A Traveler's Guide to Getting Online in Japan
For most travelers, being able to access a network and get online is essential, allowing you to chat with family and friends while sharing your adventures.
However, if you don’t want to prepare your internet connection before arriving in Japan, there are plenty of ways you can access Japan’s network once you touch down.
Preparing before your trip
SIM card rental / Prepaid / Pocket Wifi
Pocket Wi-Fi routers, international SIM cards, and devices with roaming data are all secure ways of accessing the internet that can be prepared in your home country before heading to Japan.
A simple Google or Amazon search will reveal plenty of cheap and easy-to-use options. Alternatively, you can opt for a reliable pocket Wi-Fi or SIM card rental with japan-wireless.com that can be booked before your departure.
Get a pocket Wi-Fi device or SIM in Japan
SIM & WiFi rental at the Airport
Even if you forget to prepare a Wi-Fi device or SIM card in advance, you can also rent them at Japanese airports on the day of arrival. You can rest assured that the staff at these specialized counters are accustomed to handling such requests and will have you connected in no time.
Now that SIMs are sold at convenience stores and shops such as Bic Camera, it’s also easy to find them there without too much hassle.
Buses and trains
In recent years, complimentary Wi-Fi has become available on buses traveling from Narita Airport into Tokyo, as well as on some trains, such as the Narita Express and Shinkansen. So check when you get on the bus or train if it’s available and follow the instructions to connect.
Almost all hotels in Japan will offer complimentary Wi-Fi for guests to use, which is a safe and convenient way to log on and stay in touch with people back home. However, the only downside is that it’s not accessible when you leave the hotel or are out and about sightseeing.
If you have trouble in the city
Convenient store locations / Free WiFi spots
If your smartphone or pocket Wi-Fi device is running out of battery while you’re sightseeing or you get separated from the friends you’re sharing a connection with, look for a Starbucks or McDonald’s, which both offer free Wi-Fi to patrons.
If you’re not sure where to find them, use the “Map” function of JapanTravel by NAVITIME. It reveals free Wi-Fi hotspots located nearby, as well as convenience stores and tourist information centers that offer Wi-Fi. It's better to download it in advance so that you can access it even without a network connection.
Japanese cafe chains to memorize
Excelsior Caffé free WiFi
Aside from Starbucks and McDonald’s, other major Japanese cafe chains that offer complimentary Wi-Fi include Doutor Coffee, Tully’s Coffee, Caffè Veloce, and Excelsior Caffé. It’s worth remembering their names (just in case you need a connection), although some branches may not have Wi-Fi service available.