Traveling in Japan is an unforgettable experience, with a unique blend of traditional culture and modern technology. Whether you're visiting for the first time or you're a seasoned traveler, it's important to have the right apps to help you navigate the language barrier, find the best places to eat, and discover hidden gems. Here are the 10 best apps for Japan travel.
1. Google Maps
If you're already comfortable with Google Maps, you'll be happy to hear it's commonly used for travel in Japan! It's essential for navigating Japan's vast and complex public transportation system and provides accurate timetable information on trains and buses. You can easily save your favorite listings under specific categories and save marked pins for places of interest.
This app is just like Google Maps, offering all the directions you need, but with one essential feature: You can use it without WiFi! Luckily, almost every public space offers free WiFi, however if you find yourself without the option, Maps.Me might save you.
3. Japan Official Travel App
The Japan Official Travel App is an all-in-one app for planning your trip to Japan. From finding the best tourist attractions to booking hotels and restaurants, this app has everything you need to make the most of your time in Japan.
Are you noticing a pattern here? There is no shortage of travel apps for Japan, especially for route-planning and navigating public transportation. Hyperdia was the leader in route-planning until 2022, but now Jorudan supplies up-to-date time tables on the nation's railways and air travel.
Yomiwa is a powerful translation app that can help you decipher Japanese text on signs, menus, and other documents. With built-in OCR (optical character recognition) technology, you can take a picture of any text and get an instant translation in English. This is among one of the most important apps for Japan because almost all restaurant signs will be in Japanese.
Tabimori is a travel app designed specifically for foreign visitors to Japan and comes with features like intinerary planning and real-time translation. You can also find restaurant recommendations, event listings, and weather forecast.
Tabelog is like your favorite foodie blogger with insider knowledge on local restaurants. With over 250,000 restaurant listings and user reviews, you'll be able to find the perfect dining experience no matter where you are in the country.
8. Japan Transit Planner
The multilingual version of "Norikae Anni," one of the most downloaded transit apps in the country, Japan Transit Planner is a powerful app for planning any trip. You'll be able to navigate everything from Japan's complex transportation system to domestic flights with ease.
Similar to WhatsApp or Kakao Talk, LINE is a popular messaging app in Japan. It has a built-in translation feature so you can chat with locals in Japanese and get instant translations in your preferred language. Plus, it'll be a great way to stay in touch with the friends you're sure to make.
10. Suica Card
This is a pre-paid and reloadable card issued through JR (Japan Railway). Suica cards are a cheap way for tourists to ride most train lines, and pay for selected vending machines, convenience stores and the rented lockers you find inside of subway stations. Keep in mind that it's meant for short-term stays, and leftover balances expire after 28 days.
Planning your trip to the Land of the Rising Sun? Downloading the right apps can help you make the most of your trip and discover all that this amazing country has to offer. These travels apps for Japan will help you navigate public transportation like a pro and discover the best restaurants like a local.