Keep Yourselves Connected with Wi-Fi and Internet

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The Internet is an inevitable necessity in life. Regardless of whether you are a student or a working adult, we use the Internet to obtain information and keep in touch with family and friends. Now with Wi-Fi connectivity in our hand-held devices, information is just a few clicks away.

Besides changing the way people live, it also changes the way people travel. Gone are the days where you need to find your way with a physical map. However, Internet connectivity in Japan depends on your Wi-Fi option and your telecommunication provider, and this is a tricky thing for foreigners. In this article, I will share four options of Wi-Fi and Internet access that may be useful for you in Japan.


1. Rent a Pocket Wi-Fi Router

What can you do if you are a regular Internet user, and you need to use the online map or open a document you saved online? In this case, I recommend you to rent a pocket Wi-Fi router to make your travel fuss-free. A pocket router provides a stable Wi-Fi connection and high-speed broadband. But of course, the speed depends on the package you chose.

Having a pocket Wi-Fi is like having a personal connection device. Just switch it on whenever you need to use it, or you leave it on for the whole day if it’s more convenient. The device is small and light, so the weight is not an issue. Do take note that it runs on battery, so you need to find out how long the battery can last and just charge it from time to time.

Image by Seika on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Renting this device is easy. You can make an advanced booking through online websites, arrange it to be collected it at the airport you are landing, or have it delivered to your doorstep in Japan. Do take note that some companies charge for delivery fee. To purchase online, you can check out websites such as Sakura Mobile, Pupuru, Softbank, GAC, Japan Wireless, and wi-fi rental japan.

Besides booking, an alternate option is to rent it at the airport after you have landed. However, I will still recommend booking to ensure availability. Demands are high especially during peak holiday seasons.

Pocket Wi-Fi Router Rental Shops in Airports

Below is a list of airports website links that will give you a list rental shops available in the airport under ‘Wi-Fi rental’ section. Do take note that some airport websites categorizes it under ‘Cell Phone Rental’ instead.

Narita International Airport
Haneda International Airport
Kansai Airport
Chubu Centrair International Airport
Fukuoka Airport
New Chitose Airport
Naha Airport

Now, the big question is: Which type of pocket Wi-Fi provider to choose?

There are many choices, but the regular NTT Docomo or SoftBank that comes with 4G LTE is sufficient for a wide coverage. Pocket Wi-Fi routers are only compatible with devices that support 3G or higher, so they are compatible with NTT Docomo or SoftBank’s 4G or 4G LTE. At Japan airports, most rental pocket Wi-Fi routers come with either one of these providers with 4G or 4G LTE. If you are renting through online websites, GAC and Pupuru are reliable as they have pretty good reviews. Besides that, Ninja Wi-Fi is also recommended for their competitive rates.

The rental cost varies according to the data allowance, rental period, speed connectivity, and coverage. Some rental shops do offer a discount for advance booking but do take note that this is not for all shops, so you need to find out the purchase options at the airport that you are landing.

The advantages of renting a pocket Wi-Fi router is that you can connect up to 10 devices, and it’s great to share it with your friends.


2. Prepaid Data SIM Cards

If you are spending your time mostly in urban areas, you can consider using a prepaid data SIM card. It should be sufficient for you to look up train schedules or restaurants, as well as sharing photo or video instantly with family and friends. However, do bear in mind that knowing your data usage will help you chose a prepaid package that caters to your needs.

The advantages of prepaid data SIM card is that it helps you to avoid expensive international roaming fees, and it is perfect for solo travellers. However, it can only be used on one device (smartphone or tablet), your device has to be SIM-free or unlocked, and it must support 3G or 4G. Here, I will recommend 3 types of SIM cards.

NTT Communications

NTT offers two prepaid data SIM packages: 7 days and 14 days with 100 MB per day. This will allow you to surf the web (400 webpages), send and receive text email (20,000 messages), stream videos (50 mins.), and make VoIP calls with apps (400 mins.). On top of that, the area of coverage includes both urban and rural areas. You can purchase the card online and you can find more information here.

 J Walker SIM Card

The prepaid J Walker SIM cards comes in two packages: 7 days and 15 days with 500 MB per day. The card can be bought at the special vending machine in Haneda International Airport and Okinawa Airport. If there happen to be no stated vending machine on the website, you could enquire at the Wi-Fi or cell phone rental shops in the airport instead.

CD Japan

This website offers rental data SIM cards that comes with unlimited data and fast and stable connection. There are many rental periods available, ranging from 5 days to 365 days. CD Japan’s 110 MB per day package allows you to surf web (100 webpages), use message apps (100 messages), email (20 messages), and use Facebook (100 newsfeed updates).

Recommendation

An average person uses about 3 GB per month. When you are travelling, it is best to be realistic that your data usage will be higher because you will be using online apps and updating photos and videos on social media.

I would recommend J Walker SIM card if you are a heavy data user or you constantly post your latest update on social media. If your data usage is average or lesser than average, meaning you don’t use social media that much, then the NTT prepaid data SIM card and renting from CD Japan will be for you.


3. Wi-Fi Hotspots

At the airport, after you are landed in Japan, the airport Wi-Fi will appear on your phone’s network. The airport’s Wi-Fi is free of charge so this is the best opportunity for you to contact your friends and family, and access online map before travelling to your hotel.

Besides the airport, places that provide free Wi-Fi includes McDonalds, Starbucks Coffee, and Tokyo Monorail. Using Wi-Fi hotspot at Starbucks and McDonalds requires you to register using a social network account.

In recent years, there is an increase of Wi-Fi apps catering to tourists’ needs. One useful app that I will recommend is the red colour Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi app. The Wi-Fi coverage for this app covers the whole country, so you are pretty much covered in major areas. Using this app will require you to register with an email or a social networking account.

If you are travelling to eastern Japan, you can enjoy free Wi-Fi by NTT East for a period of 14 days. To use this service, you have to get a Wi-Fi ID and download a free app called NAVITIME for Japan Travel. This ID can be obtained after you download the app or when you collect a free Wi-Fi card by presenting your passport at Tokyo Tourist Information Center in Haneda International Airport (Terminal 2F). For more information, you can visit their website.


4. Hotels

Accommodation in Japan usually provides free Internet access (with LAN cables) and Wi-Fi connection. If you need to use the LAN cable, you can request from the reception as it is usually not provided unless requested.

Conclusion

With these Internet and Wi-Fi options in mind, again I would advise you to choose one that will cater to your needs. You can calculate your data usage to find out how much you need before choosing between pocket Wi-Fi or prepaid data SIM card.

I hope this article is useful in helping you to plan your trip. Do drop us a comment if you have any questions!

JAPAN WALKER SEA Editorial Team
JAPAN WALKER SEA Editorial Team
A fun-loving group of editorial team on the mission to introduce Japanese culture and lifestyle to the masses.

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