PLANNING A SOLO TRIP
On the 4th December I am flying to Tokyo on my own for seven nights. I have travelled alone before, but only to America which is obviously rather minimal in terms of a culture shock, and I also know people there to go for dinner with, this is going to be a very different experience. I have wanted to visit Tokyo for so long, and ultimately decided I could do it alone and didn't need to wait for it to fall into place with someone else alongside me. The last quarter of this year has been challenging for me personally, and so ending it with something so far from my comfort zone feels very appealing. I have so many tips from so many friends already, and everyone says a week won't be long enough! So I thought I would share some of those tips here, the things I know I am definitely going to see, the cost of flights etc if you want to budget for a trip like this too. Once I am back I will of course fo another post sharing the things I actually DID do, and it will be go to cross reference it with this one.
So I paid just under £1000 for my fights. Obviously I have done this very last minute, so I am not sure what to expect for when you book ahead of time. I am flying out premium economy, and back economy. There was a £200 difference to upgrade on the way out, which I paid for with the points I had (get an American Express credit card if you fly British Airways a lot, you get way more points), so I paid £800 in total. It's a 12 hour flight so they figure is what I always have in mind for flying long haul with a decent airline.
My hotel (which I will share once I am there, I feel a little wary about sharing my exact location) was £850 for seven nights. Someone told me the three star hotels there are like four star ones here, so I kept my search to 3 star only, and decided to be picky on the area. I am staying in Shibuya, which was by far the place recommended to me the most. I did toy with the idea of an Air B&B, but as I am on my own a hotel feels a little safer, and I think I want someone at least somewhat predicable in the midst of what I imagine will be quite an alien experience overall.
Train pass! So many people mentioned this to me. I booked mine on line with JTB which has a very useful section here to work out if it's actually cost effective for you to buy one. I know I want to spend a day in Kyoto, Osaka and also Hakone. Three bullet trains, meaning it's worthwhile for the pass. It's £200 though, so be sure to make sure you will get your money's worth with that. I have also bought myself a pocket WiFi for the week whic a lot of you recommended too, it was £57 for 7 days which will definitely be much cheaper than having my data on for the entire week.
Other than that the only thing I booked ahead of time is the Kusama museum, because it gets booked up and you must book a slot. I was sadly too late to get a slot at the Ghildi museum, which offers very limited time slots so you have to be on it with this one. I am not hugely familiar with Ghildi's work so I don't feel too gutted about this, but if you were it's worth noting you can't hang about with this one.
I also want to do a bit of shopping! The only thing I have my heart set on buying is a new film camera, as I know Japan is the best place to get them. I really want to get into medium format so I am going to be keeping an eye out for a Mamiya 7, which is small enough for me to carry around everyday too.
I have heard so many amazing things about the vintage shopping too, so I am sure I will be tempted by that. And of course Muji and Uniqlo, even though they're brands we have there, I 100% want to experience the amazing shops they have in Tokyo too. I can only imagine how many pairs of socks I will end up with!