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Experience Travel Solo to Japan

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About to Cancelled my First Solo Trip
I almost not able to make it to japan as I caught with fever and bad cough due to bronchitis for almost a month before my trip started. Luckily, doctor advised I may carry on my trip as my fever get controlled. So, I continue my first solo trip to japan with mixed feeling.

Rush for Itinerary at Last Minutes
I remembered I am rushing for the itinerary at last minutes a day before departure, as I was too sick to plan ahead and always thought I am going to cancel this trip as my health not getting improved.

Journey Started with Long Hour’s Flight
Cathay Pacific allowed online check-in within 48hours before the flight’s departure time. I chose the aisle seat. The window seat besides me always empty. Maybe due to few travelers on weekdays and most travelers’ travel in pairs or in groups requested to have side-by-side seating. So, I am able to have both seats on plane along the journey to Osaka. Another unexpected case was that the plane I took not only stopover to transfer at HK international airport, it then continue with second stopover at Taiwan TaoYuan international airport for around 1~2hours before heading to Osaka Kansai International Airport. I preferred took the full service airline with in flight entertainment, checked baggage (20KG), meals, beverages and comforts such as blankets and pillows in the ticket price. I had to spend 1st full day on flight for my solo trip.

Arrived at Osaka Kansai International Airport
The flight landed at Osaka Kansai international airport (built on artificial islands) at about 7:30pm. I proceed to take the wing shutter (AGT – Automated Guideway Transit) that connect arrival gate to the main building of the passenger terminal 1. After passed through the area whereby body temperature to be identified through the thermographic camera. I then proceed to immigration checkpoints. The officers were very helpful to guide each of the travelers to filled out / check the arrival card/immigration form before proceeds to line up at immigration checkpoints. I was surprise when the officer approached me and asked in chinese if I needs helps in filling up the form. I suppose majority visitors are from china. I proceed to baggage claim area after taken the fingerprints and facial photograph at immigration checkpoints. I took my luggage and proceed to custom inspection. I guess the custom officer much concerned for the chinese lady who travel solo in Japan until I shown him my itinerary only he stop questioning me and allowed me proceed to arrival hall.

Outstanding Services in Airport
Throughout the immigration procedure in the airport, I am very impressed with each of the officers that carry out their own responsibilities in very well organized way to make sure smooth flowing in the airport. I ranked high for the outstanding services they provided that reduces doubts & fears of each traveler to the lowest. Recalled my last day at Kansai international airport for which I just left less than an hour to check in due to last minutes shopping in airport duty free shops. I did not expect there were long queue to check in at that hour. The officers noticed the long queue quickly took immediate action to guide the travelers split the queue from 2 to 4 lines. Thanks god that I’m able rushed to boarding gate on time for departure. I guess this is one of the reasons I choose to travel solo for the 1st time in Japan.

Still have doubts?
Watch this video: Arriving at Kansai Airport and Catching the bus to OCAT
Boarding guides:
http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/t2/en/boarding/step02.html
http://www.kyoto-magonote.jp/en/arrival/entering/entering_flow/

Fear to Travel Solo?
Yes, before going.
No, after I did it! In facts, I fully enjoyed the solo trip in Japan.
I still remembered a radio DJ said this before: ”Human are afraid and frighten at things that they don’t know or doubts of”. I am getting many feedbacks from my family and friends who worried and questioned on my decision to travel solo to Japan so that I can change my mind. It was so closed that I am about to cancel this trip. I am glad that I’m not giving up. I don’t want to limit myself by giving a lot of excuses. Don’t ever say that you not able to make it before you act on it because you never know in real are easier than the fear in your imagination.

Why Travel Solo?
I am not able to get a travel partner to travel to japan yet I don’t want to miss out the chance to capture maple leaves and enjoy the colorful autumn in Japan. Money & time are the concerned that I’m not able to get a partner travelling with me. Ha! Still that doesn’t mean that I am rich nor I am too free to travel. Each of us has own reasons to hold still theirs believes or rather give up. Even though I am now experienced shortage of money after back from Japan but I am confident to tell you that I did not felt regret decided travel to Japan.

Group Tour vs Travel In Two vs Go Solo
I joined group tour as well as travel in two before. Choose group tour was due to 1st time travel oversea to Japan which I not fluent nor understand their language. Fully relied on the arrangement from tour agency. It is true that I am able visit to most of the famous travel spots in such compact and tight scheduled. I just remembered most of the time I traveled on bus for 7D6N tour. We were given 1~2 hours for each visited spot. I can conclude with 1 word, that was rush. We rushed to toilet, taking pictures, shopping, eating and always less sleep. Gosh! I’m asking myself: “Aren’t I suppose to relax and enjoy on my vacation?” Most I hate for joining group tour was we were taken to the specific shops to spend without time limitation. Tour guide earned extra commissions from there as well we’d been introduced many products while transfer from 1 travel spot to another by bus. Of course, still have the satisfactory parts such as trying variety of delicious delicacies in local restaurants, included entry tickets to USJ (Universal Studio Japan) & Disney Sea, stayed at 3-5 stars hotel, ready transportations with worried free & guidance for all your doubts while travel.

How about travel in two? I have full controlled to plan but have to consider likes and dislikes of my travel partner as well. Tolerance, patience & be prepared with complete itinerary are very important to travel in two. Complete itinerary will save your time & money because you will research for best routes & transportations to reach the planned destinations, nearest accommodation, cheapest restaurants or foods streets to hunt for local delicacies as well looking for good bargain price and deal in local flea markets or shops. I can try and share variety of local foods, discussed and share good and bad with partner. On the other hand, please expect to be tolerance and patience for the partner that not able to meet the scheduled time that had planned, complaint about the itinerary that you planned & research for whole months, and showing stink face while in bad moods.

Let me show you how relax I am when travel solo in Japan.
relax in hotel

Wait for no one. Tuned into any TV channels anytime you love to. Soak in bathtub with no concerned that your partner needs to use the toilet. No one will show you stink face that affected your moods for the day. You have total freedom to walk slow, relaxed and enjoyed the fresh air, quite and peaceful mind. Challenge yourself with no boundaries & limitation been set nor excuses. Of course, instead enjoy don’t neglect your own safety. I am free to decide what, when and where to dining but I have limitation to test various dishes as I got no one to share with. Be true, I don’t feel alone or lonely even though go solo maybe due to the good services provided, warm welcomed I got and most important was the convenient to get any helps around and clear guidelines. Don’t feel surprise if I told you: “I have a feeling that each of my spending was appreciated”.

Wear Proper Socks to Reduce Embarrassment
Remember to wear proper socks to reduce embarrassment due to some of the temples and restaurants required visitor to take off their shoes before enter. Most of the restaurants in Kyoto have wooden door with plate or standing signboard showing it is open or closed. The customer service will serve & welcomed each of the customers who entered. Seldom you will be left unnoticed & stand confuse in front of the restaurant. Some restaurants provide shoes rack or luggage/bag rack as the dining seat only fit in a person with no extra space for your bag/luggage.

Refer to this blog for typical Kyoto restaurant: here

Autumn Weather by Mid of November
Mostly, I will checked the weather forecast via accuweather website before packed & prepared my luggage so that I can prepare suitable wearing for autumn. I brought thick fleece lined jeans and fleece jacket with me. The weather was very different for daytime and nighttime by mid of November in Osaka and Kyoto. It hit as high as 17 degree Celsius at daytime while drop to as low as 4 degree Celsius at night. It turned dry and cold by the 3rd day while my stayed at Osaka. I always experienced static electricity shock each time opened the water tap due to dry weather. Can you imaging that even applied lotion to kept the moisture of hand as well not really help much in dry season.

Peoples in Osaka and Kyoto
Along my stayed in Japan, I hardly found pregnant ladies or fat peoples walked on street. Ashamed to say that even the old folks walked faster and agile in movement compare to me. Pedestrians and publics who cycle always get priority on the road. There was an incident that the traffic light turn red for pedestrians to cross the road but still there were people do not abide to the rules since it is late of night and less car, somehow the car needs to break suddenly for unexpected pedestrians and bikes that did not stop. What surprised me was the driver felt so sorry and bound down to apologize to the pedestrians that makes them shock even though it is not the driver’s fault. If here, it is common that the driver will horns, showing dirty face and even point out the middle fingers to show and continue scold loud in public.

Clean and Secure Environments
The air is clean. The water is crystal clear and fresh. Their municipal council done a great job taking care of the cleanliness of environments and beautified the streets. You can even notice some rivers breed with Japanese Koi fish without worried it gone missing. I feel safe to walk around at night as the streetlights are found everywhere while each street guarded with installed camera for security purposed.

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2 Comments

  1. Hello there! I have decided to travel to Osaka and Kyoto solo! While doing my research about travelling solo to japan, i found your blog 🙂 it inspire and gives me courage to do so.

    My reason is also to look at maple tress and enjoy the Autumn. Cant find anyone, go solo! Actually i am just tired of having to accommodate to a travel partner (and their mood swing) :p

    I will continue to read the rest of your entrys for tips and information!!

    • woohoo….great! But let me tell u….even though travel solo, I always stay connected with family and friends and sharing what I’m doing. Recommended to spend some Yen to buy the prepaid SIM card to stay connected. There are vending machine selling the prepaid simcard: http://battera.co/fortourist/buy-a-prepaid-sim-card-when-you-arrive-at-kansai-international-airport/
      Even though Japan is safe to travel solo, as well needs to stay alert and take good care of own safety. My friend told me before get into hotel room, needs to locate for emergency exit…HP needs to be always fully charge or bring power bank. Ha…. am i scared you? But is really fun, challenging and relaxing…..I believe u will enjoy travel solo 🙂

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