As I’ve mentioned a few times already, I have been to Japan a few times solo and it’s been amazing! If you’re looking at booking a trip (which you should!), see below tips.
I have flown with airlines like ANA, Air China, which are Japanese/Chinese airlines. I fly with these because they seem to be more purpose built for long hauls. I also briefly flew with Lithuanian airlines as they were part of the stopover. If you’re considering a stopover in China, the Hong Kong airport is nice. Direct flights are expensive and can be approx 1k and each way will be around 12 hours. I tend to use Kayak for flights as it has good filters on what type of flight you want but it’s worth noting that Kayak and other companies (Easyjets too) track your viewing (tracking cookies) and bump up the price of flights after a little while. So what I do is I’ll search for flights on my phone but I’ll use my iPad to buy the flights. My flight with slight stopover (approx 15hrs each way) was around £500. Most hotels will come with free Wi_Fi, when based at the hotel. Although this is good, take care with using the Wi_Fi because they are often not secure.
Tokyo has two main airports, Haneda and Narita. They are both fine but I prefer Haneda because of the shop choices. For the smokers, you can smoke in Haneda, Nartita and Hong Kong airport.
I book my hotel via Booking.com. I booked a 3/4 star hotel for 8 nights and it was 1k. May be worth prebooking with cancellation option, so that you have more options. Worth nothing that hotel rooms in Japan are small and check to see if the room comes with a wardrobe or not. Shinjuku is a lovely area to stay in Tokyo as it’s central. Also check to see if your hotel has a kettle for your cups of tea. You’ll be able to get milk in the shops like Seven Eleven & it’s easily distinguishable with the cow on the front. I’ve only used a hotel once in Japan it was called Shinjuku Prince Hotel. It was in an ideal location but the rooms were tiny so I’m not sure if I’ll stay there again. Japan is known for their small rooms. Check to see the wardrobe size for your room. In the Shinjuku Prince Hotel, I had the space for 5 items! Which is not cool. The staff were superb. I ordered a taxi from the hotel to Haneda airport and it cost around £80. I had no choice because of my shopping habits. Many stations in Japan do not have lifts and you will struggle carrying heavy cases by yourself. I have attempted this before and not many people offered to help… I had to ask for assistance. I still recall the poor guys face as he was carrying both of my heavy cases. The location of the hotel was ideal because it was right by the Shinjuku train station, McDonalds and Golden Gai, the main drinking area.
I previously used Airbnb because I could book my own apartment at a great price, great location, great view etc. My own apartment for approx 9 days would cost me £500. Unfortunately a new law came into play in the summer of 2018, which meant that hosts have to pay a premium for renting and to get a licence….. I’m still devastated from this. What this meant, was that the prices for Airbnb shot up. In Japan, Airbnb is considered Luxary rather than value now however I have recently learnt that there is more availability now a days. My fingers and toes are crossed that this will continue to improve. Some Airbnb apartments come with the portable Wi_Fi device.
I can’t give any tips about Hostels because I’m not about that life. Word of mouth suggests that the Hostels in Japan are nice & cool.
It’s 100% worth getting a WI_FI portable device for your stay as many hotels only offer Wi_Fi in the hotel building. I ordered my portable Wi_Fi device from here https://m.japan-rail-pass.com/mobile/services/pocket-wifi and I think it was around £50 for my 9 days. If you prebook it, the company sends the device to the Japanese airport of your choice and they’ll send you details of where to pick it up. When you land, you pick it up at the airport, which is great as it’s charged and you’ll be able to connect to it immediately. A lot of bars/restaurants will let you charge your portable Wi_Fi device and phone but it may be worth taking a portable charger. I didn’t need the additional charger but it was only me using the device.
At the airport you have a few choices of transport to get to your hotel. From Haneda airport to Shinjuku, the taxi will cost £60-£100. Out of peak times the price will be £60. In Japan, their culture is very honest and so I wouldn’t expect any cabbies to take the piss. Taxi doors are automatic. Another alternative is to get a train to your area. It’s worth getting a ‘Metro card’, which is used for trains. You top-up this card and it’s also accepted in shops, restaurants etc.
If you’re considering going to other areas in Japan e.g Kyoto, you’ll be able to preorder your ‘bullet train’ (Japan Rail Pass) ticket from the same website as the Wi_Fi portable device and here’s the link https://m.japan-rail-pass.com/mobile/Personally I would look at mostly staying in Tokyo with a few days in other areas like Kyoto/Mount Fuji. I haven’t been Mount Fuji but heard great reviews. You will not be bored in Tokyo.
Kyoto (old school Japan)
Kinkaku – ji (golden pavilion)– go see. Use Metro.
Nijo Castle – walk inside this place.
Kyoto Imperial Palace.
Inari Shrine (orange pillars). Find out when it gets dark so that you can plan it to be light for when you reach the top, and dark for when youre walking down so that you can see the lights.
You can also prebook Japanese experiences here, https://www.airbnb.co.uk/host/experiences?from_footer=1 or just google. Always check for reviews. You can do some experiences on the cheap too.
Personally I like to take a lot of cash for Japan. I have a currency app, which is a lifesaver. May be worth downloading on your phone.
Air China flights offered me x2 standard size suitcases and this was by default. There are plenty of shopping departments that sell suitcases.