8 reasons why Japan is an ideal destination for solo female travelers
Without fear or difficulty
Here is a list of the reasons that make Japan an ideal destination for women traveling alone.
A woman eating alone at Niagara Curry House, a restaurant-train
Solo travel is generally very safe in Japan
Traveling alone - for some, it's the best way to discover a country and its inhabitants, giving them the freedom to go where they like. For others, it's a challenge, an adventure and maybe a little scary. But however you feel about it, in general the main concern is security. This is the main reason why Japan is an ideal destination: it's a very safe country. The ninth safest country in the world, according to the 2016 Global Peace Index (which measures the level of peace in every country in the world), and Tokyo was ranked in 2017 as the safest city in the world. Of course you should still stay alert - nowhere's perfect - but the Japanese can generally walk home late at night without worrying. There's also very little likelihood of getting your bag snatched or cellphone stolen in the street, so you can enjoy the sights in peace.
Public transport is safe, clean and punctual. Unless you're in the midst of a typhoon or snowstorm, you can be sure of your train or plane leaving on time (or almost). So there's no endless waiting in stations by yourself, and no need to worry about delays that make you arrive in the middle of the night in an unknown place without a taxi in sight.
3. Politeness and respect
In the Land of the Rising Sun, politeness and respect for others is innate. Tokyo is not only the safest city in the world, but also the most densely populated! However, there's never any pushing and shoving in crowded places, especially on public transport, where everyone gets on and off in an orderly way. You won't have to fight to get on a train! And if the crowds of salarymen scare you, know that at peak times some railway and subway train lines have women-only cars.
4. The reception
Japanese people are very helpful, and will go out of their way to answer a question, point you in the right direction, or just help you out in any way they can. They'll certainly be even more helpful if they see you alone, to make sure that you're okay and that your trip is going well.
5. The restaurants
When by yourself you can eat at a restaurant without feeling self-conscious, because in Japan this isn't unusual. Many establishments have small tables with one or two places, or a long communal table. And the ramen and sushi restaurants almost all have counters, perfect for solo diners.
As for hotels, it's actually better to be alone to discover some of the more unique experiences in Japan: the capsule hotels, which you can't stay at as a couple (you would have separate cabins on different floors) and ryokan (traditional Japanese hotels, often expensive): because in these cases, the price is always per person, so it doubles the fee if you go as a couple. In addition, ryokan often have public hot spring baths (onsen) where men and women are separated.
A capsule hotel
A changing board in a Japanese toilet
Futon for 1 person in a ryokan
A powder room in a department store
7. "Ladies Day" rates
For the more adventurous, there are plenty of places where the prices are cheaper for women: some bars, clubs or restaurants (look for the "Ladies menu"). Cinemas also offer half-price seats on Ladies Day. Finally, some hotels, to attract a more feminine clientele, offer discounts or complimentary beauty products like face masks to their female customers.
In the land of refinement and attention to detail, looking good is important. Have you spent the whole day in jeans and a t-shirt and need to spruce up or change for dinner without going back to your hotel? Just go to one of the bathrooms in a department store or shopping mall, all of which have space for a touch of beauty. Some places have even installed retractable boards (changing board) in their stalls to let customers change clothes without putting their bare feet on the toilet floor! The height of thoughtfulness.