This tool is one of our personal favourites and allows you to search and get a complete route from point A to point B. It’s available and free on both their website and as an app. There are multiple similar tools, but this one has an esse up its sleeve. What makes this tool soo good, is the option to set and only display routes covered by your Japan Rail Pass. This makes it so much easier compared too google maps, who usually include Nazomi lines. It will also display the fare price for each trip with the option to desplay prices as regular, reserved seat and green pass.
We do however recommend to make a search both with and without the “Japan Rail Pass” ticked, to see if there is any faster transit alternatives for part of your trip. For example, to reach your JR Station, there might be a line not covered by your JR Pass for a few yen, that can save you up to an hour in transit sometimes. This is however only relevant for local destinations, such as your hotel to Akihabara and so on while searches from example Tokyo to Osaka will display Shinkansen trains instead of metro trains.
Travelers in Japan who travel with a Japan Rail Pass and are familiar with Navitime’s Route Finder might be curious to know how Google Maps stacks up as an alternative. Google Maps, renowned globally for its user-friendly navigation services, can be just as effective in Japan. Although Route Finder is tailor-made to navigate Japan’s expansive train system, Google Maps delivers walking and cisuals a little better.
Both Navitime and Google maps will show you where to go out and at what exit, etc. But Google maps tend to prioritize routes with Nozomi, which is an issue for Japan Rail Pass holders, as they aren’t allowed on Nozomi trains and have to use Hikari Shinkansen instead. Using Hikari instead of Nozomi is not a big deal, the difference in time between Tokyo and Kyoto with Nozomi and Hikari is only 2h 30m compared to 2h 47m with Hikari Shinkansen. But when you search Point A to Point B with google maps, it will most likely show you a train which you may notbe able to use, specially on popular routes.
For that reason, we like Navitimer more but still use both. Navitimer is great for the timetables, which train to use and so on, while google maps is better at guiding you to your track, out of the train station and so on. For that reason, we strongly recommend downloading both apps before your departure.
One of the recent updates of Google Translate now lets you translate Japanese by using your camera! If you’ve ever been to Japan in the past, you’ve most likely been sitting at a table among locals who don’t speak english and without a english menu. This is not longer an issue, as long as you’re connected to the internet, google translate will translate the menu for you.
Open google translate, point the camera towards the menu and see how the text changes in real time. It’s such a lovely tool that opens up so many doors in the Japan for foodlovers!
Google Translate can also be used as a voiced translator. Talk into the phone in your language, and the phone will translate and read what you said in Japanese and vice versa. Communicate with personal, locals and guides with ease.
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