top of page
suite cases being loaded to a cart at the airport

Useful Tips & Apps

Search Topics:

Icon Key:

The red dot signifies a Japanese-exclusive link that provides valuable information. 

Showing where to find medications and wha to do in emergency situations in Japan.
Sign to escape to a safe place from Tsunami
Useful Tip Phone Charging, a man having a phone with no battery life left
family seal called Kamon

Useful Tips & Apps

Cell phone.jpg

First-Time Visitors & Visitors with a Reentry Permit

“Visit Japan Web” is a service that assists international visitors in processing immigration and customs procedures. Visit Japan Web is a Digital Agency service created by the central government. You can download the instruction manual for more details. 

If you’re flying into Haneda Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport, Kansai International Airport, or Fukuoka Airport, download the MySOS app and take advantage of the Fast Trac service to expedite the steps by pre-registering for airport quarantine procedures. It’s currently under trial operation and will expand the service to other airports soon.

Answering Questions about your Trip to Japan

First-time visitors & the visitors with a reentry permit
Answering Questions about your Trip to Japan

If you’re visiting Japan for the first time, you may have general questions about your stay, such as: can I drink tap water in Japan? Do I need a visa to visit Japan? How do the voltage, electric outlets, and WiFi connections work? You can find the answers to all of this and more here from the websites below.

Transportation Information

Transportation Information

In a nutshell, to get around in Japan, public transportation is the most convenient and economical. They are safe, clean, and reliable. Get the unique electric cards issued by the major railway companies (Suica, Pasmo, etc.), which can be used for many trains and busses even when they’re not issued by the particular railway company you’re riding. It is indeed a big time saver because you can avoid complicated ticket vending machines. You slip the card into the gate machine to enter, and it automatically deducts the fare from your card. You can even go shopping with it at convenience stores and many other retail stores. Some give you a discount, too. 

Recommended Resources

Transportation Passes

The Tokyo Metro pass offers unlimited Tokyo Metro subway passes for 24, 48, 72 hours. Here are some of the electric cards for trains. 


For long-distance travel, many International travelers use JR Pass. It can be super economical, depending on your itinerary.  If you’re not stopping at many spots along the way and are going away to a ski resort or hot springs, taking long-distance buses is the most economical. There are some luxurious overnight buses like Dream Sleeper. If you want to take a bus trip in style, you can try Reborn

Taxis are generally expensive, but Eco Taxi in Tokyo may be a viable option if traveling with one or more travel companions. It can be the same or even cheaper than taking a train. They have the lowest basic fare in the Greater Tokyo area. There are approximately 400 Eco taxis available in the Tokyo area. Their website and app are all in Japanese, but you can catch them on the street or have your hotel clerk call them and make a reservation for you.


Another service to consider is GO TAXI. Once you arrive in Japan, you can enter your information and sign up for the service.  The pass works exactly like Uber or Lyft.  You enter your destination and pay via the app. It comes in handy when you're in an area where it's hard to find tax cabs on the street.


As for JR PASS, if you are traveling only within a certain region, purchasing a regional JR pass would be more economical.

Train Ticket Map.jpg

Taking a train or even a cab can be challenging if you have oversized luggage, but no worries, some trains allow you to easily travel with your large luggage and door-to-door delivery services that will transport your baggage at a low cost.

Recommended Resources

  • Japan National Tourism Organization

  • Japan-Guide 

  • Traveling in Japan Must-Know tips and Hacks/luggage: check out Kencho Quest videos about traveling with luggage in Japan. I often use "takuhai" delivery service when I travel around the country in Japan.


Medical & Emergency Information

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) has very thorough and helpful information about what to do if you need medical attention in Japan.  They also have a PDF form that you can print out, fill out ahead of time, and carry with you. You must have international travel medical insurance. Your credit card company may offer automatic travel insurance, but their medical coverage isn’t enough. Also, some insurance policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions. Be sure to check out the policy beforehand.

Medical & Emergency Services in English

Recommended Resources for Medical Services in English

  • AMDA Medical Information Center: is a Non-profit organization that helps you with information on hospitals explains Japan’s health care system, and provides telephone interpreting 

  • Himawari (Tokyo Metropolitan Medical Institution Information), is a government of Tokyo service that helps you find hospitals, explains Japan’s health care system, and provides emergency translation and interpreting services. You can also download their app.

  • TELL Lifeline is free anonymous, confidential telephone counseling psychological/mental health services in English.

  • Japan Healthcare Info (JHI) Finds you English-speaking doctors and can make medical appointments with fees

  • Payke is a helpful app that shows you the item's product information you can in your language. It comes in handy when you’re looking for over-the-counter medicine in a pharmacy. 

Recommended Resources a list of embassies for emergency/importing medications

Japan National Tourism Organization has excellent safety tips for emergencies like earthquakes and other natural disasters. They have helpful emergency communication cards  in English/Japanese. With them, you can ask where to evacuate, how to inform somebody injured, etc. If you’re in a big city when a major earthquake hits, try to find the newest and most significant high-rise building nearby. The management personnel in such facilities are well-trained for disasters. Usually, they have all the emergency kits, including meals that can be fed to thousands of people for a few days. 


If you need to bring your medication, check the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare site. If you have any questions, you can e-mail them ahead of time. The e-mail addresses are listed on their site. You can also check with your country’s embassy in Japan. Look at the section “Importing Medication.”

Communication Assistance

If you need to communicate well in Japan to discuss your needs during your travel, you can use various translation apps or purchase or rent a small translation device. I recommend PockeTalk . It can be used practically in 128 countries and translates 74 languages into your native tongue without Wi-Fi service. This small AI device is widely used in Japan, such as emergency rooms, hospitals, schools, and hotels. 

If your phone has eSIM and only needs a good Internet connection, you can rent a portable Wi-Fi device. You can read more about it on the Invisible Tourist page.

If you have a physical SIM in  your phone and prefer to get a SIM card in Japan, check out this video and learn where you can get one:


You can rent Poketalk and pocket WiFi (a portable router) at the places below 


Pick-up/delivery and return for these devices are super easy. You can pick them up at the airport or have them delivered to your hotel beforehand. When you return, just place the device into the provided envelope and hand it to your hotel clerk or in a red mailbox nearby. 


Omotenashi Guide is a sound support system that helps you understand announcements by translating them into your language. Download the app from the App Store or Good Play.If you need a translation service to speak to your travel agency or hotel in Japan, you can use an over-the-phone translation service like these companies: (Some of them can also translate e-mails)

Communication tools & services

Charging stations for your phone and pocket WiFi

If you need to charge your devices, you can often find charging stations or electric outlets in the following places: Starbucks, McDonalds, Don Quixote stores, Karaoke places, Pachinko stores, cell phone stores such as Docomo, AU, or SoftBank (ask store attendants), some convenience stores, Net cafes, or Manga cafes. In some large electric appliance stores, you can charge your phone for a fee. You can purchase a portable battery at any convenience store (Family Mart, Lawson, 7-11, etc.) and large electric appliance stores (Bic Camera, Sakuraya, Yodobashi, etc.)

Charging stations for your phones and devices
Purchasing tickets for events, theaters, and museums

Purchasing Tickets for events, theaters, museums, etc.

Klook and Voyagin's websites are popular. You can purchase tickets to museums, theme parks, sports games. Many tourist spots have English websites, too. So before you buy, compare the prices.

Useful Apps


You scan the barcode of the item you’re interested in, and it will display the product information in your language.

Translation Apps


Navigation Apps

I like Apple Maps, which gives detailed information, such as which exit to take from your subway station when you get off your train. Large train stations usually have multiple entrances and exits, so the exit information is handy. Some people like Google Maps, NAVITIME, and MapMe, which are also helpful.


Emergency-Related Apps

The Japan National Tourism Organization has a list of emergency apps here.

Tokyo Disaster Prevention Information has the latest information on disasters, infectious diseases, and other emergency info for the Tokyo area. You can download their apps here.

MySOS stores medical information, contacts the medical emergency providers and your family, provides first aid instructions, and much more.


Additional Recommended Resources for Emergency Preparation/Safety:

Recommended Resources


  • Paolo from Tokyo From Travel hacks to street foods, Paolo talks about a wide variety of topics about traveling and living in Japan. His extensive video clips are so helpful and informative. He also visits major cities and take you on a fun tour. 

  • Solo Solo Travel This travel vloggers travel all around Japan.  “Solo” in Japanese doesn’t me alone and it’s not necessarily for solo travelers. They document the highlights of their journeys, and you can see what is like to travel via a luxury train, a bullet train, a ferry, etc.  

  •  Only in Japan John takes you unique tours of Japan. He shows you how green tea is made or how to feed 500 Japanese monkeys.

  • Internationally ME Angela is from New Zealand and living in Tokyo. She gives ideas for our itineraries, and go off the beaten path. 


Web Magazines 

Travel Guide websites 

A List of Instagram:

Train in Hakone.jpg
Map apps & Emergency apps

Restrooms Locator

It’s easy to find nice, clean, and safe public restrooms. If you have any special needs, look at Check A Toilet. It’s an excellent restroom database. You can find information such as baby rest, handrails types/locations, washing equipment for ostomates, emergency buttons, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, etc. They have an app to download on your phone for your convenience.

Restroom Information

Activities & Interests

Discover Topics

Useful Tips & Apps

Useful Tips & Apps


Useul Tips & Apps

bottom of page