Essential Phone Apps for Studying Abroad

In our increasing technologically savvy world, it would be difficult to live without a mobile phone. Travelling abroad would simply be unthinkable without it. Cell phones are considered a must-have when traveling to any part of the globe. They keep us connected to friends, loved ones, and colleagues.

iPhone. | Toshiyuki IMAI

It’s important to know some basic facts about cell phone use and how to stay connected when in Japan.

There are some useful apps that can also help in your transition and adjustment phase when abroad. Here are the top ones:


Tabimori is considered the ultimate travel guide to Japan, containing a transfer guide, a guide to Wifi facilities and hotspots, currency converter, flight information, speech translation, weather,  life & culture, and access to information. Many of its functions can be used offline too.


Hyperdia is a must have app for train travel in Japan. It tells you when to leave, which trains to take, and your estimated arrival time.  It gives you the name of the train, where it’s headed, and which stops it’s going to make. For JR Pass holders, you can simply un-tap the ‘Nozomi/Mizuno’ option to see only the relevant trains valid on your pass.

Google Translate

The Google Translate app has a number of special features that you can use. You can even translate a recording of your own voice, or even scan some text to translate. You can then listen to your own translations spoken out loud or run through your translation history while offline.

Yanaka Ginza. | Emily Cole at KCP Flickr


A language-learning app that can help you to learn simple vocabulary and grammar using interactive flashcards and games.

Sushi Dictionary

Sushi Dictionary gives you tips on where to get the best sushi at any level: the uber expensive kind, the common conveyor-belt sushi, and the delicious tiny sushi restaurants off the beaten path. You can even find translations on different types of fish. This app helps you become a regular sushi connoisseur.

Tokyo Handy Guide

This all-in-one app will help you navigate your way around Tokyo. It shows you maps of the city and transportation guides that are available offline. Its ‘spot nearby’ feature allows you to find any sight- seeing location near where you are that’s worth a visit.

Kamakura trip. | KCP Flickr