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Google Map Directions Now Work in Japan

November 1st, 2008


Well, this was an unexpected but nice surprise. Google Japan has just added the Directions feature to their maps service, something that was missing until now. I found out when someone posted that Directions now works for their iPhone on the iPhone in Japan forum.

On the web version (shown above), you can choose to find directions by car or by train. By car, you can exclude toll roads and/or give preference to “normal” roads; the results display with an option to see the Street View to get an idea of what each turning point looks like. Missing feature: not being able to click on the map to define a starting/ending point (unless it’s there and I just missed it). By train, it works just like Yahoo! Transit, but better–as it not only shows the route on a map, but it’s all contained on one page, and seems to have more options. Very, very nice.

The iPhone version is nice as well, but with a major failing: there’s no option to exclude toll roads. This is a deal-killer for anyone like myself who has a vehicle that is not allowed on toll roads. It also makes no sense as often the toll roads are jammed and local roads serve better, not to mention that the tolls are expensive and you might prefer the regular roads in any case. Hopefully, there will be an upgrade to the Maps program at some point (soon?) in the future which adds this critical option. Who knows, it may come with the iPhone firmware update v. 2.2 coming soon–the update allows for Google Street View, which means that they’re changing the Google Maps app.

Gmapdir01 Gmapdir02

Nevertheless, this is a welcome step forward for Google Maps Japan, not very long after Street View became available here.

What’s still missing: traffic information.

  1. Jim
    November 1st, 2008 at 19:00 | #1

    This has been working for quite some time now. I used it back in August and maybe before that. Just a fyi.


  2. Luis
    November 1st, 2008 at 23:45 | #2

    Ah. Well, no one told me!

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