The Best Online Tools to get Around in Japan

By on December 16, 2015

So getting around in big cities like Tokyo,Osaka,Fukuoka,Kyoto,.. may not always be so easy. You may arrive there with huge excitement ready to take your step into this beautiful island. So you arrive at your first station and yo encounter:

Okay, now where is .. Tokyo.. Station

In Tokyo they are now trying their best to always provide a Map written in Alphabet so you have a much higher chance of searching your station. Because you do need to find your station and destination station to figure out how much you’re supposed to pay. For people who are not familiar with this kind system, I will provide you a video tutorial later this month, so no worries.
So the main thing that we are going to talk about today is Which online tools can help you find the information that you are looking for faster?
So first of all.. these are online tools so it may be interesting for you to rent a portable wifi, as alternative you could rent a sim card. If you do not have the budget, or you don’t feel like it then you alternative may be to take pictures or prnt screens of all the information that you can find beforehand in your hotel.

So now let’s talk about which online tools may help you.
Google Maps
Google Maps has a great way of showing you a lot of information about trains,busses,biking routes & more. Let’s get into an example together. Let’s say that I want to go from Saiin Station (Kyoto) to Tokyo Station (Tokyo).

It gave us:
– The Total Cost
– Timeline of all stops
– Walking times
– Directions on map (useful for the walking transfers)
– All Travel Times
But it does not provide us with:
– The Amount between every station
– The Exact Platform that you will be arriving at
So the two things missing are actually very important. You don’t want to spend your time searching for your station and destination station on the map in the train station so it’s very unfortunate that Google Maps does not provide us with the specific amount of cash we need to use on every station.
So if you need some specific information about trains then I highly recommend you the following website.

HyperDia is a service which offers the route and the timetable of the railway and the aviation of Japan.
And that is exactly what it does, in a very good way. Let’s take the same example as we did in Google Maps and see what we get!

It gave us:
– The Total Cost
– The Cost per Transfer
– Timeline of all Stops
– Walking Times
– All Travel Times
– Total Distance
– Information about compatibility with your Japan Rail Pass

But does not provide us with:
– Handy map instructions like in Google Maps
– The direction name you have to follow (This is useful if you are riding trains that do not use Train Track Numbers.)
– How many stops there are between each transfer

As you can see, it shows a lot of more handy information, the cost per stop is my absolute favorite feature of this website. But it does not provide us with any information for a bus or walking directions what so ever. It is specifically build for Trains in Japan.

I tend to use both websites a lot, it’s not like I have a “most go” online tool for traveling in Japan. Both really stand out and are useful in it’s own situation.

I hope this article gave you some idea on how to move yourself in Japan. Do you know better alternatives? Let me know in the comment section!