Best Japan Travel Apps You Need in

Traveling to a foreign country is hard without the right tools. That's why you need these best Japan travel apps, so you can navigate with ease and confidence!
Japan’s vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and delicious cuisine bring in thousands of travelers each year. But, navigating a new country, especially one with a different language and customs can feel extremely overwhelming. Luckily in this technologically advanced country, there are a lot of handy Japan travel apps here to empower your exploration, ensuring a smooth, fun, and safe journey.

From navigating around the bustling city of Tokyo, to overcoming the intense language barrier, and simply being in a new world with new ways of life, these Japan travel apps can help you overcome it all with confidence!

Girl standing with a paper umbrella in front of a temple in Japan

Table of Contents

Navigation Apps in Japan

Google Maps

The supreme navigation app anywhere in the world remains to be Google Maps. This is essential for transport around Japan, especially in congested cities like Tokyo or Osaka which show transport options via trains and subways.

Another great feature of Google Maps is the ‘My Maps’ feature where you can create your custom maps with pins and lists of the must-go places. I use these in all of my itineraries like the ultimate one week in Okinawa.

Google Maps App icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

Japan Travel by NAVITIME

This is the ultimate travel planning app for Japan. This is essential for complex route planning using different modes of transport (bus, subway, taxi walk) and where to stop for Wi-Fi or ATMs. 

To make your travel even more seamless, download a Suica card before you go. This is like a digital card that you can scan on trains and subways to pay. The Suica card is essential in Japanese cities! 

Japan Travel Navitime App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

Uber

It’s always uncertain which rideshare app a country uses. While much of Asia uses Grab, Japan is an Uber user making it super easy for travelers to get a taxi even with little to no Japanese. 

This is great when you first land and need to get to your accommodation, or in an area where public transport isn’t as possible. However, public transit in Japan is unmatched and very affordable, so you’ll rarely need Uber, but it is nice to have on you when you do!

Uber App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

Ecbo Cloak - Luggage Storage

Not a navigation app entirely, but it does allow you to travel lighter without all of your luggage! Ecbo Cloak is the Airbnb of luggage storage, allowing you to find storage lockers around the city so you can drop your bags and explore a bit lighter.

Japan is filled with luggage storage in train stations, subways, airports, and the typical places… but what about the retail store that offers storage for a small fee? In the blazing heat of summer, you’ll definitely want this.

I didn’t learn about this until after my 1 day trip in Tokyo, and wow do I wish I had it. I was a sweaty mess carrying 2 backpacks in small streets waiting until I was able to check-in. Don’t make the same mistake!

Ecbo Cloak App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

Communication & Culture Apps in Japan

Google Translate

Assuming you’re not fluent in Japanese, Google Translate is essential. The many features allow you to translate any text or speech easily. The best part is you can download the Japanese language for use offline, so you’re never too far from a fluid convo.

The voice translation feature allows you to have a seamless conversation with a local, so you don’t have to go back and forth typing (even if you could type kanji). Once you set up an international phone plan, you’ll be able to navigate any language with ease.

The camera is my favorite feature, especially for grocery shopping or ordering off a menu. Simply use the camera to scan the text and read it back in your native language! Good luck shopping for the right kind of sauce among the thousands of options without it. 

Google Translate App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

LINE

If you’re staying in Japan for a while, you’ll want to get set up on LINE, a messaging app common amongst locals. It is more popular than competitors like WhatsApp, texting, or Facebook Messenger. 

LINE uses an internet connection, and is completely free to use! If you’re a short-term traveler through Japan, you’ll be fine enough just using WhatsApp.

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

Food & Dining Apps in Japan

Ramen Beast

If you’re excited about the Japanese food scene (rightfully so), be sure you’re getting the best around. As the name suggests, Ramen Beast is a review app dedicated to ramen lovers, listing top-rated ramen shops across Japan. 

Ramen Beast App Icon

Available for download:
iOS 

Gourmet Navigator by GuruNavi

GuruNavi is the best restaurant tool there is in Japan, providing thorough information on your options. Filter by cuisine, see the estimated price, nearest station, and if English menus and staff are available. If you’re a big foodie (which is mostly everyone in Japan, the food is too good), you’ll also want to check out Tabelog & HotPepper. All 3 of these platforms are used by locals, so you’re going to get better results than the touristy uses of Yelp or TripAdvisor.  While there is an app, it’s all in Japanese! The website tool is just as useful, so I suggest using that. However, if you’re ready to test your Japanese knowledge (or do a lot of translating), I’ve linked the app below.
GuruNavi App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

GuruNavi Website

HappyCow

In honor of making ethical and sustainable choices, HappyCow has a rightful place on this list. With this app you can find vegan and vegetarian restaurants near you, around the world!

Especially in such a fish and meat-heavy cuisine, the veg-heads often struggle to find quality meals in Japan. As a former vegetarian for 12 years, I either didn’t eat out much or got comfortable with a side salad and some french fries.

Japan’s food is insanely good, but you shouldn’t have to miss out on it just because you don’t eat pork broth or horse sashimi (yes, that’s a thing here).

Happy Cow App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

Safety Apps in Japan

My Earthquake Alerts & Feed

Welcome to Japan, the most earthquake-prone country in the world! While most of the daily quakes are safe, as we’ve seen from the tsunami in 2011, they can be catastrophic. Japan has rigorous safety precautions, and warning systems around the country, and has dedicated its resources to preventing disaster from striking again… but you can never be too sure.

Ease your mind with updates and alerts from the Earthquake app. You can set your notification settings like the ratings, location, distance to trigger an alert, and more! This is one of the best travel apps everyone should have, especially while in Asia and the Pacific.

My Earthquake App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

TripWhistle

One thing that isn’t considered while traveling until you need it is the local emergency numbers. While I have 911 engrained in my head, that won’t do much in Japan when the number for police is 110.

TripWhistle is an easy way to have every country’s number for police, fire emergencies, and medical services. The app also provides your exact location with the nearest address, and coordinates so you can clearly provide your location!

Trip Whistle App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

Best General Travel Apps

Japan Travel Guide App

There is no better place to start than with the offical travel app of the country. With the Japan Guide Travel App, you can find detailed information about your location, making it a perfect planning tool.

Learn about the transportation, costs, health and safety measures, basic phrases, restaurants and accommodation recommendation and so much more! The app has an easy to use user interface and is top rated among Japan travel apps.

Japan Travel Guide App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

Currency Converter

Whenever you go to a new country, it’s essential to have an accurate and reliable currency converter. My favorite is called ‘currency’, and allows you to have a list of every currency you use on one page, so when you type in the value for one it converts them all!

This is great for a Southeast Asia backpacking trip when you’re in and out of so many countries that some seem to stick more than others. The app also shows the historic trends of the currency, giving some insight into the best times to convert or invest. 

Currency conversion App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

 

WiFi Map

Japan is notoriously hard to come by Wi-Fi. Not too great if you’re a traveling digital nomad like us. Unless you rent a portable Wi-Fi device, then the WiFi Map will be your best to locate internet access wherever you are.

You can download maps while in internet zones so that you can search when you’re offline! Wi-Fi maps have saved me a lot from no data in Europe to Japan, it covers everywhere!

WiFi Map offers more than just internet access; you can see exchange rates, a world clock, local tipping etiquette, and a VPN. While using public internet, it is essential to have a reliable and secure VPN for travel.

WiFi Map App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

VoiceMap Audio Tours

Voice Map is my favorite underrated travel app, especially when traveling to cities that are as ancient and historic as some of the sites in Japan! Voice Maps provides walking tours so you can pop in your headphones and go at your pace.

The tours are written and read by historians, authors, and experts in a certain subject so you can walk where history happened, without the annoyances of joining a tour group. The app is location-based, so once you reach the next talking point, the tour resumes making it a seamless experience.

Many of the tours are free, while some are paid. Regardless, they are all downloadable for offline use to save your data. I did the walking tour in Asakusa to explore the history of the Sensoji Temple, and had such a fun time walking and learning at my speed!

VoiceMap Audio Tours App Icon

Available for download:
iOS and Google Play

Summary - Best Japan Travel Apps

From mastering public transportation to deciphering menus and staying informed about natural disasters, the right Japan travel apps can be your digital travel companions.

This guide has explored a diverse range of apps, catering to various needs and interests. Choose the apps that resonate with your travel style, download them beforehand, and take off on your Japanese adventure with confidence!

Remember, this is just a starting point. Explore further, research features, and tailor your app selection to create a personalized digital toolkit for your unique Japanese escapade.

Explore the other destinations waiting for you in Asia!

Posted by Taylor Mallaber

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