While Japan was mainly closed to travel when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, 2023 is seeing a revival of tourism as entry requirements ease. Many services and tools are appearing to help make the journey more enjoyable and convenient for visitors.
Once such service is "Japan2Go!", a multilingual app that makes sightseeing in Japan more comfortable and convenient. The app was developed by SoftBank Corp. (TOKYO: 9434) and other members of the Omonotenashi Ict Association, an organization that promotes the utilization of ICT to contribute to Japan’s regional revitalization and sustainability by increasing the economic activity of travelers from abroad and inside Japan while creating a comfortable environment for them and others in society. The app’s database is linked to the Japan Travel and Tourism Association's database of 130,000 tourist destinations throughout Japan.
Japan2Go! is available for iPhone and Android smartphone users. One particularly handy function of the app is that it helps users connect to SoftBank’s approximate 400,000 Wi-Fi spots around the country.
Japan2Go! supports six different language options. In addition to Japanese and English, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Korean, and Thai are also supported. After the app is downloaded, it defaults to the language of the user's smartphone OS and automatically displays the information in the most appropriate language from those listed above.
Now let’s go looking for some of the top destinations Japan has to offer! We’ll use shrines as an example. There are several search methods and users can select the one that suits them best.
- Search List
This feature allows you to view a list of the database content included in the app, and the search results can be filtered by distance, time of update and title. (The default setting is distance).
Type "Shrine" in the search bar and select a prefecture in the upper left filter to search.
Tapping on a spot of interest will display a description of the attraction, its address, and directions to get there. Once you’ve decided and tapped on a destination, tap the symbol of a person walking at the top, and the screen will switch to a map, showing the distance from your current location and a suggested route (or multiple routes) to get there.
- Search by Location
With this function, you can search for spots near your current location. Sightseeing spots and restaurants in the vicinity will be displayed as icons on the map, so you can make effective use of local attractions when you have a little extra time before going to your next destination.
Take AR photos with a multitude of Japan’s mascots
Another novel feature of Japan2Go! is that it allows users to take augmented reality (AR) photos with characters and mascots unique to Japan. The characters that appear are unique to each location, so hold up your phone to check what characters are available in your area.
In Tokyo, characters from "Ukiyoe", "Kabuki", and "Sumo" may appear. The characters that appear vary from place to place even within Tokyo, so please hold up your phone to each spot you visit!
We hope visitors to Japan will enjoy their stay even more by using Japan2Go! Stay tuned for more articles on how to make the most of the app and enjoy Japan to the fullest.
(Posted on March 24, 2023)
by SoftBank News Editors