Top 16 Phone Apps for Your Japan Trip (plus Bonus Apps!)

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.  Over time I have updated this article to include more apps so you have some bonus apps to consider!

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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.

We have put together the following a detailed articles to help you find the best pocket wifi or Sim card for your trip to Japan:

If you are also travelling to South Korea you should also check out my article on the Best Sim Card in Korea for Tourists.

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

An alternative map option is at – you can download the map for Japan and then use it offline during your visit.  Check out the website for more information and to download the app.

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 and AirBnB. 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 AppAndroid,  Hyperdia –  iOS

An alternative train app to check out is the Japan Travel – route, map, JR app – it has a great option to help you search for train routes which are covered by Japan Rail Passes.  Click here to see the details of the Android version and click here to see the iOS version.

For more information about booking your Japan Rail Pass check out my article at this link.

To pre-book point to point shinkansen tickets between Hiroshima, Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo you should also download the Tokaido Sanyo Shinkansen smartEX App.  This app enables you to register and then book tickets for the shinkansen bullet trains on this route.  This app cannot be used for Japan Rail Pass holders.

smartEX AppAndroidiOS

Another train app to check out is the Suica and IC Card reader app (Android only) – you can tap your card on your phone to see your credit balance and to track your expenses for both trains and other purchases.

Suica and IC Card reader appAndroid

Click here to pre-order a Suica Card through Voyagin, note that you can also purchase them from most stations, and for child passes for children aged up to 12 years old you need to go to the counter to purchase and show your child’s passport, this enables them to get a child Suica card where you pay 50% of the adult fares.

5. Klook App

A great option to book all of your Japan tickets and tours is through Klook – they have a wide range of options at cost effective prices.  A great feature of Klook is that they have an app you can use on your phone, and once you have set up your account you will have all of your bookings easily at hand (and most of their products are set up with electronic vouchers), and  you can also make new bookings on the go.

They have a streamlined system to manage your bookings, and you also get loyalty discounts the more you book through them.  You can set up your Klook account both on a desktop/laptop and the mobile app and they all synchronise seamlessly.

Klook App – AndroidiOS – Desktop

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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  😎 . 

Make sure you set up Whatsapp and activate at home before departing, as you need to be able to receive an activation code using your phone number – and if you plan to purchase a pre-paid sim card for use in Japan you will not have an activation code option.

Whatsapp App – AndroidiOS

10. 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.

11. 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, and also purchase a new large micro sim card to store your photos.

12. Dropbox or Google Drive

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

If you prefer to use Google Drive you can also set it up to automatically back up your photos and videos.  This article has more information on how to set it up to automatically back up.

13. 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.

14. 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

15. 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

16. 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.

17. Bonus App!  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.

18. Bonus App!  How to Read Shopping and Pharmacy Labels in Japan

A common issue for non-Japanese speakers in Japan is to have trouble reading the labels for products.  A new app called Payke will enable you to scan the barcode of the product with your phone to receive information about that product in either Japanese, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, English or Korean.  

Payke App – AndroidiOS

19. Bonus App!  How to Find a Multi Lingual Doctor in Japan

If you do need to see a doctor, we do recommend that you first contact your travel insurance provider as they can also assist to find a doctor and make an appointment, and also to get you there.  Our recommended travel insurance provider is World Nomads, who provide coverage for residents of over 150 countries around the world.  Click on this link to check out the pricing and to lock in your insurance.

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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.