Tuned in Tokyo: 10 Essential Apps for Tokyoites

Whether you want to stay up to date on the latest news or see what the city has to offer, here are the best apps every Tokyoite should have.

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Love it or hate it, one of the most common phrases you hear these days to solve any problem you may have is — worry not, “there’s an app for that.”

With the flick of a finger you can find a delicious restaurant that suits your style, read the Japanese menu hassle-free and follow it up with a spontaneous trip to a nearby onsen before heading to the best night out in Tokyo. Sound good? We checked in with the developers of six apps that will help you dip into Japanese culture, and the life and soul of Tokyo, all from the convenience of your smartphone’s screen.

1. Tokyo Weekender

Did you know that Tokyo Weekender has its very own app? If you’ve decided to jump off the social media bandwagon and make the switch to digital minimalism, this is the perfect way to keep up with what’s going on in Tokyo, from the latest events to our newest interviews and guides. In other words, stay connected to the capital. iOS

2. Japan Taxi

While it’s safe to assume most of us get around via Tokyo’s complicated train system, every now and again, you might need to hail a cab. Standing on the sidewalk can take a long time depending on your location, and then you might have some trouble asking the driver where you want to go. Japan Taxi helps avoid long waiting times outside and takes away the anxiety of trying to clearly communicate. Everything from entering a pick-up point to billing can be done within the app for the smoothest taxi ride around town. iOSAndroid

3. Tokyo Sento Map

Developed by an onsen-lover for onsen-lovers, this app locates your nearest bathing spot in Tokyo in three seconds. It’s also the only Onsen app that allows you to mark those that you’ve already visited, taken from personal experience of using a traditional Onsen pilgrimage stamp book. iOS

4. Disaster Preparedness Tokyo

Disaster preparedness isn’t to be taken likely in Japan. With long typhoon seasons and earthquakes all year long, one can never be too prepared to evacuate suddenly. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government released the Disaster Preparedness Tokyo App to help residents be ready for any kind of emergency. Through the app, keep track of emergency supplies, hazard maps and more with great multilingual support. iOSAndroid

5. 72 Seasons

Traditionally, Japan is said to have not four, but 72 seasons. This app lets you explore all of them through detailed explanations of seasonal plants, haiku and more. All the info within this app is to be read like an emaki, so don’t scroll down, swipe left! iOSAndroid

6. RamenDays

For fans of ramen out there, there’s, of course, an app for that. RamenDays (or 毎日ラーメン in Japanese) is the only way to track your journey into the Japanese noodles culinary universe. Find, track and revisit your favorite ramen-ya in Tokyo. Needless to say, this one is for dedicated ramen fans. iOSAndroid

7. MyMizu

We wrote about MyMizu in late 2019 and we’re happy to share it here again. As more and more people are packing their reusable water bottles on their Tokyo outings, MyMizu took it upon itself to provide a handy app to easily find water refill stations around the city. More and more places are being added every day, and if you know a spot that offers free water refills, add it to the list. iOSAndroid

8. Imiwa?

Whether you’ve just started learning Japanese or have been living in Japan for 10-plus years, it doesn’t hurt to carry a dictionary in your pocket. Imiwa? works offline and pulls definitions and examples from well-trusted Japanese language resources. Users can search from English or from Japanese. There also hand-drawn and kanji radical search functions if you don’t remember how to read a kanji or encounter a new one. iOSAndroid

9. Pokke

Whether you plan to visit Japan or are planning your next trip outside the city, consider downloading the Pokke app. With tons of tours available on your device, visit Yokohama, Kusatsu or Osaka at your own pace, most of which are free of charge. You might be thinking about taking advantage of the Go-To Travel campaign and are wondering where to go, let Pokke inspire you. iOSAndroid

10. Sakenomy

For Tokyoites who are looking to get deeper into the sake world, there is Sakenomy. Log, rate and search for your next sake love. Got a delicious recommendation at a restaurant, make sure to write it down to pick it up at your next trip to the liquor store. iOSAndroid


This article was originally published in 2014. It was last updated with our latest recommendations in November 2020.

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