Traveling to Japan or living in Japan and looking for some good mobile apps and to make your trip/life easier?
The mobile applications below can quite useful, whether you are planning on checking the cinema or train schedule, checking out the best places to eat and sight-see or just wanting to contact your friends and see what they’re up to.
I’ve been living in Japan for more than 5 years now and here are my top recommendations:
If you have Japanese friends, you will most likely know that many use Line to contact each other and applications like Whatsapp, and even Facebook are not that popular here. Nowadays, Japanese people are gradually starting to use Facebook, too, but at least, from what I’ve noticed, as a means of communication, Line is the most used application for contacting your friends in Japan. Making an account is easy and free and all you need to do is download the app, write your number and find yourself a cool ID.
After you can add your friends either by QR code, phone number or ID and you’re done! Line has very cute stamps, points, news, coupons and lots of interesting options so it is a very convenient application to have. However, the stickers and some options might differ depending on the region, so is good to keep that in mind.
If you come to Japan or have lived here for a while, you’d know there are quite a few earthquakes (well, maybe except for Hirosaki where there are rarely any!). In case anything happens, Yurekuru notifies you a few seconds before and you can also see what you should do in case of emergency. When you open the application, there is a map and it shows all the earthquakes that happened during the day. I find it very useful and reassuring, so would be a good idea to download it!
3. Google Maps
Most of you are probably using it already, but I thought it would be nice mentioning it anyway. Google Maps is my savior as I am very bad with directions and rely on it on a daily basis. Another app that I use and I find quite accurate is Waze, but compared to Google Maps, Waze is basically for drives. So, if you have a license or planning on renting a car while here, I recommend trying to use Waze, too, and see which one works better for you.
Japan can be super confusing when it comes to trains, but HyperDia always saved me from trouble! As I know Japanese, too, I have been using 乗換案内 (norikae annai), the Japan transit planner. You can try out both and see which is easier to use.
5. Bus Navitime
I am using this application to check out the bus schedule and I highly recommend it if you normally use a bus while here.
Looking for places to sightsee or a restaurant to eat? Yelp is the solution! I’ve been using it a lot on my trips and I find it very informative, too! For those of you who are vegan, I also recommend trying out Happy Cow! It is easy to use, free and has lots of plant-based or gluten-free healthy choices.
7. Visit a City
Another application good for trips is "Visit a city". You can use it offline, create your travel guide and it is super useful!
If you are looking for more local spots, I recommend Showaround. This application allows you to find a local guide that will show you around the city! Pretty cool, right? Not only you can see what's popular between the locals, but you also get to interact with the people and make friends that way.
If you need to quickly print something, I recommend downloading the print smash application and going to any convenience store nearby. If you have the application, it’s really easy to print out photos and you’ll be done in no time.
Want to learn Japanese so you can be able to ask for directions or simply show your gratitude to the old lady that helped you get to the train station? Then, I recommend trying out Duolingo. For Japanese studying or translating, I also recommend imiwa and Google translate!
11. Eiga Rando （映画ランド/Movie Land）
If you want to see a movie in Japan, this application shows you the cinemas, hours, reviews and all the movies available, so if you love going to the cinema, as I do, it’s a must-have!
12. TDR Alert
For Disney lovers, TDR Alert is very useful when planning a trip to Tokyo Disneyland. You can check how long you need to wait for the attractions, see the map, see what attractions are closed and when you can get a fast pass. There is park information, parade, attractions, restaurants and greeting information available, so it’s good to have!
These are my top 12 mobile apps that will hopefully, make your trip easier.
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