10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)

by Mieke - TripleLights travel specialist

Glued to your phone

Especially in a country as gadget-loving as Japan, being glued to your phone only makes you blend in with the Japanese. In fact, Japanese have been so much absorbed in their phones that a number of incidents at train stations spiked the campaign “Don’t ‘Smartphone’ and Walk” on train platforms all over Japan.

In order to prevent sky-high internet bills, I’ve collected apps that work offline when possible.
Here’s the list of not-to-miss apps for your device, which will make your travel through Japan that much more comfortable.

1. Interactive Offline Map

MapsWithMe is a sort of offline version of Google maps. It’s perfect for your orientation when you have no internet connection. Download the map of Japan in advance so you can use it offline at any time. When you do have a connection you can find your current location.
The paid version is more extensive and features, for instance, a convenient search bar.  

10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)Image courtesy of android-phones.ru

Available for: everything
Price: 4,99$ (Lite version for free)   
Click here for more information.

2. Japan Travel Guidebook

A great app to help you find your orientation is Planetyze.

Plan your trip to Japan from your iPhone or iPad and make it an enjoyable experience since the beginning. You will find all prefectures and most popular destinations in the main screen with full information about the sights and tours.

Planetyze also offers a maps to locate every destination, wishlist to save your favourite ones, reviews, videos and a earch option where you can find faster your favorites places!

10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)

Did you notice the itineraries? Yes, this app features 1-day itineraries for Japan, including itineraries for Tokyo, Kyoto and all 47 prefectures of Japan. Pretty handy!

Available for: iPhone, iPad, Andriod.
Price: FREE
Download Planetyze App

Click here for more information.

3. Train Route Finder

Navitime is a comprehensive train route app and one of the few that works in English.
It works with internet or WIFI. It now features a WIFI spot searcher which is helpful if you don’t want to pay for or cannot access internet in Japan.
  10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)
Image courtesy of appster.de

Available for: iPhone & Android
Price: 19,99$ per month (Lite version for free)

Click here for more information.

4. Speak Japanese Without Learning Japanese

Imiwa is an offline Japanese dictionary app and works with English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, Korean and Russian. It works quite intuitively and best of all: it’s totally free! You will need to know the pronunciation in Japanese in order to look up words, so it works best with spoken Japanese.
10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)
Image courtesy of Imiwa

Available for: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Price: 0$

For users of Android or Blackberry phones, I advise Aedict, a similarly handy tool for your EN-JP JP-EN translations. Aedict also provides example sentences with every looked up word.

Available for: Android and Blackberry
Price: 0$ or 5$

Click here for more information.

5. Read Japanese Without Learning Japanese

For those of you who haven’t studied written Japanese, it is close to impossible to look words up in a dictionary. For you, Yomiwa is the answer to all your troubles.
You simply have to make a picture of a Japanese text and the app does the rest, no internet connection needed!
10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)

image courtesy of Yomiwa

Available for: iPhone.
Price: 4$
Click here for more information.

6. Stay In Contact

Line is a Japanese app that offers messaging and free calls (internet required).
Since most people in Japan use this to stay in contact with, well, everyone, installing this app and creating a Line ID will make it easier for you to contact your new Japanese friends. The good thing about this app it that you don’t necessarily need a phone number so it also works on iPod touch and tablets.
However, unlike Skype, you cannot phone directly to phone numbers using the internet.
10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)
Image courtesy of cubrid.org

Available for: Everything (even computers).
Price: 0$  
Click here for more information.

7. Find Places To Eat

The best app for searching for a restaurant is without doubt the app of the Japanese gourmet website GuruNavi. Find restaurants listed by proximity to where you are at that moment, or choose a type of food or set a budget.
GuruNavi shows so many alternatives, it might have been called ‘Navi Guru’ (actually it probably won’t, since the ‘guru’ in ‘GuruNavi’ has nothing to do with master yogi’s, but is short for ‘gurume’ meaning ‘gourmet’ in Japanese).
Gurunavi often offers coupons for extra discount or complementary drinks.

10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)
Image courtesy of japanmobiletech.com

Available for: iPhone & Android.
Price: 0$  
Click here for more information.

8. Stay Up To Date

There are numerous apps to keep you informed about current events in Japan.
NHK World is one of the biggest English news feeds. Their news radio app, NHK World Radio, will keep you updated with the latest of all news concerning Japan, including business and financial news as well as other news on Asia and global news. The news updates come in 14 different languages. Note that you will need an internet connection, but the app itself is free.
10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)
Image courtesy of english-samurai.com
Available for: iPhone, iPad & Android.
Price: 0$    
Click here for more information.

9. Add a Japanese Touch To Your Photos

In Japan, photo sticker booths are immensely popular. They are also known as ‘purikura’ (from Japanese pop culture lingo purinto kurabu, meaning print club). You throw 400 yen into a machine inside a large booth (maximum of about 5 people comfortably, 15 people not-so-comfortably), and the machine does the rest. What is the rest? They slim you down, make your skin smoother and whiter, your eyes much larger and your make-up more pronounced. With this, anyone can look like a teenage superstar!
Although I advise you to at least try the real thing once, because it’s so much fun, Sticki Pici lets you make your own ‘purikura’ pictures, anywhere and with anyone.
Currently available at US iTunes only.
10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)
Available for: iPhone
Price: 2,99$ (Lite version for free)  

Click here for more information.

10. Getting Around in Tokyo

Transportation may not always be the most convenient in Tokyo, as the trains do not run 24/7 and sometimes it can be difficult to hail a cab in less popular areas of the city. When public transportation is convenient or not possible for you, make sure to try out JapanTaxi, a handy and user-friendly transportation app where you can reserve or call a taxi on demand. JapanTaxi calculates the cost of the ride according to length of the ride and has several inclusive payment options (ApplePay, Docomo 'd' payment, debit/credit cards). The app is also viewable in English, Japanese, Korean, and Simplified/Traditional Chinese. 
10 Useful Apps while Traveling in Japan (2019)

Image courtesy of Itunes App Store
Available for: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android
Price: $0 to download

Don't want to be glued to your phone during your stay in Japan?
Explore with a private guide or join a private tour group.

Having to use your phone all the time to navigate during your time in Japan can not only drain your battery life quickly, but it can also deter you from fully enjoying your stay. With a private guide or private tour group, you can eliminate the risk of getting lost in any areas, be able to understand the country's traditions and culture better by having all questions answered by a professional, and immerse yourself in enjoying Japan hassle-free. I recommend TripleLights, a renowned tour marketplace with over 1,000 licensed professional tour guides that can help you customize your  personalized itinerary and ensure that you have a convenient and unforgettable experience in Japan. 

If you are interested in planning a hassle-free trip to Japan, check out all the different locations available for private tours on the TripleLights website and then feel free to send a message to any of our local guides for a custom itinerary and price quotation to start your journey. 

Blogs About Touring Japan

Tour Guide in Tokyo: Pros and Cons to Hiring One

Travel to Japan: Alone or With a Group? Pros and Cons

Cherry Blossom 2019 Season in Japan: 5 Best Spots in Tokyo

Japan Travel - 7 Days Itinerary Around Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka

Japan Tour Guide Marketplaces - Finding a Tour Guide in Japan 

Need help planning your trip to Japan ?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Japan, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Japan

21 Jul 2014

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews

“ Transportation Services from Hotel to Kobe Port. ”

2 hours ago Traveler: Carla -   Tour Guide: VAN transportation

Driver arrived early and provided exceptional service on our way to the port. Looking forward to our other arrangements with TripleLights. Highly recommend their service.
read more

“ Hero is the best! ”

2 hours ago Traveler: Tony -   Tour Guide: Hero

After having trouble navigating Japan and Kyoto on our first trip we decided to hire a guide and we hired the best guide ever! Hero met us at our hotel and was friendly, polite, accommodating, he took us to the Nishiki food market and we were introduced to many types of Japanese foods we would never have tried on our own. We then had lunch at a fantastic resteraunt that Hero recommended. The after...
read more

“ Tomoe made our Kyoto trip even better! ”

5 hours ago Traveler: Ee -   Tour Guide: TOMOE

My friend and I recently visited Kyoto. Engaging Tomoe’s service was the best decision we made for our trip! She tailored an itinerary which suited our needs and also gave us the historical, gastronomical and cultural overview while bringing us around. Tomoe brought us to some really good hidden restaurants for lunch where we enjoyed the best ramen and obanzai meal. To top it off, Tomoe has excell...
read more

“ Akihabara tour ”

8 hours ago Traveler: Umi -   Tour Guide: Yuko

Yuko gave us a private tour at Akihabara. She showed up early and was very prepared. She had a print out schedule she showed us in the beginning of the tour. First we went to a figurin store called Radio Kaikan. For lunch, she gave us a choice of maiden cafe/gundam cafe and we went to with the maiden cafe, and it was a quite a experience and we were glad we had a good translator with us. She also...
read more

“ Osaka and Kyoto with Shogo ”

16 hours ago Traveler: Renate -   Tour Guide: Shogo

Shogo was amazing. He met us on time, provided an itinerary for the day and also some interesting facts about Japanese history. Shogo was very knowledgeable about Osaka and Kyoto. We had an awesome time. Thanks Shogo for 2 great days.
read more

“ Incredibly Nice ”

19 hours ago Traveler: Frank -   Tour Guide: HIROKO

As a guide Hiro was very knowledgeable and friendly. We had a great time with Hiroko. Highly recommend!
read more

“ Kamakura Enoshima Daytrip ”

1 day ago Traveler: Dan -   Tour Guide: Tomoko

I jjust wanted to give my feedback on Tomoko and the bus and driver. Most tour guides just dispense information in a monotone and no more as that is their job. It was so refreshing to have a guide that was so knowledgeable, yet spent the time to connect with every person in the group. She tried to make everyone comfortable and cared to personally make sure everyone was accounted for. You could...
read more

“ Excellent guide ”

1 day ago Traveler: James -   Tour Guide: ERIC

Eric was a fantastic guide. Being from the city, he was both knowledgeable about the sites in Kyoto and extremely kind as well. He helped us schedule our day and provided us with recommendations for restaurants and other activities for the rest of our time in Kyoto. Additionally, he took our booking one day in advance after our other cancelled. Highly recommend.
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Japan

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started