Top 16 Phone Apps for Your Japan Trip

Top 16 Phone Apps for Your Japan Trip

If you are reading this article I expect that you have already completed booking your trip to Japan and are in the final stages of thinking about what you need to pack for your trip to Japan and you are trying to work out the best applications to load onto your smart or cell phone for your trip.  Here is my quick summary of the top 16 smart or cell phone apps to help you to be prepared for your trip to Japan.

Check out my Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group – you are welcome to join and it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Japan!

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Recommended Phone SIM Card and Pocket Wifi for Japan

A key point is that to use the apps on your smart or cell phone while in Japan that you will therefore need access to data :).  For most people the best cost effective option is to rent either a SIM Card or pocket Wifi device for your time in Japan.

My recommended online website to pre-order a rental of both SIM and pocket Wifi devices is via the reputable Klook website with options as follows:

  • For arriving in Tokyo, click on this link to check out the prices for the different Wifi and Sim hire options available for pickup from either Haneda (HND) or Narita (NRT) airport, plus a select range of alternative pick up points.
  • For arriving in Osaka, click this link to check out the prices for the different Wifi and Sim hire options available for pickup from Kansai International Airport (KIX), plus a select range of alternative pickup points.

The hire package will include a pre-addressed and pre-paid mail satchel which you can post at the airport as you depart.

Best Smart or Cell Phone Apps for Your Trip to Japan

My recommended apps for your trip to Japan are detailed below.  I strongly recommend that you check them out and download them before you depart on your trip to Japan so they are ready to go on arrival :).

1.  Google Maps

You may not realise that Japanese addresses are totally incomprehensible for non-Japanese to decipher. However, you will be happy to know that Google Maps is a great tool to help you get around.  I did not trust it initially but each time I thought it must be wrong I was subsequently proved that it was correct.

You can also use Google Maps to help you with public transport routes in Japan.

Google Maps App – AndroidiOS

2. Google Translate

Google Translate is a great tool to help you to easily translate from Japanese to your language.

Google Translate App – AndroidiOS

3. Accommodation Provider Apps

Your accommodation provider should have an app – load it up and log into your account and it should also be able to help you find your accommodation options via a mapping tool, and facilitate messaging between you and the accommodation provider.  My recommended accommodation booking sites and apps for Japan include Booking.com and AirBnB.

Booking.com App

AirBnB App – AndroidiOS

4. Japan Trains or Hyperdia

You definitely need an app to help you get around on the Japan public transport systems, for both intra and inter city travel.  The Hyperdia app comes for iOS and in Android for some countries at a price and the Japan Trains app comes in Android (but not iOS) – and is free (and works very well, so personally I would just download the Japan Trains app…).

Japan Trains App – Android

Hyperdia –  iOS

5. XE Currency

the XE Currency app is a great tool to enable you to convert prices in Japanese Yen into your home currency so that you better understand the real price of things.

XE Currency App – AndroidiOS

6. Tripit

I use Tripit extensively to manage and provide easy access to trip information and itineraries. The great thing about Tripit is that you link it to a Gmail account, and whenever a trip booking is sent to that email address it automatically loads that information into the app.  There is a free version which is great, and if you purchase the Pro version it will also notify you of flight changes.

Tripit App – AndroidiOS

7. Gmail

I have my main Gmail email account set up on my cell phone which I used to make all of our trip bookings. As a result I had easy access to all booking information and our providers were able to email me with any questions or changes.

Gmail App – AndroidiOS

8. Whatsapp Messenger

Whatsapp messenger is great for instant messaging and sharing photos with both your travel companions and also family and friends at home. You can set up separate groups for each to enable messaging to go to the right people.  I have also used to do do video calls back to home  😎 .

Whatsapp App – AndroidiOS

9. Your Preferred Social Media

My major social media is Facebook so as we travelled I periodically shared photos with my family and friends, and also used Facebook to stay in touch.  Ensure that you have your preferred social media app loaded onto your smart phone.

10. Camera

I use my cell phone camera extensively to take photos while I travel. Ensure that you clear out your phone memory before you depart to ensure that you have space for your new photos.

11. Dropbox

I don’t want to lose all of my photos and phone data so I have the Dropbox app on my cell phone, and it automatically uploads my photos to my account when there is wifi access and the phone is plugged into power. That means that if I lose or damage my phone that I won’t lose my precious photos.

Dropbox App – AndroidiOS

12. Chrome or Internet

I use the internet extensively to research information both before and while I am on any trip. I look up attractions information – including opening times, location, cost, etc.  I also keep track of the news, weather etc.

13. Disneyland or WaitTimes TDR – Tokyo Disney Resorts

If you are planning to visit either the Disneyland or Disneysea resorts then download the WaitTimes TDR app before you go to provide current wait time and Fast Pass information.  Note that you cannot purchase a Fast Pass, you have to get them at each ride once you are in the park.  The best option to pre-purchase your tickets to Disneyland and Disneysea Tokyo are through the Klook website.

WaitTimes TDR App – AndroidiOS

14. Waiting Time for USJ

If you plan to visit Universal Studios Japan then I definitely recommend that you download the Waiting Time for USJ app to obtain waiting times etc.

If you want to skip the queue at USJ you need to pre-purchase both a standard entry ticket and an Express Pass – the Express Passes regualrly sell out prior to the day of entry.  To purchase your tickets and Express passes please check out my article on How to Buy Universal Studios Japan Online Tickets and Express Passes.

Waiting Time for USJ App – AndroidiOS

15. Entertainment

I also load my cell phone with entertainment – for me that means my Kindle account, videos, music and games to while away time as required. Ensure you have loaded your favorite entertainment before you depart.

16. Earthquake Early Warning App

The Japan National Tourism Organisation has developed an app for visitors who speak English to receive early warning for earthquakes and tsunamis, which also includes communications cards. It is available for both Android and iOS.  Note that you will need data access to make this app function during your visit.

Top 16 Phone Apps for Your Japan Trip

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

This a final reminder to check out my Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group – you are welcome to join and it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Japan!

You may also like to check out my related article – The Ultimate List of What to Pack for Japan and Tokyo.

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