We polled the Best Living Japan community to learn about what top 10 Japan Apps they use daily on their Japanese mobile phones. Navigation, translation, eating and more, find out what Apps Tokyo Expats can’t live without. Highly recommended for those traveling to Japan to make their trip more enjoyable.
Here also some tips on settling down in Japan – reduce the stress be getting a jump-start.
Top 10 Japan Apps – For Expats or Tourists in Japan
Directions and Transport in Japan
- Japan Navi Japan Navi (iPhone) Japan Navi (Google Play) -This app is available in English, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. App functionality includes : explore (travel guides/articles), route search, and offline spot search (free Wi-Fi, currency exchange, ATM, tourist information center, stations). You also get issued a free 14 day ID/PASS for NTT FREE Wi-Fi (from outside of Japan). There are free and paid versions for Android and iOS. For paid you get turn-by-turn route directions and search alternative routes.
2. Japan Transit Planner By Jorudan Co.,Ltd. Japan Transit Planner (iPhone), Japan Transit Planner (Google Play) There is a free and paid version of this App. This App is the most trusted train routing App amongst Best Living Japan readers. The Japan Transit Planner is the English version of Japan’s most-downloaded navigation App (Norikae Annai). Great for finding your way around Japan’s railways and airways. Just enter your start and end points and the Japan Transit Planner will recommend the fastest and chepest routes. You can also designate dates and times. Up to 50 routes can be saved in the App so you do not need to keep entering the same info all the time. The next version is scheduled to be launched July 1, 2016.
3. Maps.me (iPhone), Maps.me (Google Play) offers free downloadable maps for 345 countries and islands – Japan included. It is perfect if you are not planning to be connected to wifi your entire trip. A great back-up to have in Japan since Wifi is still not available everywhere. Download the Japan map when connect and be able to navigate when every you need. Millions of points of interest including tourist sights, restaurants, and ATM info included.
4. Tokyo Subway Navigation – Free application officially provided by Tokyo Metro Co., Ltd to enable users to search transfer information for the Tokyo Subway system (Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway). It can be used on or offline. This application supports English, Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), Korean, Thai and Japanese. Just select your departure and destination station and the app will show you the main route, time required and even cost. It also can advise on which exits to take for popular tourist sights. The app has been updated to also show you which stations offer WIFI.
Extra Top 10 Japan Apps – Taxi Apps – There are three great resources for taxi. Pick one and be ready for a quick ride. Japan Taxi (nationwide), Takkun (Tokyo Taxis), or Uber in Tokyo.
5. Google Translate – Google Translate (iPhone and Android) is my go to for Japanese to English translation. Really the best app for near simultaneous translation. It is not perfect but the best option I have found in Japan. Also their kanji recognition software is great. Just shoot and highlight Japanese words (Kanji, Hiragana or Katakana) to translate into over 90 languages. Download the app to translate on or offline.
6. Cooori’s Japanese – English dictionary – (iPhone and Android) Leave your bulky Japanese dictionaries at home. This is the app that all Japan residents or travelers should have in their pocket. This free APP has over 10,000 words and works 100% offline. Great to type in English words to find Japanese translations or visa versus. Never get word stuck again in Japan.
Eating and Drinking in Japan
7. GURUNAVI – ( Android) Definitely the best Free app for finding recommended restaurants in Japan is GuruNavi (sadly only on Android now). Guru is short for “gurume” or gourmet in English. Find restaurants listed by location and or choose a type of food or budget. The app supports multiple language(s): English, Korean, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional).
Japan Information and News
8. Yurekuru Call (Earthquake warning system) (iPhone and Android) – This FREE app is a must have for Expats and travellers. This app provides you with an earthquake early warning by notifying you right before an earthquake is about to happen in Japan so you can prepare. After the earthquake it will also tell you the seismic intensity and mapping. The app will also let you know if there is any tsunami risk or not.
9. NHK World Radio and TV are two great APPs to access news on Japan, Asia and the rest of the world. The Radio station is offered in 17 different languages. The NHK World apps are free but need to be connected wifi to get info.
10. Line (iPhone and Android) is the equivalent to “Whatsapp” and is now the #1 messenger service in Japan with ladies, college and teen students. The service provides thousands of free stickers and stamps to make your messages cute. You can also pay for the “perfect sticker”. If you make friends in Japan you will want to have this app. The Line Camera APP also is an awesome app for photo and selfie collages. The Line Camera comes with highly customisable filters to adjust your complexion, sparkly eyes, white teeth and thicker lips.
Top 10 Japan APPs – For Expats or Tourists in Japan
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