4 free tools to help you get around Tokyo more easily

Photo by Tianshu Liu on Unsplash

Hello again! In this article we’ll be introducing you to free tools that help you get around Tokyo.

If you know which apps will help you to use free Wi-Fi spots effectively, or show you where you can charge your phone or tablet, then those will make traveling this city much easier.

Everything is free!

  • ① Using the app “JAPAN Connected-free Wi-Fi”
  • ② Charging spots
  • ③ How to scout empty lockers in the palm of your hand
  • ④ Finding toilets using Google Maps

Using the app “JAPAN Connected-free Wi-Fi”

photo from Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi

Many people may already know this, but there’s an app called “JAPAN Connected-free Wi-Fi” that allows you to easily connect to free Wi-Fi spots all over Japan.

This service was developed with visitors to Japan in mind and it’s available in 16 languages, including English, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Korean, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, and Japanese.

The service area covers over 190,000 free Wi-Fi spots all over the country, including everywhere from major tourist spots like art galleries and parks, airports, and convenience stores to shopping areas and public transport like trains and buses and is still growing.

In the future, you’ll most likely be able to use any Wi-Fi spot in Japan with this app.

The selling point of this app is that it allows you to connect to Wi-Fi easily and for free. When you use the app, you simply tap the “Connect” button, without having to search for nearby Wi-Fi spots manually or having to register use in each area, making it easy to connect.

You can trust this service – it’s provided by one of the biggest telecommunications companies in Japan! Simply sign up using your email address or social media account.

Places where you can charge your devices for free

It’s important to know where you can charge your phone or tablet and the number of places where you can do this in Tokyo (that aren’t Starbucks or McDonalds!) is currently on the rise.

Locations include:

  • Eat-in corners in convenience stores (although some stores don’t have these)
  • Don Quijote (a discount store)
  • Cell phone stores (au, docomo, softbank)
local favorite charging spot is Tsutaya FamilyMart which is spacey and comfortable.

Also, if you ask the store assistants at docomo stores or other cell phone stores like Softbank, you can charge your phone for free.

You might be able to find plug sockets in Japanese cafes and fast food restaurants, but we recommend popping in to ask for permission to use them before having a seat and ordering!

Be aware that most eat in spots require you to buy something from the store, and there are rules that you would need to follow.

The same kind of sign is in eat in areas that tell you what the rules are.

Usually it will include:

  • Usage needs to be limited to 2-3 hours (depends on store)
  • No drinking alcohol
  • No Making excess noise

The general idea would be the same in every eat in spots, so it is recommended to have this in mind and respect the rules to avoid trouble for both sides!

Check whether coin lockers are free from the palm of your hand

Next up is a service that will allow you to get around a little more light-footed.

Japanese people often use the coin lockers available in train stations to temporarily relieve themselves of heavy luggage when they’re out on a day trip or shopping.

This can be so important… You will notice that the stations are like a maze and has so much stairs that makes it so difficult to get around, so having excess luggage would be disastrous for your travels.

Using coin lockers is key not to exhaust yourself just moving yourself from destination to the next.

But even if you do find a cluster of lockers, chances are that they’ll all be full… It happens a lot.

This is where the online service Locker Concierge, that allows you to check where empty lockers are, comes in handy.

photo from Fuji IT Company

You can use this service to find empty lockers in JR stations when you arrive on the Shinkansen bullet train or in Tokyo Metro stations and it’s also available in English.

photo from Fuji IT Company

Available lockers are displayed by size (small, medium, and large), so you can search for one that fits your luggage size. 

photo from Fuji IT Company

You can find out more about locker sizes by visiting the JR East Homepage.

photo from Fuji IT Company

Bonus: When there are no lockers available, there’s another service that will look after your luggage for you called “ecbo cloak.” It does cost a fee to leave luggage there, but it’s certainly useful for when you want to move around more freely.

This service is available in English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese and can be found in major tourist cities in addition to Tokyo, including Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, and Hokkaido.

photo from ecbo cloak homepage

Google toilet locator 

Now we’ve come to the last service on our list. Did you know that Google Maps has a “toilet locator” feature? In the last article, we told you all about how you could find toilets in convenience stores in Japan.

Although there may be some cases in which you can’t find toilets in convenience stores in cities other than Tokyo, there are plenty of shopping malls and other facilities around, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding somewhere to take care of your business.

Searching for toilets using Google Maps might come in handy when you’re in the suburbs or having emergencies though.

photo from google maps

Above is a map for toilets in Ochanomizu, which is famous for its antique guitar shops.

If you type the word “toilets” into the search field, it will show you nearby public toilets and establishments that offer toilet facilities.

That’s all for this time. We’ve introduced four free services that will come in handy for traversing Tokyo and sincerely hope that this article helps you.

If there’s anything else that you want us to tell you about or investigate for you, just drop us a comment!

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