Japan's Must-Read Magazine

Japan on the Web 2010: Top 5 Japan-Related iPhone Apps

Gurunavi / ぐるなび

This app is every gourmet/hungry person’s best friend. Cleverly linking itself to your current location, ぐるなび can be used to search for restaurants, bars and cafés virtually anywhere in Japan. You can specify the exact type of cuisine you’re after from an exhaustive list of options, indicate how far you’re willing to walk and how much you’re happy to pay, and even inspect complete menus. Then just click on your chosen restaurant’s phone number and tell the person at the other end you’d like to place a reservation. Absolute user-friendly software perfection!



A comprehensive Japanese-multilingual dictionary, and the fact that it’s a free download alone makes it essential. Type in any Japanese word and tap "Search", and you’ll find its English/German/Russian equivalent along with related Japanese words and details of how the word’s kanji are constructed. Not bad at all for ¥0.



JAPAN MAP contains maps of Japan, obviously. They’re very detailed maps, and you can switch between Japanese and English versions so in theory you should never get lost again. Best of all, it lets you search areas for specific attractions such as "leisure facilities" (love hotels?) and "eating & drinking" (Hobgoblin!). The only caveat is that this application depends on wi-fi access, so there’s a slight possibility you might lose your way in an area that Softbank can’t reach – but you’d have to be pretty far out for that to happen. Also, it costs ¥1,000. 


Kakitori Kanji / 書き取り漢字大全

Rather a lot like one of those Nintendo DS kanji writing trainers, only a fraction of the price (just ¥230!) and with more precise input. Perfect for practice, and practice makes…


TV Listings

This useful bit of code was developed by a Japanese programmer for people who want to watch programmes on Japanese TV, and in that context it makes perfect sense. TV Listings is synced to your location and automatically tells you what’s on the box over the next few hours (it covers BS and standard terrestrial stations). Never miss an episode of Game Center CX again!

To download a PDF of this story as it appears in the magazine,