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Ok, I really want to visit Japan, but I'm scared to go on my own. I've travelled solo before - Europe, Iceland, Hong Kong, Macau but this is some next level shit. Few speak English and they don't make many concessions to foreigners, they don't need to.
Google Translate can help with the language but even so it will be the nearest I'll get to visiting an alien planet. Is it worth going with a guided tour group or is that too fucking lame? Anyway it will be mostly groups of people and me alone.
>this is some next level shit

what? Hell no. Japan is the easiest country of the entire Asia. You wont have any problem if you went to Hong Kong or macau before.

tour groups are for retired people.
But in HK and Macau everywhere people spoke English. In fact every place I've been to English was widespread.
Every hotel speak english
Every sign in the cities is in english
Metro/train machines are in english
apps + gps

You can literally spend a whole month there only saying thank you. If you are scared, learn hiragana in two days, now you can even read the stations outside the cities.

I traveled to japan when I was 18, didnt know a word in english and smartphones didnt even exists
I'm in Kyoto now and tried to organise a bus tour to some temple I liked the look of but it was for Japanese only. Everything is done solo, the only time I've even spoken all trip is when recording short voice journals.
the crime rate is zero.
everyone speaks english in tokyo.
everyone automatically loves you if you are white or black.

this is the easiest country on earth to travel.
Where will you go at japan?
In tourist spot, eveyone speak engish.
Not sure yet, Tokyo for a week maybe, Kyoto, Hokkaido.
I only went once on a group tour in Italy. It was as close to perfect as tour guides go,very nice lady guide, picked great classic places for us to visit, knew a lot of other places we could try in our free time, etc. Basically as far as group tours goes it was perfect, and I hated it. I promised myself to never try this shit again.
Because the itinerary for tours is usually build to suit everyone, you will never enjoy all the locations and the locations you do enjoy you will never have enough time to explore.
I since traveled completely solo to parts of Europe and Japan, and I got to tell you it was much more enjoyable.
Japan is probably the easiest place to travel solo, not because the ease of communication with other people but because the lack of need to do so. everything is available and easily understood without the need to ask anyone anything. Now that doesnt mean you dont need to be soical and start a conversation with random people, because Japanese people will either have great English or will have horrible English but will love the opportunity to learn some from you.
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If you have any questions regarding whats it like to travel solo in Japan and what kind of difficulties you can expect to have. Feel free to ask. Pic was taken last autumn.
Well this is the opposite of what I've heard. So most Japanese are reasonably friendly and speak some English?
Is it easy to arrange trains around the country and up to Hokkaido? Is eating expensive?
Is Shinjuku the best place to stay in Tokyo?
I'm 6' 3" with very fair skin and hair, will I be treated as a freak?
1.Easy arrage train in train station or
web site. Shinkansen enlarged to hokkaido tow or three years ago.
2.Restrant fee is so expensive or cheap. For exsample, traditional restrant is expensive(Ryoutei).Other wise, chain-restrant is very cheap(Yoshinoya or kaiten-sushi)
3.Every where is same to stay. Touyoko-inn or something is low cost hotel.
4.You are not freak.
5.We are not alien
Not him but it depends of your budget and what do you like about japan.
The last two times I went to japan I went to the APA kabukicho tower. Perfect location in shinjuku and 100% tokyo feeling (big buildings, neon lights, red distric, gondel gai...).
When I was a college student I usually stayed around Asakusa. Cheaper, and more traditional and quiet.
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use the japan general but yeah to echo what everyone else is saying

> Few speak English
Yeah maybe in the countryside where the town is 1 bus in, 1 bus out per day, and it is 10 houses + a lawson. However, signs are in english and japanese(aside from very niche businesses you will never go to), people take 4-5 years of it in highschool, English is a second language given it is the language of money. Very hard to not meet someone who doesn't speak it.

My first time I spent a month there with NOTHING but thanks, excuse me in japanese. Got by fine with everyone, knowing japanese will improve some things but by no means it is required. Tour groups are a rippoff and will not give you an experience you like, but will bank off your fears of language and navigation.

Literally none of those places require english, those are all tourist hubs, go to Hida-osaka(not osaka the one near tokyo), where there ar 3 trains in and out per day? knowing jap might be good since 1 or 2 shops are open, and other than chatting with old folks nothing to do but fish and hike.

>download google translate + offline maps
>download google maps, and get a japanese sim card
>research towns in trip advisor, cheapotokyo, japna-guide, and make a google map itinerary
>stick to that
You don't need more than that.
Not him but
Kinda if you want to be close to a bar or stay out passed the last train at 1am, I like taito/ginza/aki better for trainstations but shinjuku works for cheap and close. Still safe.
no, you're just another tourist of millions that come through japan yearly
Japanese tourgroups are a ripoff to some of the biggest degree since they bank off the language, "difficulty to get around"(japan is among the easiest), the amount of iconic scenery to find, and stuff like that. Realistically, if you can't spend a few hours just planing some places or just googling reading the japan general or other sites for info, then yeah go. They are good for older people who aren't going to do it but I have seen people drop 1200-1800 for 7-10 days for the tour, not including airfare which is probably 800-1000, on off months 400-800. Here is a basic run down when one of my friends was asking about tour groups in japan because he wouldn't believe me that 2k can last you a month or live like a fucking king for 2 weeks, and have shit left over. Basically a tour guide will be like this
>wake up 6-7 am, get 30 min ~japanese style breakfast~ most don't eat breakfast though but eh whatever
>730 get on bus, trains are by far cheaper but not for tour groups this is also considered "touring the city". Get stuck near chinese, boomers, or someone as clueless as you
>9am get to first museum, have 1 hour to race through it
>10:30am next stop, probably a temple, have 1 hour to waltz around
>11:30am, authentic japanese style ramen!!! which is probably sub quality of other places since they cater to tour groups
>1230am, bus to next place
>1pm probably a garden to spend an hour at
>2pm a show and musuem or landmark
>about 5PM you will waygu KOBE BEEF #1 (just not the A5 grade)
>6ish PM told you can venture out or walk around tour in (specific area but bus to hotel leaves at 8-9pm sharp!)
Also if traveling solo in a tour group you will have to listen to everyones stories, take pics, be a gopher. You also won't get much time to do anything since most places close around 8-9pm that aren't bars. Then get up at 6am the next day
100% do NOT go with a tour group. It will insulate you from having a proper experience.

I took my first ever solo trip to Japan last year for a month, zero issues, had the best time of my life by far. Just go man, if you've solo traveled before Japan will be a piece of cake. Learn some basic phrases and cultural etiquette and you will be more than fine.
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>So most japanese are reasonably friendly and speak some english?
All Japanese people you will have to come in contact with will have a decent amount of English, from my experience they will definitely understand you but wont always know how to answer back. Most people that work in service providing business like 7-11, train stations, hotels, etc will be able to explain everything you need in English.
>Is it easy to arrange trains around the country and up to Hokkaido?
In terms of getting around with trains, Japan is probably the easiest county in the world to do so. You will have enough English text to figure everything out without the need to ask anyone, there are a couple of apps that can help with that as well. In terms of the bullet train, assuming you will have a JR pass, you do need to reserve a seat so you will have to talk with someone for that, and again they will most likely will have decent English to explain everything to you, I had a random Jap see me a bit lost in terms of timetable of my next train, and simply approached me asked if I am alright and explained pretty much every train stop and chance I have to make to get to Hokkaido.(He wasnt even a station worker)
>Is eating expensive?
Depends on what you eat really. going to super fancy, Michelin star restaurants could cost you upwards of 100$ but generally I was surprised by how cheap the food is in Japan. Most ramen restaurants and local food wont cost you more then 20$ and if you really want to save there are options for full meal sets for around 10$.
Shinjuku is nice central point, but Tokyo's train system will allow you to be everywhere in no time, so unless you want to stay central for late night bar runs i'd just tell you to go to where its cheapest for you.
You will be fine, Japanese people arent aliens they will look at you in the same why they would look at any tall person. If anything you might catch some people approaching you to start a conversation about your height.
lol OP
If you think Japan is going to be drastically different compared to all those other countries, you're in for a rude awakening. Its just as easy to traverse as the others you mentioned.
I had an easier time in Japan than in my home country regarding stuff like transportation and food/drinks.
How to survive in Japan:
>bring decent Android phone, hyperdia installed before your trip, compatible for the new SIM sizes.
> Go to a Camera store, it's a big electronics warhouse.
> Get disposable SIM Card with prepaid 1GB Internet
> use hyperdia to find train connections
> buy train tickets for cash, make sure you book the ticket and not a seat fee only
> use internet to book your night one day in advance
> have a nice trip
> make sure you get in time to the airport by getting the connection one day in advance, an have cash for it.
> bring maestro, not all cards are accepted at atm s
I second getting a simple card for data asap. I waited 4 days and whole it was funny getting lost the first few times, not being able to find you hotel after circling the block and walking for 3 hours gets fucking old IMMEDIATELY!
To answer the question, yes it is a good idea to go alone, it's a safe place to be.

Visiting Korea is a good idea too. You get more for the buck there.
My trip was Incheon, Seoul, train ride to busan, bus tour there, seen the famous roofs.
Fly peach to Osaka. Kyoto, Tokyo.
And don't miss the beaches. Season starts late.

Eating - you can eat out of the 7 11 fridges, in hot summer you may don't want something big at all.

I even use to carry a backup phone
Sure for long trains but googlemaps works just as well for all that stuff, and is easier for walking directions.
>1GB sim
I would say 3GB of LTE, sakura mobile does something like 5GB sims where some portion of that is LTE per day then slows to 128kbps
> Go to a Camera store, it's a big electronics warhouse.
Or just bring one with you? Unless you are looking for a DSLR or something ultra high end won't be that much more unless you have to deal with VAT shit back home.
> buy train tickets for cash, make sure you book the ticket and not a seat fee only
Most you have to use cash, unless you are using a JR pass, most the time the unreserved tickets work fine, reserving a seat is really only needed for rush hour/first trains anyways
> make sure you get in time to the airport by getting the connection one day in advance, an have cash for it.
The fuck does this mean?
> bring maestro, not all cards are accepted at atm s
Unless your card doesn't have a chip, you shouldn't have a problem. Even then e-cash at family marts work without a chip for getting cash out, 711 for everything else unless you have a really odd bank, or didn't tell your bank prior to going overseas

Also you forgot to add google translate + japanese offline dictionary. I usually bring a 100 dollar burner phone as a backup, a BLU R2 works fine for most anything, dual sim too.
Crime rate is zero prob because they dont report organised crime incidents.
He means go to Bic Camera, not buy a camera, dipshit.
Well he could have said bic in there then. Even then prices aren't usually that good compared to the states. Refurbed or second hand shops are the way to go, got an iphone for 4000 yen looked brand new but the sales guy was pointing out some minor scratch on the back
It's really not next-level shit. Your biggest language obstacle might be if you go to a small-town ryokan with staff that don't speak English but they'll treat you like fucking royalty regardless. Other than that you're probably not going to be going anywhere remote and isolated enough for it to be a real problem.
Even then google translate will basically do 100% accurate translation for something simple like checking in. Small towns are an issue, more common issue is not knowing the kanji/kana at places that don't have english menu's. Knowing the symbol for pork/chicken/beef is worth a shit load
Traveling solo in Japan is amazing. I spoke almost 0 Japanese and had a great time.

Public transportation system is amazing. Everything in English, and google maps tends to work flawlessly for figuring out bus/subway routes. http://hyperdia.com/en/ can save a bit of money for calculating longer train ride. There's not really any reason you'd ever need a tour bus or van to get around the country.

Almost all tourist attractions have signs in English and Japanese, or at least have an English guide that they hand-out at the entrance.

Most restaurants have English menus. Even if they don't have English, they almost always have pictures. Literally just point at what you want.

Guided tours are for lazy people, old people, and people who literally can't figure out how to get around their home town. If you managed to figure out how to post to 4chan, you're probably competent enough to travel solo in Japan.
Even with restaurants most have some kind of visual element to them, so unless you've got some kind of major allergy issue you can typically just point at what you want.

solo solo solo solo solo. You should do a good amount of research beforehand but there's such a wide variety of great things available to see/do that you can build an amazing itinerary for yourself and visit spots most tour groups never bother stopping at. I'm planning a trip in October, I'm going to be doing some island-hopping on the Inland Sea and hopefully visit a kitchen knife blacksmith forge which I'd have completely passed over if I did some conventional group tour.
>everyone speaks english in tokyo
no they dont
>the crime rate is zero.
It's not
>everyone speaks english in tokyo.
They don't
>everyone automatically loves you if you are white or black.
>this is the easiest country on earth to travel.
Close but no.
If they don't speak english to you, it means they don't want to talk to you.

99.9% do, and english is taken for 4 years, signs are in english as well. No you won't be natively speaking to anyone but duh.
Reposting here since it seems like the appropriate thread:

How is it to travel alone to Japan? I was going with my friend and his girlfriend but they both lost their jobs and had to cancel the plans, but I decided i'm still going.
Is it hard to make friends speaking basic japanese and fluent english? Are people open to foreigners? Where should I go to make friends? Is tinder a good idea?
I'm planning to go Tokyo-Sapporo-Tokyo-Kyoto, passing through smaller towns, during the whole month of February.

Thanks guys
Nah. Shinjuku is ugly as fuck. Stay in Ueno or Asakusa.
It's easy to travel alone. It was my first solo trip.
Making friends is easy in hostels. Just go out for drinks. Tinder will get you expats and Japanese women with thirteen filters on their faces that want you to teach them English. Don't bother; you won't get fucked that way.

Have fun.
I've been to Japan alone 3 times this year, it's the best way you can experience the country.
How did you plan it out?
>english is taken for 4 years
So is in Spain, and yet we can't speak english for shit.
I had more luck speaking spanish with the hotel staff than english, actually. After visiting 6 different cities in Japan, the airport was the only place where they spoke english without it being broken gibberish. Oh, and a ninja-themed restaurant, that was cool.
bitter Marxist detected!
Japan has ZERO crime compared to your multicultural shithole.
not being a weeb but the quality of teaching in japan far exceeds something in spain. Learning english is pretty much required for jobs, and it is grilled into kids.
>quality of teaching in japan far exceeds something in spain.
I hope you're joking. Japanese schools rely on rote memorization more than amything else.
Not disagreeing on you there but they can still manage to squeeze out their baked in sentences enough to get by. Not saying it is beyond stellar or native level, but it's enough to make due
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where was this taken?
Natives use to jump from these rocks.
Beach resort, nice little train called Obama Line (no joke). Made a nice round trip, walking back to Tsuruga through the tunnel.
Skip half this get a portable hotspot at the airport with unlimited data, Use your phone and a JRpass.

From my experience I couldn't meet a single person that spoke English in any major cities outside restaurants. It may be the 2 full arm sleeves, leg sleeve done in traditional Japanese style but.

In that same aspect I've never had anyone ask to see my JRpass anytime I've been and could easily be using any one years old and always get waved through but seen them pull up numerous tourists to check so maybe some do.
>From my experience I couldn't meet a single person that spoke English in any major cities outside restaurants. It may be the 2 full arm sleeves, leg sleeve done in traditional Japanese style but.

The fuck did you go? only time I had someone not "know" any english was when they just didn't want to talk to me.
Free WiFi in Korea everywhere, in Japan it's worse than in Germany.
Without SIMcard you will not be able to use hyperdia on the platform when you need it. Booking a hotel otg is nice too.

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