The best apps for traveling in Japan

The best apps for traveling in Japan

Courtney Borrett

Posted 11 minutes ago: March 7, 2023 at 2:42 p.m

Japan is an amazing country full of culture, history and amazing food. But if you don’t speak the language, things can get a little lost in translation.

Here’s a list of must-use apps to help you get around Japan without a hitch.

Google Maps

It goes without saying. Google Maps is the basic mapping application found on any smart device.

With accurate information about shops, cultural centers, landmarks and train stations, Google Maps is fantastic for traveling in Japan.

Image: iStock


Speaking of train stations, HyperDia is the latest app for transportation in Japan.

If you insert any two stations into the departure and arrival legs, HyperDia offers multiple travel options between them. Options include buses, trains, ferries and even planes. It also provides travel times and costs, so you know exactly how much you’ll be spending on a shinkansen ticket between Tokyo and Osaka.

Japan’s official travel app

The official smartphone app of the Japan National Tourist Organization has many features to help you spend your time in Japan stress-free.

Although the app has a wayfinding feature, the best thing about it is that it has a map with points of interest. So if you’re looking for an ATM, luggage storage, or even a place with free Wi-Fi, the app will tell you where it is in relation to what you’re looking for.

Another bonus of the Japan Official Travel App is the safety assistance feature. While natural disasters are not very common in Japan, the country is known for frequent earthquakes. The safety assistant function provides information on what to do in the event of a natural disaster, emergency or extreme weather. It can also alert the user when a natural disaster or emergency has occurred.

It also includes contact information for health services and embassies.

Image: iStock


Short for Gourmet Navigator, GuruNavi is a restaurant locator app – the Japanese version of Zomato or Yelp.

Start by selecting the area you’re in, then search for places to eat by cuisine or restaurant type. You can also add filters such as: non-smoking restaurants, English menus, all you can eat, and restaurants suitable for families.

Unfortunately, the application does not sort the results in a specific order, and there is no way to manually sort them. But that’s the only downside of an app that gives you detailed information about every restaurant around you.


One of the things I was extremely grateful for on my recent trip to Japan was being able to use Uber in Japan without having to download a new app or additional add-ons. Going from my hotel to the airport at 5am with 20kg of luggage seemed like a scary thought until I ordered an Uber.

While Japan’s public transportation system is efficient, it can sometimes be difficult to get from one place to another. Or maybe you just want someone to take you back to your hotel after a big day.

Image: iStock


This is for people who know the Japanese language. This is a Japanese-English dictionary that is frequently updated with the modern language (including slang words and loanwords).

This dictionary has a simple layout and gives users the option to save words as notes in case you need to find them again quickly. It has offline functionality and gives users the option to type in English or Japanese (including hiragana, kakana, kanji and romaji).

Image: App Store

Google translator

If you’re traveling to Japan with little or no knowledge of the Japanese language, Google Translate will be your best friend (and nothing to be ashamed of).

Google Translate allows you to translate written text, photos, audio and real-time video. With the development of technology, translations have become much more accurate.

Now you can finally read the drink menu of your local izakaya!

Be sure to download these apps before your next vacation in Japan so you can live stress-free in this amazing country.

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