Tokyo, Japan Things to Do and Safety for Solo Female Travelers
With a perfect blend of culture, nature, and food, Tokyo, Japan ranks one of the highest spots for destinations for solo female travelers. Tokyo is also the safest city in the world meaning that visitors can focus on enjoying the trip rather than spending long hours planning away the dangerous neighborhoods. Tokyo is packed with attractions, culture, architecture, museums, and plenty of stuff to do, making it one of the most promising trips you can take.
In this article you’ll learn everything you need to know to plan that dream vacation to Tokyo, including weather, the best time to visit, how to communicate, must-see attractions, safety tips, places to avoid, where to stay, things you need for international travel, and the current covid restrictions.
Things to Know About Tokyo
Tokyo is the biggest metropolitan city (meaning most packed with people and stuff to do) in the entire world. It’s also the capital of Japan. Japan sees about 32 million tourists a year, about half of which visit Tokyo. The city covers 847 square miles, and has attractions fit for all, everywhere you look. It is one of the best cities to visit in Japan for those with an eye for art featuring both oriental and contemporary styles. You’ll see a lot of watercolor and calligraphy.
Japan is home of the Samurai and the mother of anime, both of which have heavy influence in Tokyo. Shopping in Tokyo is tax-free with goods marked at fair prices. While this article focuses on Tokyo itself, the island of Japan is very well connected via its metro systems and taking a daytrip to other parts of the island is very easy to do.
Weather In Tokyo
June and September see the most rain. Tokyo’s hottest months are July and August, with highs around 88°F and lows around 75°F. This is quite hot, and Tokyo’s high humidity will give you a good sweat. The coldest months are January and February, with highs around 50°F and lows around 35°F. Snow is uncommon in Tokyo, occurring only once or twice a year. Tokyo does have mild pollution, which very few notice.
Best Time to Visit Tokyo
The best time to visit Tokyo is late-March and early-April when the cherry blossoms come into bloom, or November and December when the leaves around Japan turn vibrant oranges and reds. These are the busy seasons, and while these are the most beautiful times to visit, they’re also the most expensive. For travelers working with a budget, the cheapest month to fly to Japan is late April.
Language in Japan
Can you visit Tokyo if you don’t know Japanese? Yes! All Japanese are taught some English at school. Locals in tourist-heavy areas speak English better than most, and as they want to prevent any embarrassment and help visitors have a good time. You can also schedule tours with English-speaking groups. Many signs and menus are in English throughout Japan.
With that said, learning basic phrases, questions, and greetings can help you break down the language barrier and enjoy your trip even more.
Must-See Attractions and Things to Do in Tokyo
Tokyo is known for its top-rated restaurants, cherry blossoms, markets, museums, sacred sites, festivals, nightclubs, sports clubs, and parks. The attractions we’ve listed will give you a taste of each of those. These places are great for females because you can visit alone or with a tour group.
The Meiji Jingu Shrine monument is dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji as well as the Empress Shoken. The monument consists of beautiful buildings and open space for relaxing walks and a break from the busy, heavily populated city.
- Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
A national garden originally built as an imperial garden; this national park is a beloved place by many to admire master landscaping as well as take in the tranquil scenery.
Shinjuku is also Tokyo’s largest shopping and entertainment district, which means that you can enjoy shows and shopping nearby.
Yomiuriland is known as Tokyo’s biggest amusement park. Not only does it feature all the classic elements of a typical amusement park: rides, attractions, and pools, but it also features annual exhibits like cherry blossom trees, light shows, and a park inspired by Japanese craftsmanship.
Asakusa is a traditional Japanese-style neighborhood with classic architecture and features the well-known Senso-jo Temple with its signature red color. The neighborhood is good for more than just sightseeing; the neighborhood is lined with small shops and street food stalls.
The Edo-Tokyo Museum is dedicated entirely to the preservation and presentation of Japanese culture. It is filled with replicas and models of the city, both modern and ancient. The museum itself is a wonder and looks like the building is stacked on giant stilts.
Ueno Park is known for its various museums including the Tokyo National Museum, two art museums, a science museum, also, a zoo. The walks are shaded by the cherry trees and the lakes offer boat tours. Female travelers should be careful as the Ueno district gets a little more riotous at night.
Ginza isn’t a specific attraction, but another of Tokyo’s famous districts. It is known for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Here you’ll see local boutiques, art galleries, night clubs, cafes, and department stores. The Ginza area is also highly rated for photography.
You can’t visit Tokyo without seeing Samurai. The museum features the rich history of the Samurai with culture and tradition woven into each distinct suit of armor. They also have a souvenir shop with fine replicas.
The Senso-ji temple, located in Asakusa is the oldest, and perhaps most famous temple in Tokyo. It’s dedicated to the Buddhist goddess Kannon. Inside visitors can experience the sheer splendor of Japan.
The Tokyo Skytree is officially the world’s tallest tower and offers 634 meters of an incredible view over Japan. It stands high over Tokyo, making everything else look astoundingly small. It’s perfect for photos and for taking time to relax and take your trip at your own pace.
The Mori Art Museum is a modern art museum featuring exhibits both to look at and walk through. You can see paintings, sculptures, and whole-room experiences unlike anything else you’ll find in the world. The best part is the price, getting in costs about $15 U.S. dollars, and it’s worth the visit. It’s perfect for solo travelers as you don’t need a tour group-or guide to lead you around.
The Odaiba District is located on the Tokyo Bay and is best known for its aquatic attractions. They have a statue of liberty as well as massive Transformer style statues. This is another great place for shopping with huge outlet malls, museums, and high-end dining.
Safety Tips for Visiting Tokyo
Is Tokyo safe? Yes! Tokyo is ranked the safest city in the world. Safe enough even to walk around alone at night. That doesn’t mean you should, just that you probably could. Japan has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, making it overall, one of the safest countries. Safety aside, solo travelers, especially females, should still be careful about where they go and what they do.
- The Japanese emergency police number is 110. You will have to check with your provider to see if your phone will still work in Japan.
- Do not use your credit card at clubs. Credit card scams do exist in Japan.
- If you don’t know Japanese, find bilinguals who do or stay in areas where you can communicate with others.
- Japan is safe but stay true to all the standard precautionary practices. Don’t get lost, don’t go dark places, watch your drinks, don’t get drunk, etc.
- Don’t do anything dumb. Breaking the law in another country is a lot worse than in your own country.
- Random people may approach you to talk to you. Be polite, usually they just want to practice their English.
- Pickpocketing exists. Don’t leave your purse and valuables where people can take them.
Areas of Caution
We’ve talked about the safety of Japan, but there are some areas that travelers should avoid. The three primary areas are Shinjuku, Ikebukura, and Shibuya. These neighborhoods have higher than usual homelessness, gang/organized crime presence, and violent crimes. Despite the extra risk, several of Tokyo’s top attractions are in these areas, so when visiting, we recommend extra precaution. You can always talk to hotel personnel who can tell you other specific places to avoid.
We recommend against staying in Roppongi, Ueno, and Kabukicho. These areas get more rowdy, which can be dangerous for females and other individuals traveling solo. The infamous nightlife of these areas can sometimes get dangerous.
Where to Stay in Tokyo
Despite the “unsafe” reputation, Shinjuku and Shibuya rank two of the best places to stay in Tokyo. If you stay in those areas, be careful and don’t stay out too late. Other great areas for hotels are Ginza, Tokyo Station, and Asakusa. We recommend getting hotels close to subway stops for easy travel to tourist attractions.
Things You Need for International Travel
Before traveling internationally, always check with your embassy about safety and restrictions. The U.S. Embassy in Japan site will give you the most accurate and up-to-date information. You should also check the Travel Advisory for safety precautions and updates.
- Your passport must remain valid three months past your intended return date (and you will need one blank page for entry stamp).
- S Citizens do not need a tourist visa if their stay is less than 90 days.
If you have a prescription medication, you will need to have the documentation with you. If your medicine contains Codeine phosphate, pseudoephedrine and deoxyephedrine, methamphetamine, or amphetamine, you will not be able to take it into Japan and you can be arrested if you do.
In Japan, you will need to always keep your passport with you. Keep this safe, as things get complicated if you lose it. Make photocopies of your passport and keep it in your suitcase and with the hotel. Have the hotel’s phone number as an emergency contact.
Most establishments accept the U.S. dollar but may charge you extra for unbalanced exchange rates. To avoid potentially getting scammed, we recommend exchanging cash for yen or paying with prepaid visa cards.
Covid Restrictions and Guidelines
Japan is still not open to tourism. The covid statistics haven’t gone down yet, and the risk for infection is still quite high. Japan only recently started letting international students and business agents into the country for a limited stay. There is not yet any news on when tourism will resume in Japan.
While this might delay your dream vacation, don’t give up hope! Things are getting better, and it shouldn’t be long before things reopen again.