Internet connection in Japan

Updated: 20:50 at 25th, Aug.

Public Free Wi-Fi Service

In Japan, public free Wi-Fi service isn’t relatively sufficient for the primary access to the internet.   Those spots are basically operated by shop by shop, and aren’t integrated for singular sign-in system.  You must generally pay some for that purpose.   However, Japan Connected Wi-Fi application will be useful for searching and using the free public Wi-Fi spots.  It supports more than 130,000 free spots.    Please mind the security if you use public Wi-Fi service.  In general, those are provided without any encryption.   Inside the Hotel Kuwarubi (our primary accommodation during AYLC2015), there is free Wi-Fi spots.

 Mobile Network Operators

Outside the coverage of public Wi-Fi service, you need mobile network line.  There are three major communication companies, Docomo, au and Softbank, and many cheaper MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) companies which rent lines from major carriers.  You can rent their SIM card or mobile Wi-Fi router at airports, stations or shops of electrical appliances.

Rental SIM cards

If you already have any SIM-free smartphone (ex. iPhone) or mobile Wi-Fi router, our recommendation is to use ‘Japan Travel SIM‘ operated by IIJ (Internet Initiative Japan).   The price is about 2,500 yen for 1GB/30days, or 3,800 yen for 2GB/3months (without tax, price varies for each shops).  There are retail shops either in Narita International Airport, or Chubu Centrair International Airport.  Although Japan Travel SIM uses NTT Docomo’s 3G and LTE networks, their band of frequency may differ from yours.   Please check the list of tested devices before your decision.   In general, SIM unlocked iPhone or iPad usually supports major Japanese band.

Rental mobile Wi-Fi routers

If you don’t have any devices which support Japanese band, or if you want to share single line with friends, you need to rent mobile Wi-Fi router.  There are several options according to your purpose.   If you need to upload or download movies and many photos, it is better to choose a plan of unlimited amount of data.   It costs about 1,000 yen per day without tax.    Some of carriers are listed below.   However, please mind that ‘unlimited’ mentioned above doesn’t mean literally.   It usually means ‘rationally justified amount’.

  • Ninja Wi-Fi  900yen + tax / day, unlimited data transfer
  • Wi-Fi Hire  ex. 5,580yen + tax / 7days, unlimited data transfer