With very few exceptions, if women use common sense they will be safe in Tokyo. Much safer than any US city. Don't walk down dark alleys alone at night, etc. Use a buddy system if you are drinking. If you get "molested" (butt grabbed) on a train make a scene in any language. The grabber will be embarrassed by the attention.
In the last month the only issue I have had on the trains is a man checking out my chest. I was fully covered, but am larger chested than Japanese women. He would turn away every time I looked in his direction and was not aggressive. In New York the men are much worse.
One thing that held me back before in going to Tokyo was my worry about coping with smoking. I was glad not to believe a lot of sites I read which said that Japan/Tokyo for that matter was a place of smokers.
Having a family with asthma sufferesr, I was really stressed and agonised whether to go or not at the beginning of our planning.
However, I was relieved to find that at Narita Airport alone, there is a secluded place for smokers to do their poisonous habit without harming non-smokers like us! BRILLIANT! (Japanese smokers do follow this too!)
Everywhere we go, we did not have much problem with smokers. Even in restaurants/'fast food outlets, they have a closed room reserved for them and we liked that! We didn't have to inhale their deadly smoke!
Its interesting to note that the comments about Tokyo being safe are usually made by Japanese people or non Japanese men. If however you dont fall into those groups please read on......
In the 2 years I have lived here I have heard many stories about unwanted attention on the trains and gaijin women being the victims of crime.
Almost all my non japanese friends have been a victim of one or more of the following- serious sexual assault, stalking, molestation, groping, being followed home, physically attacked in public, peeping toms, underwear theft from public laundries or balconies, having photos taken under restaurant tables or on stairs, harrassment on trains, indecent exposure etc. the list is endless.
Usually these these things happen at night but not always and often they are carried out by men who have been drinking. Its important to report even the most minor harrassment to the police or train guard.
If in public grab hold of the man by the hand and shout at him - any language is ok - use the word CHIKAN and others will get the message. Most of these men are cowardly -loudly /angrily asking "namae wa nan des ka?" (name)and "dochira ni o tsutome des ka?"(company) if hes wearing a business suit will embarrass and scare him. Above all stop the harrassment before it gets too serious - a firm "kamawanaide kudasai" (leave me alone) is often enough.
Above all dont let these sad people spoil your trip. Be strong be safe.
Young guys heading to Akihabara to check out anime and manga stores will be most vulnerable here. The maids are pretty little things that will invite you to a Maid Cafe. This could be classified as the G-rated version of the going to a bar and being ripped off. They will escort you to the cafe, and once you are inside, you discover it costs you just to sit down - at a table or lounge. Then the meals and drinks that are 'recommended' because you also get to have your photo taken with the girls are damn expensive. It is all designed to get you to spend as much money as they can get you too.
I think they were a little suprised when I went along with my son and his friend, and felt like a fish out of water, but am glad I did!
Firstly, do not pay with a credit card. As it was, we paid with cash, but when it came to being handed the bill, something didn't seem right. I'd roughly added it up to be around 9,000 Yen, but was handed a bill for 17,000 Yen! When I hesitated, she looked at me and asked if I wanted a calculator, and I said no. When I realised I was going to have to explain why I thought it was overcharged, I changed my mind and used a calculator and added up each amount - and of course it came to 9,000 Yen! There were lots of apologies and 'embarrassment' for the mistake and the 9,000 Yen in cash was accepted. If I hadn't bothered to check, we would have paid almost twice what we should have - and that was already too expensive for what it was!!
Before I went to Tokyo I read several tips about what to do if you're groped or touched while on the train in Japan. I never did experience this, but I was VERY careful not to get onto crowded trains.
However, I did experience the ogling of very drunk Japanese men coming home from their late night excursions. They never actually approached me but I was the only female on the train and it was very obvious they were talking about me. It made me very uncomfortable.
As a female, when you ride the trains during the peak hours check out the platform and look for the women's only cars.
You see this guy around train stations and public parks. He has some little toy that looks like a clown and he'll point at it and command it to stand up or lie down. They sell for ¥1000 and it's just a rort. Here's some videos I took :: Video 1 // Video 2
More info :: A Clever Kyoto Street Scam
When in Roppongi no matter how drunk you are do not go off with girls offering to give you a massage. While having the massage they rob you of your money, and scan your credit card.
I stupidly went to one in my second month here, 4 months later I see an item on my credit card for $600!!
Ladies please be careful when you are travelling on trains especially during peak hours.
Even though Tokyo is a relatively safe place to travel around, it is not uncommon for ladies to be harassed or molested especially in crowded places.
Wear modestly or be prepared to attract unwarranted attention.
There are a lot of prostitutes from the local and foreign country. Basically all of them will use their smile to exchange the money from your pocket. They can be very nice to you as long you are they sugar daddy. For female, male gigolo industry is getting popular from day to day, their target is to senior rich madam whom their husband always busying on work.
Generally, guys should feel fairly safe in Japan.
For the girls, be careful of taking the crowded commuter trains between 7am-9am and 6pm-11pm. It is a known fact that there are gropers (sukebe) who like to molest foreign females and go undetected in crowded trains.
Also beware of what I call the 'Ruthies' - basically 60+ year old Japanese women who will do anything to get that seat. Be prepared to be pushed aside. Grin and bear it.
Public toilets at the train stations can be a little basic. They are generally the squat type - make sure you face towards the jet and flush only once you have moved away to avoid being 'splattered'. Always carry your own little supply of tissues as none are generally provided.
Beware of the large eyed beauties who may seduce you into beleiving they are yours... theyre only after one thing>>> your english ability. THis can be a good thing and a bad thing, it entirely depends upon your perspective on the whole situation. But you have been forwarned!!!
Women, be wary of Japanese men when traveling on crowded trains. They usually won't bother foreigners but an intoxicted one might. The instances of sexual molestation on trains has become so pervasive that there are now female only train cars.
If you happen to see any large brown buses with chrysanthimums painted on them blaring out some deafening harangue, stay away. Those are the ultra-nationalists.