This Handy Phone App Can Help You Navigate Japan Efficiently

Make your way through Japan's advanced transportation system with ease.

Finding your way around a foreign country can be difficult. Luckily, with Japan’s advanced and efficient transportation system, you can basically go anywhere you want—that is, if you know how. Nowadays there are many phone apps that make navigating easier and one of them is
Google Maps. In this article, we’ll show you how to navigate the streets of Japan by using this app.

Let’s say you want to go from Akihabara Station
 to Tokyo Skytree

Input your starting point and your end destination. 
When you tap the arrow beside the search bar on the app, it will change to a route-type as seen below. 

©2018 Google LLC, used with permission. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC.

There are four icons under the location boxes. The car icon, which is used when you travel by car; the train icon, when you are travelling by public transport (bus or train); the person icon, which is used when you want to travel on foot; and the waving person icon, when you want to take a taxi. Since we are focusing on public transport, try tapping on the second icon. 

When Taking Public Transport
Upon tapping the icon, you will be presented with different options. Here is what a train route would look like. 

©2018 Google LLC, used with permission. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC.

You can see (1) which train station, (2) which line to take, (3) which type of train to take, (4) which platform to take your train on, (5) which train station to transfer to, (6) how many stops it takes, (7) what time you will reach your stop, and if you need to walk to your destination, (8) the distance and approximate time to that as well. In Japan, a local train stops at every station, while semi-rapid, rapid, or express skips several stations. So make sure you take note what type of train to get on.

Sometimes you will also be presented with a train-bus, or bus-only option. Here is what it would look like:

©2018 Google LLC, used with permission. Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google LLC.

While it looks very similar to the train only route, what makes the bus route different is that there is a name (usually a
kanji character or two) plus a bus number. Make sure to look for both, because buses with the same kanji but different numbers have different routes. Also, different buses go to different bus stops outside the station and if you are not sure, simply ask the police box (koban) or the train station staff and they will let you know the correct bus stop to go to. 


However, take note that with some phones, the “public transport” option is only set to trains, so if you wish to look at bus route options, make sure to enable it under the Settings tab or the app.

Of course, to use Google Maps, you would need internet access in the first place. Luckily, Japan has several WiFi hotspots around. Or you can also use the various sim card options to access data while you’re in the city.

Good luck and happy exploring!

 (29 July 2019)

More stories

How do you feel about this article?

Total votes
View more stories tagged ""

Read more stories about


Latest Stories

Load More Stories