Wi-Fi & Connectivity
Wireless hotspots are popping up all over major cities in Japan, so you should never be too far from a Wi-Fi connection. However, for guaranteed access, especially if you are traveling to more remote areas, Wi-Fi rental is recommended.
At the airport
On touching down after a long flight, connecting to the internet to confirm travel plans, get in touch with friends and family, or to simply find out what you have missed while you were in the air is a top priority for many. Luckily, Japan's major international airports provide free Wi-Fi within their terminals to allow you to connect as soon as you set foot in the airport buildings.
How you connect to Wi-Fi differs with each airport, so take a look at the following information for the finer details.
Flying into Narita Airport ? Narita Airport: Wi-Fi info
Touching down at Tokyo's Haneda Airport ? Haneda Airport International Passenger Terminal: Wi-Fi info Traveling directly to Kansai International Airport ? Kansai International Airport: Wi-Fi info , Hokkaido's New Chitose Airport , Centrair Airport in Nagoya, and Fukuoka Airport in Kyushu also offer free Wi-Fi services.
At the hotel
Most major hotels in Japanese cities offer a Wi-Fi connection for its guests, however, don't expect traditional ryokan hotels and smaller minshuku style accommodation to provide such a service—especially if you are traveling off-piste into the mountains or rural areas. It is a good idea to check the Wi-Fi availability at your chosen accommodation when you book.
Around the city
Visitors to Japan in possession of a foreign phone can take advantage of telecom giant Softbank's Wi-Fi hotspots. Softbank: Free Wi-Fi Passport provides two weeks of free Wi-Fi from 400,000 hotspots nationwide. All you need to do is dial *8180 to receive your password to enable your connection. Look out for the Softbank mark in restaurants, cafes, major train stations, hotels and other locations where you can log on.
Certain coffee chains, fast food restaurants and convenience stores also offer their own free Wi-Fi. Like in many places, you will have to sign up for it. While convenient, the signal on some of these free services can be patchy and slow. Paid hotspots are also available. While many are directed towards Japanese clientele, some English services are available. Docomo Wi-Fi for visitors: Paid Wi-Fi plans and Wi2: Wi-Fi info are a couple of these offering easy access to the internet at a cost.
Pocket Wi-Fi rental
The safest option for guaranteed Wi-Fi from all corners of Japan is to rent a personal hotspot or pocket Wi-Fi device when you arrive in the country. Rental kiosks are located at all major airports, available at competitive rates. Alternatively, make a prior reservation via the internet and have your device delivered straight to your hotel. Research the options from the various providers—G-Call , JAL ABC , PuPuRu Wi-Fi , Vision Inc —and choose the most appropriate plan for you.
Another way to stay connected is to rent or buy a sim card. Major airports offer different data plans depending on your need. Brastel and NTT are a couple of options. You can buy a sim card at one of the electronic megastores such as Bic Camera or Yodobashi Camera. A wide range of plans are on offer, so research is recommended to find one that best suits your needs. As a rough guide, you should be able to pick one up a 1GB data plan for 30 days for around 3,000 yen.
Points to note
Big Japanese mobile providers such as Softbank and Docomo will not sell you a sim card for your foreign phone.
Your phone must be unlocked to use a sim card.
All information is correct at the time of writing. Independent research is always advised for the most up-to-date and relevant information.