From a currency-exchange calculator to a navigation tool, there are plenty of apps to consider downloading before you board a flight to Japan — with more popping up every day. With smartphone in hand, you can move seamlessly between places, removing language barriers along the way (thank you, translation app!).

Below are some top picks that make a visit all the more enriching, rewarding and stress-free.

Ramen Beast

Vice famously called this “the first app in English that gets under the skin of Tokyo’s ramen scene.” The app was created by three noodle nerds who wanted to share the various styles of ramen, traditional and innovative alike, available throughout the city. You’ll need it if you plan to dedicate time to sampling some of the world’s best noodles and broth, since there are more than 10,000 ramen shops in Tokyo alone.

Download it here.

Ecbo Cloak

If you want to cram in a few hours of sightseeing — say, before your hotel is ready for you to check in, or between your checkout time and your flight back home — use this app to find a participating store that will hold your luggage for you while you wander the city. Reserve space and pay using the app, with prices maxing out at about US$7 per day. Not bad for a few hours of freedom without lugging your suitcase.

Download it here.


For fast, real-time exchange rates, download the app version of XE. Along with quick, straightforward dollars-to-yen calculations, the app allows you to monitor exchange rates to stay on top of fluctuations, as well as transfer money. You can even set rate alerts and notifications if you’re waiting for prices to move in your direction ahead of a shopping spree.

Download it here.

Learn Japanese – Phrasebook for Travel in Japan

The name might not be elegant, but the interface of this app certainly is. Whether you’re visiting Japan for business or pleasure, this tool helps you master basic phrases. Spend a few dollars in-app for simple, instructive lessons that help with pronunciation.

Download it here.

Travel Japan Wi-Fi
The struggle to find free wi-fi and get online is as real in Japan as anywhere else. Use this app to locate and access hotspots without signing up with a local carrier.

Download it here.

Tokyo Subway Navigation

Wondering where to find the closest Tokyo subway station and how long it takes to get to your destination? This free app gets the job done, noting ticket costs and even recommending the closest station exit for the quickest route.

Download it here.

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