5 Best Apps for Japan


Japan can be quite a tricky place to get yourself accustomed to. Luckily there are some smartphone apps that at least makes things a lot easier. Here’s a list of some apps you should really consider downloading for your time in Japan.

1. Line



If you only get one app from this list let it be this one.

No Line = No Life

Line is a free messenger app that is ubiquitous in Japan. Everyone uses it and I mean everyone, young and old. You can make free calls and texts using Line, you can either search for your friends by username, scan their QR-code or use Line’s “shake” function to add friends.

By far the greatest thing about Line is their stickers. They have hundreds of them, one for every emotion or thought imaginable. With tonnes of famous characters. You can have whole conversations just using stickers. It’s addictive. Many come for free but you can also buy more and trust me you will want to.






Maps.Me is a very useful map app. Although everyones used to using apps like Google Maps and Apples Maps what makes Maps.Me useful is that it an offline app. Meaning you don’t need wifi or mobile data to use it. For useful for situations where you find yourself lost without any internet service. Especially for when you haven’t got a Japanese number yet.





Yomiwa is an app that can instantaneously translate Japanese to English using your camera. It’s not free but it’s so useful I just had to include it. Even as an advanced Japanese speaker you will come across kanji you can’t recognize. Yomiwa is there to rescue you. It pays for itself as you won’t be making mistakes ordering the wrong thing or getting on the wrong train.





I include two because although Anki is my favourite and free on Android and on PC/Mac but for some strange reason it’s $25 on iPhone! So Anki and Memrise use flashcards to help you effectively remember lists. They are both based on scientific studies into how to remember new things most effectively. Most important for Japan as you’ll be faced with three writing scripts, Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji as well as new words for everything. Meaning you will have a lot of things you will need to remember. With anki you can create lists yourself or use pre-made ones. Not enough by themselves for learning Japanese but by far the best way to keep up your vocabulary.






Navitime is a free app that lists transportation times and routes. On planes, trains and buses. By price or speed. The only drawback is that it is Japanese but even a beginner can learn how to navigate its interface with the help of translation and just using it enough. By far the most reliable and accurate app for checking departure times, routes and prices.



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