How to find Mapcode for any place in Japan (for GPS)
If you drive in Japan, most likely you’d need GPS and it’s most convenient to use Mapcode (マップコード)- with Mapcodes, there’d be no more getting lost or wasting hours to find your destination! It’d be noted that the popular Mapcodes used in Japan developed by Denso is NOT the international standard Mapcode (developed by TomTom) and under the Mapcode Foundation- that’s another story. For this article, I’m going to talk about the Japanese Mapcode which is very useful to pinpoint locations while travelling in Japan. However, apart from key attractions/tourist places published in tour brochures, you cannot find Mapcodes for other places, like your Minsu, Ryokan, Airbnb. As some of these places are hidden in very small roads, Mapcodes come into essential info when you’re desperate. Below is a step to step guide to help you find the Mapcode of ANY location in Japan (from personal experience). A few things you have to note first..
Japan GPS can use telephone numbers for location too, but not many phones are stored in the GPS database, some can use Post Code too, but they cover a fairy big area like 300 m radius circle which in a city could mean several major roads in any direction! Note that Mapcode is still not a point, it covers an area of about 30 m square (or up to 3 m accuracy with elevation data * included), but that should be good enough for drivers like you who are adventurous enough to drive in minor roads in strange countries.
There’re several methods to obtain Mapcodes, and there’re apps (like Navicon) available on iphone and Android phone in Japan. But such apps are not available in other countries. You can force install such apps by faking your service provider (e.g. via other tools like MarketEnabler ), but that’s a bit complicated. This Blog talks about a more straightforward method using Mapion. OK, let me get to the point:
- go to this Mapion site (in Japanese, but you’d be able to make sense of it and navigate with your Kanji (Chinese character) knowledge), it shows a map of Japan, click the perfecture you want either direct from the list or clicking the map cascading to the perfecture (e.g. Kyushu/Fukuoka) ;
- from the more detailed map presented, click the shi, e.g. Kurume; and you’d go to the shi map where you can type/paste in the address in Japanese to start searching. Or if you want to start off with Post code to search, go back to the Shi map by clicking the horizontal tab above the map showing the Shi (one to the left of the existing). You will be presented with a screen where you can choose Post code -郵便番号検索 from the list for search criteria.
- from either the address or Post code (e.g. 830-0032), your result will be presented in a detailed map with a red cross at the centre. The Mapcode for the location at this centre is available at a click (see 5 below). For your specific location, you can zoom in/out to locate your exact location- which may be given to you in Google Map, etc. By comparing the 2 maps, you should be able to locate your exact destination.
- Once you locate your destination, move the map by dragging it such that the center red cross is now on your location.
- click the + sign on the top right corner to show a drop down menu, click the bottom one “（Map）地图 URL”。 Your Mapcode will be shown in the popup window.
You can easily use the above to find Mapcodes for your itinerary planning at home. While there, you’d of course need wifi internet access to Mapion site，or you can download and use Navicon there.