If you’re planning a trip to Japan and you don’t plan to stand in the same spot for your entire trip you need to read this article. Japan’s transportation system is complex & lacking in street signs but with the right app(s) and your sturdy smartphone it’s a challenge you will happily accept!
Contenders for Best APP
Google Maps– already a winner in one category. You need Google Maps for finding locations the moment you exit the subway or disembark from your train but this global giant has local competition for navigating Japan’s public transport system. Is it up to the task?
Hyperdia– Do a quick search for Japan’s Best Apps and Hyperdia gets all the plaudits for route planning & timetable information for public transportation. A quick look at the web version may give you a quick insight into its weaknesses however- Web Version
Available for both iOS (1 month free / $2.99 a month after) and Android (free).
Japan Transit Planner– The most downloaded app in Japan. Since October 2017 is free to both for Android/iPhone users. This app plans your trips and also offers a web version giving you an opportunity to take a test drive before arriving in Japan- Web Version
The APP Results
To navigate Japan the newly crowned champion app for 2018 is “Japan Transit Planner”. Followed in a close race by the global colossus that is Google Maps. Having led the field for years Hyperdia gets a consolation bronze medal but is far off the leading pack in terms of design & user experience.
Take Our Advice
We recommend you use Japan Transit Planner when on the move – trains, planes or automobiles- and switch to Google Maps when you take off on foot. Here’s a simple chart explaining our reasons why!