Where to Find Wifi Spots in Japan
So, you found yourself leaving the house and catching a bus or train to some exciting place. But wait, there's no wifi!? Noo!!! That’s what I would normally say if Japan didn’t already have a variety of ways to stay connected while on the go. Yet with the ever changing services and rates, it’s not always the most simple. So i’ll be sharing with you some ways to keep connected!
Hotels, hotels, hotels! Got to love the nice free wifi that comes with the room. Don’t be fooled by the fancier hotels though, they sometimes charge for the service. It’ll be charged to your overall bill and then you’ll have 24 hours of wifi at your fingertips- but nowhere else. Some hotels are even nice enough to include free wifi down in the common area (if they have one), like the breakfast halls, restaurants etc.
There are also Ryokans, they do offer wifi, but it isn’t always reliable, and Minshukus don’t provide any internet service at all. So pick carefully or you’ll be out of luck in that department you guys.
Wireless Wifi Hotspots
As you probably already know, there are two types of wireless hotspots. Free wireless hotspots, and paid wireless hotspots.
Most free hotspots can be found in the airport, hotels, public transportation buses, coffee shops, train stations (including all the Yamanote line stations), and some convenience stores. Isn’t that so considerate? Because of businesses and governments, they have made an effort to make wifi more publicly ready for tourists. So considerate!
There is also an app called Japan Connected-Free wifi. It is an app that you can get on all smartphones and android as far as i’ve been made aware.
To download the app for IOS click here
To download the app for Android click here
It essentially gives you access to over 150,000 wifi spots. There is a registration of a little personal data, but it saves a lot of time instead of logging into each one individually, don’t you think?
Last of the free wifi is, Free Wifi Passport, this is a service that gives you access to over 400,000 hotspots. You call a toll-free number with a foreign phone number, and they give you a password that you then enter to the pop up screen that your
phones wifi selection takes you to. It’s rather simple, and you get access to wifi in so many places.
Everyone’s Least Favorite
Like that headline said, everyone’s least favorite thing, is something you have to pay for. To add insult to injury, you’re paying for Wifi; something you can’t physically grab either.
Yet paid wifi hotspots are more common than the free ones ironically. The plans are sold at daily or weekly intervals. With prices ranging from 600-800 a day. Got to love the
marketing here. The best thing is that only SOME of these paid wifi places require a Japanese credit card. Hooray for equality. I’m going to give you a few paid wifi services that have English registration interfaces that accept foreign credit cards. Mic Drop!
Where’s the Wifi?
First on the list of paid wifi is Docomo Wifi for Visitor, it is a service that allows foreigners to access over 150,000 wifi spots. Now you’re definitely wondering: “okay what’s the price?” The price per day is ¥388, ¥972 per week, and lastly ¥1404 for three weeks. That sounds like a good deal to me.
Next on the list of paid wifi is Wi2 300, this service provide up to 200,000 service spots in hotels, restaurants, cafes and more public places. Their plans are somewhat limited, but it is normal. They have 6-hour to week-long packages. Prices do vary.
Last on the list of Paid wifi is Softbank Wifi Spot(EX). This service provides similar in the number of places that have access; such as hotels, cafes, and such. Though the service is geared towards Softbank users, it isn’t only limited to them, they provide 24-hour packages for non-users as well.
Routers, Smartphones, and Sim Cards Galore!
So most people with common knowledge of what a Router is, is that it is basically a personal hotspot. Usually you keep them in your homes right?In this instance, we are going to refer to the small battery operated devices that use the cell phone network to create a wireless network. It is basically a fool proof setup, provides fast and reliable internet connection, with good speed, and usually allow more than just one device to connect to the device. You can buy them in an electronics store, and can even rent them by the day. The prices will vary depending on the brand and model, so be wise!
Yes, I did mention Smartphones in that headline. Why? Because you can rent smartphones here in Japan for the purpose of keeping connected with wifi! Several cell-phone companies will rent their phones and give you a wifi/data-tethering plan; which essentially turns the phone into its own hotspot. The cool thing is that when renting this device, it is already a phone, so you can use it as a phone too, not just for the interwebs. You can usually find the rentals in airports, or online for delivery; and for those Android and Iphone users, not need to fret. They sell rentals for both types of phone users, so no need to have a hernia.
Lastly, the dreaded SIM cards. I personally tried to get a SIM card for my Iphone at a mall in Akasaka, but the SIM card was incompatible with my Iphone 6S. I wanted to cry, mainly because i didn’t want to shell out like ¥19,800 + tax (and accessories) for a new phone. That aside, people who wish to use their own phones from their perspective countries, can get SIM cards that will let you use the cell network on your phone.
There are many plans for foreigners, most of them are date-only though, so try to look into what you need and what you are willing to pay for what you need. Plans will cost different amounts depending on: connection speed, networks used, and data transfer limits. The data plans usually last for a specific amount of time, or until you use all of the data you purchased. You can purchase SIM cards at the airport, special retailers, electronic stores that handle phones, and online. Make sure your device is unlocked or you won’t be able to utilize the new SIM card you just bought.
Most people do have a roaming feature on their cellphones, but it is expensive to use, and depending on the agreement with your cell phone company and the country you’re in; it could be ridiculously expensive. So try to stay away from using your International roaming if possible.
Manga Cafes Ooh La La
Yes, we’ve all dreamed of going to the high esteemed Manga cafes we’ve seen in the anime of our youth. Yet, what exactly can you expect service-wise, while there? Manga cafes rent out their internet connection with on-site computers, for a couple hundred(300-700) yen an hour. As savvy business people, they offer better deals for longer blocks of time purchased and overnight deals. Awesome! Beware though, as some places will require you to sign up for a membership and pay a small registration fee.
Time to Go!
So with all this information now at your fingertips, you can navigate your way through Japan without any worry of not having a wifi connection anymore. As it is literally everywhere, and if you play your cards right, you won’t ever have to really pay for wifi except for the one at your home or work space.
Now there is a lot to process and the options can be a little terrifying if you are still new and haven’t found your footing yet. My advice is to be patient, and take some time to think over what options are best for you. What your specific needs are, and what your budget is. Remember to stay curious, and if you’re curious- poke it with a stick. Poke it hard! Friendly
Please also click here to check out our article on how to use a Japanese ATM in Japan!
Neighborhood Gaijin logging Off!