Japan

The Best Travel Apps to Help You in Japan

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Technology is a blessing sometimes, isn’t it? It makes every aspect of our life more convenient, especially when traveling abroad.

One of the things most people worry about before visiting Japan is the language barrier, and it makes perfect sense. Even though you’ve heard that a lot of street signs and announcements are made in English these days, that’s not always the case. If you go to more rural areas of Japan, you suddenly realize how many locals don’t speak English, even in shops or restaurants.

Fortunately, as I mentioned at the beginning, there are techniques that can help you in many ways during your visit to Japan. In this case, I’m referring to mobile applications. In this article, I’ll introduce you to our pick of the 10 best travel apps to help you travel around Japan.


1. Navitime Japan Travel

© 2019 NAVITIME JAPAN.

The first app on our list is Japan Travel. This is an app created by Navitime, it’s a traffic navigation app that shows you the best way to get from point A to point B, for all modes of transportation.

Transportation in Japan is very organized and convenient, but it can be overwhelming for those who are not used to it. With Japan Travel, you will be able to visit Japan like a local.

In addition to being a transit navigation app, it also functions as maps, route search, travel guides and even trip planners.

Install Japan Travel for iPhone and Android here.

2. Google Maps

Google Map
Copyright © 2022 Apple Inc.

Google Maps needs no introduction. I bet you use it every day even in your own country. However, the app becomes even more valuable when you’re traveling abroad.

In the case of Japan, not only can you search where an item is located and calculate how long it will take you to get there, but you can also view bus stop locations and timetables. Also, if you decide to rent a car, you can use this app as a navigator.

Install Google Maps for iPhone here.

Install Google Maps for Android here.

3. Japan’s official travel app

Official Japan Travel App
Copyright © Japan National Tourism Organization.

Japan Official Travel App is an app developed by the Japan National Tourism Organization. This is an app that can help you in many ways during your trip to Japan.

This app features route search, the latest travel related articles and a search function that allows you to find important locations such as WiFi hotspots, ATMs and hospitals. It also has a safety assist feature that will notify you in case of any natural disasters or emergencies.

Install Japan Official Travel App for iPhone and Android here.

4. TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor
© 2022 Tripadvisor LLC

Here’s another app you probably already know. Knowing how to use an app before you need to use it makes it so much more convenient. If you have already used this app in your own country, you can easily use it in Japan as well.

Now that I’ve introduced you to apps that can take you somewhere, it’s time to find where you want to go. With Tripadvisor, you can find hotels, restaurants, shops, tourist attractions, and more. Since it’s used by millions of people around the world, no matter what you search for, you’re likely to find reviews and ratings relevant to what you’re searching for.

Install Tripadvisor for iPhone and Android here.

5. Google Translate

Google Translate
© 2022 Google LLC

From here, let me introduce you to some apps that can help you with language barriers, the first being Google Translate. You may have heard of this app, and maybe some of you have used it.

This application will help you to translate Japanese into your own language instantly. Not only can you translate by typing, but you can take a photo of the Japanese sign with your phone camera and it will translate for you too. Even better, you don’t need to take a picture; just point your camera at the sign and the app will translate it for you.

Install Google Translate for iPhone here.

Install Google Translate for Android here.

6. Hospitality Guidelines

Hospitality Guide
Copyright © Yamaha Corporation.

This is the second translation app on this list, however, it has different features compared to Google Translate. Omotenashi Guide is an app developed by Yamaha Corporation that will translate announcements you hear at places like airports, train stations, shopping malls and theme parks.

All you need to do is activate the app and let it hear the notification. It will then translate it into your language for you to understand.

A guide to installing Omotenashi for iPhone and Android here.

7. Voice

voice transmission
Copyright © 2015 China Academy of Information and Communication Technology.

Next on our list we have VoiceTra, an app created by NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology). This app will translate live conversations for you so you can interact with Japanese speaking natives.

The app can be used both ways (Japanese to English and English to Japanese), the strongest point of this app is that it is completely free, which you rarely see in these translation apps.

A guide to installing Omotenashi for iPhone and Android here.

8. Ecbo Cloak

Ecbo cloak
© 2022 ecbo Inc.

If you have a lot of luggage, this next app can help. In many cases, you can even store your luggage at the hotel before check-in or after check-out. But if that’s not an option for you right now, traveling with all your luggage can become stressful.

The app will direct you to nearby locations or specific areas where you can store your luggage. You can make an appointment in advance to avoid any unexpected troubles.

Install Ecbo Cloak for iPhone and Android here.

9. GuruNavi

guru navi
© Gurunavi, Inc.

In our list we have Gurunavi. You may have heard of this app before as it is a popular app used even by locals. GuruNavi is a simple restaurant search app that helps you get all the important information about restaurants.

You can search for a specific area to see what types of restaurants are there. Or, if there’s already a restaurant you’re interested in, you can check their hours, menu, prices, and more. It also has a map that shows you exactly where you are, making it super easy to find a place to eat what you want.

Install GURUNAVI for iPhone here.

Install GURUNAVI for Android here.

10. Japanese Halal Food

Japanese Halal Food
Copyright (c) Halal Gourmet Japan

Finally, on this list, we have Halal Food Japan. This is an app similar to the previous Gurunavi, but, as you may have noticed, this one is specifically aimed at restaurants serving halal meals.

Although the number has increased, it is not easy to find restaurants serving halal meals in Japan. However, there are more than 750 restaurants registered in this application, which makes it easier for those who need this information.

Install Halal Gourmet Japan for iPhone and Android here.


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I hope this article is helpful to you. If you want to know more about Japanese travel and life information such as domestic transportation in Japan, be sure to check out our other articles!

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