Tokyo had always been our dream to visit, and probably one of the first destinations on my mind since I was a child. So planning for the trip was a lot of fun. Despite the throngs of Western tourists in Japan, it’s a well known fact that the majority of the locals still do not speak English (or are simply too shy to). Having said that, Tokyo remains easy to navigate with most signs having English and Romanji for foreigners. But it certainly helps a lot if you planned some things in advance to avoid as much fuss and trouble as possible.
Here are some of the websites, and apps we utilised on our stay:
Japan-Guide (Useful summarized maps)
Planning for our first trip to the multi-faceted city was made easy with guides from this site. The maps per little district are easy to understand and use.
Portable internet in Tokyo, or Japan in general, is actually trickier than one would expect for foreigners, but not impossible to get. Here are some options:
1) Ordering 3G SIM card online to be delivered to your hotel. This is the most fuss free option and also the option we went with. Do not discard the email they send you with instructions. Make sure the note is available offline. From ¥3,791.
A quick note if you have an iPhone 5S or 5C: You will have to download a custom APN profile from their website to make the 3g access work.
2) If you’re already in Tokyo and can’t go with option 1, you can still buy a data-only SIM card from major electronics retailers like Yodobashi Camera or BIC Camera. Ask staff for help to activate SIM card. From ¥3480.
3) Renting a pocket wifi, can be used on multiple devices. ¥3900~4900 per week.
Train App (Offline)
This simple app in English, allows you to plan your routes on your phone without the usage of internet.
For ramen lovers, you can use the app to search for the best ramen-yas in your area. The official website is also available for use if the app is unavailable for download. Ability to read simple Kanji (derived from Chinese characters) would help a lot.
Hope these apps and tips help you as much as they had helped us.