8 iPhone Apps for Expats Living in Tokyo

iPhone applications for expatriates living in Tokyo and Japan can be lifesavers for those who have very little local knowledge and lack Japanese language skills. If you’re looking to find your way around, locate an ideal restaurant for dinner or learn the local language in Tokyo then this selection of applications may be just what you need to make settling into Tokyo life just that little bit easier.

Travel, Navigation and Maps

Pictures of trains.jp

Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later

Price: Free

Japan’s subway stations and underground network are notorious for baffling non-Japanese speaking expats and foreigners. However, you can put your days mindlessly drifting through the many tunnels and complex transit halls behind you with this great app. Simply enter the details of which station you wish to commence your journey and where you’re planning on ending it and the application will calculate the exact route and tell you which lines to take and where to transfer. Simple.

Find! Tokyo

Screenshots of Find Tokyo

Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later

Price: Free

Find! Tokyo is a great application that can help you to navigate the complex streets of Tokyo without the need for attempting to understand Japanese language maps. The software comes complete with a fully bilingual interface and contains thousands of maps that cover Tokyo and the surrounding areas. All the maps are loaded onto a local version on your iPhone so you don’t need to access a network to navigate your way around the city.

Hello Japan

Screenshots of Hello Japan

Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.2 or later


This is a great application for learning about life in Japan when you have a little spare time on your hands. One quick shake of your iPhone presents you with a randomly selected article that was written by a local and contains advice and insights on a given topic. There are hundreds of articles included in the application covering a wide variety of topics, including culture, shopping, eating out, sightseeing and understanding local customs.


Jisho Touch

Screenshots of Jisho Touch

Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.2 or later

Price: $14.99

This is a great dictionary-type app that allows users to search for a word in their own language in order to find the Japanese romaji, hiragana and kanji translation. The dictionary contains over 100,000 words and includes a great feature that allows you to bookmark words that you use on a regular basis.

Talking Japanese Phrasebook

Screenshots of talking Japanese phrasebook

Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Price: $9.99

This is a great app for people who are planning on living in Tokyo or Japan. The application holds over 500 different words and phrases that will be invaluable when you live in Japan. Use the menu to find the phrase you are looking for and the app will provide audio soundbites, romaji, Japanese and an English written translation. Many of the phrases also include additional notes and instructions that give you background understanding of the phrase.

Entertainment and Sightseeing

Tokyo Teleport Plus

Screenshots of Tokyo Teleport Plus

Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later

Price: $9.99

This app is great for newcomers to Tokyo. It contains comprehensive snippets, photo galleries and fantastic videos explaining culture, everyday life and things to do, see and eat in Tokyo. The videos are hosted by a very knowledgeable girl who explains Tokyo in great detail; from playing the Pachinko machines through to etiquette at the shrines and temples you really can’t go wrong.

Food and Eating Out

Real Sushi

Screenshots of real sushi

Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1 or later

Price: $2.99

This is a great app for people who know they love sushi but don’t quite have intricate knowledge of all the many dishes available. The application contains a great picture glossary of the various sushi snacks that are generally available in Japan and provides syllabic pronunciation and breakdowns of the names in order to help westerners order their sushi with ease.

TeePee Guide

Screenshots of Teepee guide

Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.

Price: $9.99

TeePee Japan is a great guide for foodies. It’s a great place for finding restaurants, onsen hot spring resorts, great ski resorts, and even clothing stores in Japan. The app is available both online and offline and allows you to separate search results by prefecture so you can locate restaurants and bars even when you are in the most remote areas.

If you’re looking for everything you need to know in order to make life in Tokyo that bit easier then you should check out our expatriate guide to living in Tokyo. It contains all the information and advice you need in one single guide that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Author: ExpatInfoDesk