Oh no! You were out with your friends until late and you’ve just missed the last train? Or maybe you missed an important connection and now you’re stuck on a platform in a foreign town. This is a fairly common situation for travellers to Japan, as oftentimes the trains leading out of major cities can stop running as early as 10 o’clock. If you’re renting an apartment outside of Tokyo, it may be difficult for you to move between the two areas once it starts to get late. Since the train service in Japan starts up again at 5am, you’ll have to find a safe place to hang out until dawn. If ever you find yourself in this type of situation, here are a few suggestions of what you can do to either wait it out safely, or find your way back to your hotel.
Grab a taxi
This is the obvious first option in a situation like this however, taxis in Japan (especially in Tokyo) can be extremely expensive. If your hotel isn’t too far way, then hopping onto a taxi might be your best bet. For somewhere between 2000¥ and 5000¥ you should be able to reach your hotel without too much difficulty. If you are not staying within the city, then taxis are not the right option for you. A one hour taxi ride from Tokyo to Saitama can cost you as much as 40 000¥. Unless you’Ve got very deep pockets, or you’re really anxious to get back home, you should probably consider these other options first before splurging on a taxi.
Stay at an internet (or manga) café
This may seem a bit strange at first, but internet cafés run all night long and offer plans that will allow you to stay for the night. You will usually have access to a shower and a snack area, sometimes even an actual meal. Different establishments will have different prices and amenities. You’ll be given a small cubicle with a computer and headphones where you can catch some Zs without being disturbed.
Internet cafés can be found all over the city and are always open 24/7. Try finding one in a less crowded area of town to ensure that there’s still some room available.
Try a karaoke place
If you can’t find an internet café in your area, or that they’re all fully booked, your next best bet is spending the night at a karaoke place. Karaokes run all night long, the same as the internet cafés, and since you can rent a whole room, you’ll definitely have more space to lay down and rest up before dawn. If you think that you won’t be able to sleep through the noise, karaoke rooms are usually soundproof so you won’t hear much.
Karaoke rooms can be rented in blocks of 30 minutes or hourly. Some places offer a fixed night price until dawn (they know that the night patrons are just there to chill until the first train). This option is probably more expensive than an internet café but you’ll definitely be more comfortable here than in a small computer cubicle. Who knows, maybe you’ll want to enjoy your karaoke room and end up singing all night long! At least you won’t be walking the streets alone and with nothing to do.
If ever you miss your last train, just remember these few easy solutions. In all of these scenarios, you’ll be spending money, but how much of it depends on what you want to do with your evening. If you absolutely must return to your hotel, than a taxi may be yor only option. If you’re not too fussy about spending the night out, internet cafés and karaoke bars are the perfect place to rest up at a low cost.