Traveling in Japan: Best Apps for Visitors and Tourists


Traveling in Japan can be overwhelming for both new and frequent visitors. Luckily, there are plenty of apps that will address your tourist needs from communication, transportation, accommodation reservations and bookings, and restaurants finder. 


Google Translate

Google Translate is undeniably one of the best translators apps available, offering numerous nifty features even without an internet connection. Just make sure to pre-download the languages before heading out.

  • Text translation - This app is best for translating English words to Japanese

  • Image translation - Handwriting can also be used for trying to figure out Japanese characters on street signs or public places while camera mode renders Japanese words into English by taking a photo of the Japanese characters

  • Voice translation - allows you to translate instantly from English to Japanese, but this requires internet connection.


Yomiwa is your present-day dictionary, translator, and image recognizer in one! Converting an image into words in a fraction of seconds. 

  • Text translation - Has a useful features such as the text analyzer

  • Image translation - Has a quick offline app that utilizes advanced optical technology, which can easily identify Japanese characters

  • Voice translation - This app has a "Speak" function that allows you to hear the pronunciation of a Japanese word


Imiwa? is a free electronic dictionary app for those who want to learn Japanese on their own. It offers extensive entries in English, German, French, and Russian as well.

  • Text translation - This app helps its users understand words by putting them in context and giving example sentences and phrases, even if you are not connected to the internet

  • Image translation - It has a separate feature called "QR Magic" which captures text images from your computer and sends it to the Imiwa? server for text conversion

  • Voice translation - As long as you are connected to the internet, you can use the "iSpeech" to incorporate voice in many languages including Japanese

Transportation and Navigation

Google Map

This app is very reliable in providing train navigation instructions with accurate timing while traveling in Japan. Users can save maps offline or use the "Offline Maps" section of the menu. Just make sure you download the map first to be able to navigate without a data connection. What's great about this app is it also allows users to customize their maps by pinning places on the map or so-called My Maps, which can be shared with other users. This is very convenient for planning trips beforehand.

  • Connectivity: Available offline

  • Price: Free 


One of the essentials for Japan's transportation, offering information about Japan's rail systems' timetables and routes.

Whether you're traveling with a Japan Rail Pass (a rail pass for overseas visitors) or you're purchasing rail tickets per station, this app will give you accurate departure and arrival times, fares, number of route transfers, train types, and seat fees. Cool, right? Though HyperDia is a paid app, it's free to use on web browsers. 

  • Connectivity: Requires internet to use

  • Price: Paid app, best to check official site for the latest price


An app that can help foreigners and tourists get around transportation for complex cities like Tokyo. This app allows users to utilize its offline map, which shows key locations and multiple routes options, displays areas with public wi-fi hotspots, ATMs, and train stations. It even features articles and itineraries to make touring more convenient, and users plan their own trips by recommending tourist spots and giving estimated time and costs. Excellent use for time constraints travelers!

  • Connectivity: Available offline

  • Price: Yearly subscription is needed, best to check official site for the plan price updates

Tokyo Subway Navigation

This is a user-friendly app that mainly focuses on the Tokyo train system, giving information on the fare prices, recommends stations on the go, arrival and departure of the train, and suggests famous landmarks within the area, among other things. It is available also in Chinese, Korean, Thai, Spanish, and others. And do not worry about connectivity - this app recommends or displays which stations offer free Wi-Fi service.

  • Connectivity: Available offline

  • Price: Free

Japan Transit Planner – Norikae Annai

A multilingual app that does routing for trains and planes too! It filters routes available to search routes of domestic railways for JR Pass holders, route to transfer by railway or planes, picks reserved seats, shows price range, and displays average travel time. Users can also share search results via email or calendar. It also has a "History" function, which saves previous travel logs automatically and is available offline. 

  • Connectivity: Available offline

  • Price: Paid login, best to check official site for the latest price


An app operated by Tokyo Hire-Taxi Association, allows users to book an available closest taxi within your location while traveling around Tokyo’s 23 wards, especially in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. This app does not require talking to an operator to assign a pickup location. Simply use the map and GPS to book. For additional ease, regular pickup points can be registered as a "favorite" to save time on booking.  While waiting for your taxi to arrive, users can track the taxi's route on the map to know how long the waiting time is. To add, registration is not required. The app can be used as soon as downloaded on your phone. 

  • Connectivity: Available offline, uses GPS tracker 

  • Price: Free 

Accommodation and Restaurant Hunting


Tripadvisor is a staple for traveling. It offers multitudes of information for just about everything you would want to know about the area and how to get there. It can also be used for looking into accommodations.

Tripadvisor gives you information basically on what to do in Japan with photos based on reviews of TripAdvisor user’s experience on hotels, tourist spots, restaurants to dine, destination guides, and even flights.

  • Connectivity: Requires internet to use, the new offline feature allow to download the information and you can access the info even if you are offline

  • Price: Free

Rakuten Travel

Rakuten Travel is the largest online booking platform for hotels in Japan. When looking for accommodation in Japan, give this app a try. Their website is a marketplace that offers best deals to thousands of accommodation options throughout Japan. You can even find traditional Japanese-style accommodations as well. Rakuten Travel has several additional services such as online car rentals. It also has special features and articles showcasing Japan's upcoming events to help tourists figure out where to go and what to do.

  • Connectivity: Requires internet to use

  • Price: Free

Sushi Dictionary: A translator dedicated to understanding menus.

Sushi dictionary helps with interpretations of sushi options available in most Japanese restaurants, allowing its users to understand the menu. To add, it has a good list of Japanese food terms, including a complete fish and seafood glossary, as well as preparation options.

  • Connectivity: Requires internet to use

  • Price: Free for a limited time, best to check official site for the latest price 


GuruNavi is known as Japan's Gourmet Navigator, and has helped restaurants all over Japan through its digital online service, sales promotions, and management support. It provides information and recommendations of the local-favorite restaurants in Japan, grouped based on the popularity of its area and cuisine. Their "Menu" section provides information regarding the type of cuisine, ingredients and cooking methods. Reservations can also be made thru GuruNavi. This allows users to select their menu and pay in advance, eliminating the hassle for first-time visitors. Sadly, GuruNavi does not have apps available in English, but the mobile friendly website gives you the same information and access to whatever you are craving.

  • Connectivity: Requires internet to use

  • Price: Free 


Modern technology has changed the way we live life in general. Long gone are the days when we need to have a map handy to go from one place to another, or when we had to do a lot of researching and asking around before we could find where to eat and what to do.

Nowadays, almost all of the information we need for traveling anywhere in the world is in the palm of our hands, and traveling in Japan has never been this easy. Numerous apps for communication, traveling, navigation, accommodation, and dining are available for your convenience.

There is no need for frustration if you are planning to explore the wonders of Japan. Who knows? Starting the best trip of your life might just be a click away.

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