking to get back to nature. The famed Jigokudani Monkey Park is a must-see for any traveller, with its hot springs and snow-covered parks populated with wild monkeys. Nature lovers should also check out the picturesque cherry blossom season, which blooms from late March to early April with a dazzling display of pink, white, and yellow across Japan.
For those looking to explore more rural areas, Takayama and Shirakawago are fascinating destinations in the Hida region of Gifu Prefecture. Here, travellers can explore the rustic villages and rice paddies, as well as the quaint temples and shrines scattered around the region.
Skiing and snowboarding are also great options for those wanting to experience some of Japan’s most spectacular landscapes. Popular skiing spots include Niseko and Hakuba, popular resorts known for their stunning powder snow and world-class ski runs.
All in all, Japan is an ideal holiday destination for a solo traveller. Its culture offers endless opportunities for exploration and self-discovery, while its unique and iconic attractions make it both familiar and exciting. Travellers will find plenty of friendly locals in Japan, as well as a wealth of attractions and activities to explore.

Nancy Weiner

Nancy A. Weiner is an experienced journalist and author specializing in Japan. She is a published author of several books and articles about Japanese culture, history and politics. She has also been a featured guest speaker at many international conferences on Japanese culture, politics and education.

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