How much do you know about Internet and Wi-fi in Japan? Here are some things that you can expect when you arrive.
Internet For Temporary Stay in Japan
For a temporary stay in Japan, there really are very few options on how you can get access to the Internet, though with these few options there is a lot of competition. The two most popular options for a short-term plan is with prepaid data using either a portal Wi-Fi router or a SIM card for your smartphone. (Use our Prepaid SIM card competitor comparison to find out which SIM plan is best for your needs.)
Another way would be to pay for Internet access at your hotel. It is free in most cases except for some hotel chains that charge a fee of up to 2000 yen for one day.
You can hop around looking for Wi-Fi hotspots but you will be competing for access or you will have to buy something from the establishment to get the access password. It’s inconvenient for long periods and not always instant. For some places, one has to book in advance to use the Wi-Fi. The free Wi-Fi may also be limited to certain devices, language, or content.
Companies That Offer Pocket WiFi for Short Term Visitors in Japan
Besides buying Wi-Fi hotspots, there are several companies in Japan offering rental services for pocket Wi-Fi to short term visitors. It’s the ideal plan because it guarantees a continuous and steady internet connection at an affordable price. You will not be required to buy a 600 yen cup of coffee just to get internet access in a coffee shop or restaurant.
Image Source: pupuru.com
Some of the top companies you can choose from are:
Sakura mobile is a mobile, pocket wifi, and SIM provider in Japan. They offer LTE data with up to 150Mbps in Metropolitan areas with English support. Operating under DoCoMo network, they provide LTE Data SIM for rent starting from 5150Jpy for 3GB + 50 Jpy per day.
They also have Mobile Routers for rent starting from 5300 Jpy+ 100Jpw per day. As far as convenience, they deliver the devices to you anywhere in Japan and will come to pick them up anywhere or you can drop it off at the nearest post box.
Pupuru happens to be the number one pocket Wi-Fi rental company that offers other services like router and mobile rentals. The company was established in 1987 and delivers anywhere in Japan. They currently have 4 plans including a 2-in-1 plan for a mobile phone and router. The basic rental fee starts at 380 yen a day or pay 6,000 yen for 10 days on a pre-paid plan. Their Wi-Fi plans are currently being offered discounted starting at 2,000 yen for 4 days up to 8,000 yen for 31 days. However, the best part about approaching Pupuru is the fact that they never seem to run out of devices unlike other companies that can come up empty when you approach them randomly and without notice.
eMobile which is marketed by eAccess Japan was a slow starter in the mobile phone business but starting 2009, their popularity grew as they were able to expand and provide coverage to 90% of the country’s population. They offer pocket Wi-Fi which has a standard battery life of 6 hours. The Internet speed is phenomenal and steady unless you are in the basement of a building. Their Wi-Fi uses LTE and 3G networks and they will deliver the device to you after you book a rental contract with them online. They offer a range of 5 to 45 days contract starting at 4,980 yen for 5 days and 12,800 yen for 45 days.
Veltra is a travel and tour company based in Japan that has begun to offer pocket Wi-Fi rentals. The minimum contract time is 3 days and can go as long as 45 days. The 3 day plan costs 2,980 yen and increases gradually to 12,800 yen for 45 days. Fees are inclusive of taxes and delivery. They do not allow refunds for shortened rental periods and will charge 1,000 yen for every day after rental contract that you fail to return the device.
The rental plans for pocket Wi-Fi from Japan Wireless is based on Mbps starting with 21 Mbps at 3G that can connect 5 devices at the same time and costs 3,300 yen for the first day to 9,950 yen for 30 days. They also have 42 Mbps 3G that costs 3,700 yen for one day up to 11,800 yen for 30 days. The last choice is 75 Mbps for 10 devices with a price of 4,250 yen for the first day up to 13,100 for 30 days.
This pocket Wi-Fi rental company has 4 plans to choose from and is based on internet speed. The lowest plan costs from 252 to 420 yen a day at 300K. The next plan is for 1G and is their standard speed and costs 256 to 1,577 yen a day up to 30 days. The third plan is also standard speed and costs a minimum of 343 yen a day but has more features. The high speed pocket Wi-Fi costs 432 to 1,080 a day and is their unlimited plan.
Don’t like carrying around extra devices?
Another option for short term travelers is to buy paid Wi-Fi hotspots. There are several choices like daily, weekly, or monthly access costing approximately 300 to 800 yen per day. For many though, renting a personal hotspot is the ideal set-up because you are renting a personal Wi-Fi, battery-powered device that connects quickly and almost anywhere in the country where there is a cell signal. The last option is renting a Smartphone or USB modem, both of which use cellular signal to access the net.
Two other Internet channels that are fast losing their popularity are the prepaid Internet cards because one’s mobile phone will have to be an open line without an existing plan, and the international roaming which is expensive and can hit you hard with an astronomical bill by the time you get back home.
Recently, Flets offers tourists or foreigner only free wifi apps and connection spots. Check out their website for where you can find them.