1. The Dictionary and Translation App
Size: 195 MB
Image credit: renzo Inc.
Travelling to a country with a language you don’t speak may seem intimidating, but with this app, the language barrier is not a problem. Japanese is an offline Japanese dictionary containing more than 175,000 words and 58,000 example sentences. This app enables you to quickly translate English to Japanese and Japanese to English. Many Japanese dictionary apps work well only with word-by-word search, but this app has a text reader function that can translate long texts, such as text in websites or text messages.
This app also comes with good study tools that will help you pick up Japanese on the go. The tools available include flashcards, learning pronunciation, and study lists for JLPT exam.
2. The Navigation App
(i) Google Maps
Size: 56 MB
Image credit: Google
Google Maps is a reliable online app that you can use in Japan. It is popular, efficient, and is commonly used by tourists to search for routes and destinations. If you are to commute using the public transport, this app provides information on the fare as well. However, do take note that the fare is only applicable to those not using the Japan Rail Pass.
Besides that, the time stated in this app, whether it’s the time of arrival or departure (such as trains & buses), or the travel journey, are considered reliable. Japan’s public transportation are usually punctual, so you can expect your time of arrival at your destination. Do take note that as you travel to your destination, Google Maps also features nearby restaurants, attractions and public facilities. Hence, you could easily explore the places nearby, and if you are lucky, you might find some hidden gem!
(ii) NAVITIME for Japan Travel
Size: 122 MB
Image credit: Navitime Japan Co., Ltd.
One of the most downloadable japan travel apps, this app not only helps you to find the best route to your destination, but also features guides and informative articles about places of attraction, and information about travelling in Japan and public transportation.
While Google Maps requires Wi-Fi to function, this Japan Travel app stood out with its offline spot search that provides you with information on free Wi-Fi hotspots, currency exchange locations, ATMs, tourist information centres, and train stations. Even without Wi-Fi, you can be assured that you could still find your way around with this app. Apart from these helpful features, this app is also multilingual as it comes in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.
3. Rail Apps
In terms of navigation, Google Maps and Japan Travel may be sufficient for travel in general, but thanks to technology, travel in Japan is made more accessible with specific travel needs such as railway services.
(i) Japan Rail Map
Size: 58.1 MB
Image credit: Tokyo Studio, Inc.
The beauty of railway apps is that you are accessible to information and details about railway service. For instance, Japan Rail Map comes with rail maps and information that comes in handy for your personal reference. On top of that, you could easily obtain the latest updated rail schedule of your station, and plan your trip accordingly.
This app also comes with other useful information which are weather forecast and free Wi-Fi services that will help you in planning your journey.
(ii) Japan Transit Planner
Size: 59.2 MB
Image credit: Jorudan Co., Ltd.
Another alternative for Japan Rail Map would be the Japan Transit Planner, which is the English version of the most downloadable navigation app in Japan. To use this app, just key in your departure time and your destination (station or airport). It will calculate your journey time, cost, and the number of transfers. You can also obtain the train station’s timetable, making it easy to plan your journeys.
Compared to Japan Rail Map, this one does not come with Japan’s train map, and if you want to use all functions in this app it requires in-app purchase. However, do take note that this app can be downloaded for free.
4. The What to See and Do App
Do you find researching for places of interest and restaurants to be a chore? These two apps would be your lifesaver.
(i) Japan Travel Guide
Size: 63.5 MB
Image credit: Japan Tourism Marketing Co. & NTT Advertising, Inc.
Packed full with tourist information from Hokkaido to Okinawa, this is a user-friendly app that simplifies your travel search based on your objective with categories such as “to see”, “to eat”, and “to experience”. This app provides useful information for shops and places of interest such as the telephone number, opening hours, and directions on how to get there. You can even read reviews by other tourists, and post your review of the place after your visit.
If you happen to stumble upon a location you would like to visit, you can add it to your favourite list for reference. Besides that, you can also save your travel itinerary on this app (up to 30 days).
Size: 209 MB
Image credit: TripAdvisor LLC
Similar to Japan Travel Guide, TripAdvisor also recommends restaurants, places of attractions, and shopping locations, but this app’s scope is bigger as it includes accommodation. The advantage of this app is definitely its reviews, making it is a good resource to read about other travellers’ opinions about a particular hotel or restaurant – a feature which is lacking in Japan Travel Guide.
In a nutshell, these apps are not only useful during your trip in Japan but also but also as you plan your travel itinerary. With the apps downloaded into your phone, it will be useful for a change of plans especially when you stumble upon an interesting place to visit. All you need to do is download the apps, get yourselves familiar with using it and you are good to go!