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Pocket Wifi in Japan – Everything you need to know

International roaming charges are insane and finding your way around Japan without access to the internet will likely drive you insane. Imagine it’s 10pm, you and your husband, your wife, perhaps your kids, have finally managed to get yourselves on the express train from Tokyo’s Narita airport to the city, after a long haul flight. This is when you remember that the instructions on how to get to your accomodation is a link in an email that you can’t access… you’re not online. Pocket Wifi in Japan – Everything you need to know is in this post.

Free Wifi options

There’s a few tricks that can get you around having to pay. It largely depends on how much travel you will be doing. We often stay in Airbnb listings, many of which will offer a pocket wifi as part of the deal. If you are going with this sort of accomodation and sticking to one area then you’re sorted, all you have to do is figure out your transfers, which are made easier by the free wifi in most airports. Most of the bigger train stations, many restaurants, cafes and shopping precincts also offer free wifi, the only catch is you could spend much of your holiday time creating logins and giving away your email address.
 
Pocket Wifi Japan
 

Pocket Wifi or Mobile Wifi rental, Phone and Sim card rental is common in Japan. Essentially you are hiring a device that allows you to get online remotely through all of your own devices without the concern of international roaming charges. They are extremely easy to use, once you’ve picked it up all you need to do is turn it on and use the password provided to logon. Keeping it charged is you’re only concern.

There are many pocket wifi models that will vary in speed and coverage and you’ll pay accordingly, so it will pay to do your homework. I’m going to take most of the hard work out of it for you by listing most of the known providers in the Japanese universe, their rates and options. I’ve left out a few that were less geared toward foreigners or not so English speaking friendly. I’ve listed providers that will do domestic pocket wifi rental, many will offer phone and sim card rentals also, best to follow the links to confirm. Most providers will deliver the device to your accomodation for around ¥1000, but assuming you will want something sooner it would make sense to start at day one or more accurately, hour one, the moment you touch down in Japan, so I’ve created a list of Japan’s airports and what wifi rental services are available and will cover them in a tick.

Translation Devices

These are starting to become popular, we’ve never used one so can’t vouch for there effectiveness, but I’ve listed the providers that stock them. They need to access online to work so the advantage of hiring one is that they will already have a data plan with them. You can buy them from between $100 – $300, I’ve listed a few below. If you do or don’t get one, watch the below video, may be I’m showing my age but it’s pretty cool.

Train, Airport & Rental Wifi

Whether it be train and bus stations or the trains and buses themselves, public transport in Japan is usually a consistent provider of free wifi. All airports provide free in-house wifi and most have an IT corner where you can get online (you’ll need to select a disclaimer and maybe even create a login). Read on for lots of details.

Trains

Airport Express Services

Many express trains from the airports do have free wifi on the trains themselves but from what we’ve experienced so far, they’ve been patchy at best. JR-West operate both of the below express services , you can access wifi (sort of) in the carriages with the wifi stickers – JR-WEST Free Wi-Fi (you’ll need to log-on via social media)
N’EX from Narita Airport to Tokyo
HARUKA, Osaka’s Kansai-Airport Express from Osaka to Kyoto

Shinkansen – Bullet train

There’s mixed opinions/reports on wifi reception. It depends on the model train, the route and the terrain eg. tunnels and mountains. As of the summer of 2018 all the lines will have free wifi on offer as well as some having “wifi hotspots”, which by all reports are effective. But don’t expect super connections on your pocket wifi rental without the help of a “hotspot”. Perhaps it’s time to put the device down, look out the window and consider how fast you are going… second thoughts, perhaps there’s a good reason to distract yourself.
 
Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
 

Wifi Rental from the airports

If you are going to rent a mobile wifi unit from the moment you land in Japan it might pay to book one in advance and just take the paperwork directly to their counter in the airport. I’ve knocked up a quick graphic for easy reference for each airport, the colour coding indicates whether they provide pocket wifi rental (at the time of writing) and phone rental, so be sure to read on to check which providers have representation at which airport.

With regards to Pocket Wifi rental and Phone and Sim Card rental payment, you will settle the bill in most cases, on return but you will need confirmation if you booked ahead and a drivers license/passport.

Tokyo – Narita Airport

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: FreeWiFi-NARITA
Whilst the below providers have counters at Narita, they can mainly be found in terminals 1 & 2. The opening hours and counter locations are all over the place for these providers as some of them act as third parties for the other,  best to check this link to confirm.
Pocket Wifi Rental:
AIR’S
GLOBAL ADVANCED COM
GENKI MOBILE
WIFI RENTAL STORE
WIFI-HIRE.COM
G-CALL
JAL ABC
JAPAEMO
PUPURU
SOFTBANK
ANY FONE JAPAN
TELECOM SQUARE
JAPAN WIFI
NINJA WIFI
JAPAN WIRELESS – Post office pick up

Tokyo – Haneda Airport

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: HANEDA-FREE-WIFI
Whilst the below providers have counters at Narita, they can mainly be found in terminals 1 & 2. The opening hours and counter locations are all over the place for these providers as some of them act as third parties for the other,  best to check this link to confirm.
Pocket Wifi & Phone Rental:
ANY FONE JAPAN
XCOM GLOBAL
SOFTBANK
TELECOM SQUARE
NINJA WIFI
JAPAN WIRELESS – Post office pick up

Osaka – Kansai Airport

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: FreeWiFi@KIX
Pocket Wifi & Phone Rental:
Domestic terminal 4f & International 1f –
WIFI-HIRE.COM
ANY FONE JAPAN
SOFTBANK
TELECOM SQUARE
GLOBAL WIFI
JAL ABC
PUPURU – Pick up at JAL ABC Counters
JAPAN WIFI
NINJA WIFI
JAPAN WIRELESS – Post office pick up

Asahikawa Airport

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: asahikawa-airport
Pocket Wifi & Phone Rental:
NINJA WIFI

Fukuoka

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: NewChitose_Airport_Free_Wi-Fi
Pocket Wifi Rental:
Domestic terminal – None
International Terminal 1F
WIFI-HIRE.COM
TISCO JAPAN
TELECOM SQUARE
XCOM GLOBAL
NINJA WIFI

Kagoshima

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: Kagoshima-Airport_Wi-Fi
Pocket Wifi Rental:
There is a return box only at the International Terminal Building 1F –
GLOBAL WIFI

Kumamoto

Pocket-Wifi-Japan
Free In-house Wifi: kumamoto-free-wifi
Pocket Wifi Rental: none

Matsuyama

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: Matsuyama_Airport_Free_Wi-Fi
Pocket Wifi Rental: none

Miyazaki

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: none (there may be pay service Wifi)
Pocket Wifi Rental:
GLOBAL WIFI

Nagoya – Chubu Centrair Airport

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: FreeWiFi-centrair
Prepaid SIM – Vending machine @ arival lobby 2f
Pocket Wifi & Phone Rental:
Arricals 2f –
SOFTBANK
Departures 3f –
XCOM GLOBAL
TELECOM SQUARE
WIFI-HIRE.COM
NINJA WIFI
JAPAN WIRELESS – Post office pick up

Oita

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: OitaAirport-WiFi
Pocket Wifi Rental: none

Okinawa – Naha Airport

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: NAHA CITY FREE Wi-Fi (also available in specific locations around Okinawa)
Pocket Wifi Rental (some do phone rental):
International Terminal 1 Arrival Lobby (next to information counter) –
WIFI-HIRE.COM
SOFTBANK
TELECOM SQUARE
GLOBAL WIFI
JAL ABC
PUPURU – Pick up at JAL ABC Counters
JAPAN WIFI
NINJA WIFI
JAPAN WIRELESS – Post office pick up

Sapporo – New Chitose Airport

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: NewChitose_Airport_Free_Wi-Fi
Pocket Wifi Rental:
Domestic terminal –
WIFI-HIRE.COM
International –
TELECOM SQUARE
NINJA WIFI
JAPAN WIRELESS – Post office pick up

Takamatsu

Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know
Free In-house Wifi: KAGAWA-WiFi
Pocket Wifi Rental:
TELECOM SQUARE

Rental Providers, Plans & Comparisons

Providers tend to offer cheaper rates the longer you rent, but not always. I’ve listed a short term (1-3 days), 7 days and month long rate where applicable. Check their sites if you have specific requirements outside of these. Delivering the units to your accomodation is common, most provide this service but the fees listed  are a one-way charge, assuming you will either drop it off at your out-going airport or post it back to them. Be sure to confirm your out-going airport has a drop-off point.

Please note, there are lots of extra charges, for example some providers will charge a fee to deliver the unit to the airport even if they have counter representation, be sure to confirm what the delivery charge covers and check the “add-ons”.

PROVIDERS  POCKET WIFI & PHONE RATES ¥  TRANSLATOR  DATA ¥  DELIVERY ¥
AIR’S Wifi: 1500/day, 7350/7 days
Simple phone: 250/per day, 50 per minute domestic calls
 NO  UNLIMITED Only at Tokyo Narita Airport
GLOBAL ADVANCED COM  Wifi: 1450/day (first 4 days), 700/day (5th & later days)
Smart Phone: 8,000/ week, 27 – 45 per minute Dom. ~ Int.
 NO  UNLIMITED  NO
GENKI MOBILE Wifi: 300/day (2GB/day is 500/day), 200/day 60 days
Smart Phone: none
Sim: Short-Term 1GB/day 3000
NO 1GB then slows  FREE
 WIFI RENTAL STORE  Wifi: 450/day (third party store) 6750/per month  NO  UNLIMITED  540
 WIFI-HIRE.COM Wifi: 2680/1~3days 5580/7days  NO  UNLIMITED  540
 G-CALL  Wifi: 350/day – 5000/month  NO  n/a  n/a
 JAL ABC  Wifi: 1290/day
Smartphone: Dom. and Int. Calling available 250/day – Dom. 80/min – Int. 180/ min
Sim: 4000/7 days 5500/14 days
 NO  n/a  750
JAPAEMO Wifi: 999/day
Smart Phone: 199 / day (¥54/30 secs)
 NO  500
 PUPURU  Wifi: 800/day
Smart Phone: Basic Fee 1500 /phone then 400/day, Dom. ¥40/30 sec. Int. ¥65~ /30sec. Data – ¥0.4 /packet (1 packet=128 bytes)
YES
300/day
 UNLIMITED  1000
 SOFTBANK
ANY FONE JAPAN
 Wifi: 840/day, Admin fee: 315
Smart Phone: 210/day
Simple Phone: 260/day (110/min)
 NO  0~970/day  1000
TELECOM SQUARE  Wifi: 1296/day – fixed, Max 75mbps
Smart Phone: 1296/day – Max 112.5mbps Data, Dom. calls under 10 mins free (international not available)
 NO  n/a  1000
 NINJA WIFI  Wifi: 900/day  NO UNLIMITED  500
 JAPAN WIRELESS  Wifi: 3950 / day, 5850/7 days
Sim: 3000/7 days
 NO  n/a  n/a

 


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Pocket Wifi Japan - Everything you need to know