10 Must-Have Mobile Apps When Traveling Japan

Updated: Apr 30

Japan is a fantastic place filled with great food and rich culture. But it’s no secret that getting around can be confusing, especially for tourists. This article introduces 10 mobile applications that will make your trip much easier.


Mobile Apps You Need For Japan Travel


Applications such as Google Maps and Google Translate are essential for traveling overseas, especially in countries where English isn’t the main language. The following are mobile applications that you’ll need specifically for your trip to Japan.


1. Japan: Travel Guide Offline

Platforms: iOS and Android Price: Free, with in-app purchases

Japan: Travel Guide Offline is an all-in-one application where you can find detailed guides on each city in Japan. There are multiples guides and all are comprehensive. Learn how to traverse the country, get restaurant and hotel recommendations, and more – all in one application!


Source: Google Play Store [screenshot]

The application also offers a view of the map, a map of the metro railway system, and articles specific to your location. Best off all, these features can be accessed offline!

The full version of the app requires payment. It allows you to access all of the content as well as the rest of the features.


2. HyperDia

Platforms: iOS and Android (also available at www.hyperdia.com Price: Free

HyperDia is useful for those who like traveling via train. The user simply types the station they need to go to and the station nearest to them. The app will then provide accurate route suggestions based on that.


Source: iTunes App Store [screenshot]


Apart from information on the train system, HyperDia can also provide estimated walking times, check car rental rates, and even suggest hotels that are close by.


3. NAVITIME

Platforms: iOS and Android Price: Free, with in-app purchases

If you want to learn more about how Japan’s subway system works and plan your route ahead, NAVITIME is the app you need. NAVITIME presents the user with a comprehensive summary of Tokyo’s transportation system. This comes with maps, estimated travel times, and even a route planner.


Source: Google Play Store [screenshot]


There are also a couple of guides in the application that give tips on how to travel to the other regions of Japan.

Some features in NAVITIME, such as alternative routes and turn-by-turn directions, must be paid for in order to be accessed.


4. Tokyo Subway Navigation


Platforms: iOS and Android Price: Free

If you want a guide to Tokyo’s subway system without all the extras presented by NAVITIME, try Tokyo Subway Navigation. The application focuses solely on the train system in Tokyo. With this app, you can find the quickest and most efficient way to get from one station to another. It also provides the user with landmarks and hotels along the way.

Source: iTunes App Store [screenshot]

When deciding on a route to take, Tokyo Subway Navigation shows the estimated time of travel, information on the fares, and which exits to take to get to your destination the quickest. The app is also fully usable offline.


5. Jorudan

Platforms: iOS and Android (also available at world.jorudan.co.jp/mln/en/) Price: Free, with in-app purchases

For a route planner that you can access without an internet connection, try Jorudan. This application can give you routes for local trains and planes. It also gives you the option to reserve seats and pick the route with the shortest estimated transit time.


Source: Google Play Store [screenshot]

Jorudan can also display how long you’re expected to stay at a station, your vehicle number, and even the weather forecast for the entire journey.

The premium version of the application requires payment. It lets you specify your preferred train cars for the trip, offers information on what platform you need to get off on, and displays your departure and arrival platforms.


6. TAKKUN

Platforms: iOS and Android Price: Free

If walking or using the railway system isn’t for you, download TAKKUN. TAKKUN works with multiple taxi companies and can send a cab directly to your location. It works a lot like Grab or Uber. The app will give you the cab’s identification number and you can track its location.


Source: iTunes App Store [screenshot]

The app is completely free. But when using it, you’ll be sure charged an extra pick-up fee, which you’ll pay to the driver.


7. Ms. Green

Platforms: Android (official site at www.japanican.com/en/ Price: Free

This application is a guide that comes in the form of a manga or Japanese comic. It was made by JTB Corp., which is Japan’s biggest travel agency. The comic follows the story of Ms. Green. She’s a newly-hired travel agent who travels to many places in Japan. There, she teaches tourists how to go about in Japan. For example, she can teach you about the food, train etiquette, and the toilets in Japan.


Source: Google Play Store [screenshot]

With the app, you can also book tours and reserve accommodations as you read through the manga. Clicking the links will redirect you to the travel agency’s booking site. You also get a chance to win gift certificates just by reading Ms. Green.


8. GURUNAVI

Platforms: iOS and Android (also available at gurunavi.com Price: Free

Priding itself as “Japan’s largest gourmet & restaurant guide”, GURUNAVI helps you decide on where you want to eat based on your location and cravings. Simply type on your location, what you’re craving, and your budget for that meal. The app will then show a filtered list of restaurants. They’re usually arranged by popularity and rating.


Source: iTunes App Store [screenshot]

There is also a checklist in the app where you can specify what you’re looking for in the restaurant. Do you need English-speaking staff? Looking for a place with free-flowing drinks? Or perhaps a private room? Simply add it to your list and let the app filter the restaurants for you.


9. Yomiwa

Platforms: iOS and Android (official site at www.yomiwa.net Price: Free

Yomiwa is a must-have for tourists who can’t read Kanji. This application can translate signs, menus, and other things written in Kanji when you take a photo of it. When you’re walking around Japan, make sure to keep the app on your phone.


Source: Google Play Store [screenshot]

Yomiwa also has other features. It lets you save words and even offers a screen where you can practice writing in Kanji.


10. Imiwa?

Platforms: iOS (official site at www.imiwaapp.com Price: Free

imiwa? is a dictionary application with thousands of Japanese translations. They are translated into English, German, French, and Russian. To help the user better understand the words and phrases, the app provides examples of the words in use.


Source: iTunes App Store [screenshot]

It also has a feature that can help you decode Kanji or the Japanese writing system. This includes a search engine that can help in identifying each character.

With these mobile applications, Japan travel should be easy. Make sure to download them and try them out before you land in Japan! If you’re an anime and manga lover check out this article: The Ultimate Haven for Anime and Manga Lovers in Tokyo.

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