Check out the mobile apps which make getting around in Japan easier.
More could appear at any time – if you come across any useful ones, do let us know!

MAPS

A useful free app for iPhone is Japan Maps, with many maps of Japan.

Other useful iPhone applications for travelling around Tokyo are:

Find Tokyo! will be useful if you are lost, with GPS and a compass device.

The mTrip travel guide of Tokyo gives you a personalized itinerary to discover the city. It works offline too – so no data charges.

Get wandering in Kyoto with this “Kyoto Map and Walks” free app from GPSmycity. Tokyo is also offered in the collection. These apps are designed for iPad too, and work offline.

TRAIN TRAVEL

Hyperdia is a very useful website for train travel – showing timetables, fares and even the platforms trains arrive and depart from! And now Hyperdia has an App, Hyperdia by Voice. It’s available for iOS, free for a 30-day free trial, and then $2.99 per month.
The thing to note, though, is that it requires live data connection to work.

For Android, a good alternative is Japan Trains. It has a good search facility, and interestingly it shows station names in Japanese too, which could be helpful. It’s free and quite small in itself, but only functions online, due to the large amount of data required.

 

TOKYO METRO

Tokyo Metro Subway does what it says on the tin. It gives clear routes in English for all journeys on the Tokyo Metro network. But it doesn’t show the other lines (eg. JR services) in Tokyo, neither does it show fares.

Tokyo subway map ($ 0.99)

trains.jp gives you best routes on the Tokyo Metro, including the Tokyo Metro and all other lines. It also shows fares, but these are a little out of date.

CITY GUIDE

Tripadvisor’s free offline City Guides series is highly rated, and the Tokyo City Guide is packed full of restaurants and attractions and Tripadvisor reviews. Free, for Android and iOS. The full list of cities available in the Tripadvisor City Guide series is here. Use them offline — no Internet connection or data roaming charges! But only other one for Japan is Kyoto.

LOST IN TRANSLATION

The application Imiwa? is a downloadable dictionary for the IPhone. At 323MB it’s rather large, but you can copy & paste your word or text into it, making it easy to make a Japanese Google search, for example. You can also draw the Japanese character into it, and the application will translate it for you.

Japanese translator is a great free app (paid upgrades available). Convenient and easy to use. The only drawback – you can only do 15 translations a day on it.

EATING OUT

TeePee is an application for finding restaurants, bars, hotels and onsen. Costing $ 0.99, it is highly recommend.

Gurunavi is a great free guide to restaurants near where you are, serving whatever cuisine you specify. Be aware, though, that (foreign) restaurant names will be shown in the way the Japanese pronounce them!

TABIMORI

And lastly the ultimate: “Tabimori – Travel Amulet“. This app does practically everything for the visitor to Japan, and all for free! For iOS and Android. It contains:

– transfer guide
– guide to Wifi facilities and hotspots
– currency converter
– flight information
– speech translation
– weather
– life & culture
– japan-guide.com information

People who use it can’t believe how much functionality and information you get. Many of the functions can be used offline too, for added economy and convenience.