The Most Useful Tech Tools For Traveling + Cycling in Japan

Throughout our time spent cycling, living, and traveling in Japan, we have utilized many different apps and devices that we have found to be particularly useful. While you are with your BTJ guides, you will not need any tech tools. However, we highly recommend utilizing some of these tools when planning additional explorations through Japan, or if you are joining us for a self-guided tour.

Here, we round up some our most frequently used tech tools for riding and traveling in Japan.

Maps.me

Download offline maps app that are searchable and routable (in English). Be sure to download the complete Japan maps pack before reaching Japan.

Google Translate

Download the Japanese offline package, again before reaching Japan. It will allow for offline voice-to-voice and photo translation. This is a great resource for communicating and connecting with the locals, as well as for menu-reading.

Strava

Strava is one of our favorite tech tools; it’s an app that allows you to view and record routes. We primarily use Strava for bike routes, but it can also be used for walking, running, or hiking. If you want to go exploring, we recommend running Strava when wandering around a city or going for a trail run. The app will track your GPS location from start to finish. This way, you can allow yourself to get a little lost, since you’ll always have a route to follow when you need to get back to home base.

LINE

LINE is equivalent to “Messenger”, “Whatsapp”, or “WeChat” and is very frequently used in Japan. This is the primary way that Japanese people connect with each other through text or voice message. Businesses such as bike shops, restaurants, and ryokans, also communicate with this app. LINE is one of four ways to connect with your BTJ support team while on tour.

Bike Computer

This is the only recommendation we have that is not a free app that you can download to your smartphone. However, we highly recommend a bike computer (such as Garmin or Wahoo) for any self-guided cyclists. Having one on your handlebars will allow you to pull up your TCX Navigation files for each day’s route before departure. A smartphone app such as Strava has some of these functions as well, but is less dependable and will use battery on your phone. We recommend bringing a portable battery for your phone if you run a GPS tracking app while riding all day.

Tired of being surrounded by screens and apps? We’ve got you covered. Join a BTJ group cycling tour.