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  • Shona McCarthy

3 Apps To Bring Japan Closer to You!

Updated: Oct 12, 2020


As lockdowns continue where I am and in many other regions around the world, I've continued to look for ways to experience Japanese culture without leaving the house. In my quest, I decided to choose 3 different apps I think are going to be of interest to you, the reader.



_-~ The Kimono-No-Hi App ~-_ Intended to celebrate and publicise Kimono-No-Hi, or annual Kimono Day, the app contains a range of photo frames and overlays that make it possible for you to simulate being on the cover of a Kimono Magazine. Lovers of kimono will be delighted to see that they can feign being on the cover of Nanao, Utskushii Kimono and Kimono Hime. While you might not own kimono yourself, being able to take photos from your life and make them seem to be Japanese magazine covers can be a lot of fun and can make Japan seem less far away. You can download it here.

(Screenshots of the Kimono-No-Hi App.)


_-~ KoI Service - Kyoto Travel & Local Events Guide ~-_


Ordinarily, this is meant to be used as an "Omotenashi" app; an app intended to act as a virtual guide, using bluetooth and geolocation to identify interesting tourist locations close to you in Kyoto. It even provides you with all the information you'd need about the locations and discount coupons. But when you aren't in Japan, it can still be used to virtually tour Kyoto. You can fill out the profile with information about your interests and specifications, and the app with deliberately focus on things relevant to you. Being able to scroll through and see things I might like to visit on future trips takes my mind off of where I am, and helps me to have hopeful thoughts about the future. Highly recommend.

(Screenshots from the app. Please click and scroll.)



_-~ The NHK World Japan App ~-_


I think most people would benefit from having the NHK World app on their phone, even if they're not much interested in Japanese culture. But all the better if you are. It enables you to watch the NHK channel anywhere, in English. Not only that, you can stream NHK programs of all kinds and you can listen to NHK radio, all for free. You can download it here.


It's predominantly a news app, with news detailing all world events, not just Japan. But if you want to look up videos specifically about Japanese tourism, media or culture, you can find this in the app, too

(Screenshots of the NHK World App.)


If you would like to supplement your virtual experiences of Japan with real life, wearable objects, you could try perusing my online store. I try to keep my prices reasonable, and my products a blend of the fun and practical:

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