Your smartphone can be your greatest ally when visiting Japan. Being able to access apps like Google Maps or reading Accessible Japan reviews will undoubtedly make your stay there even more fantastic. If you’re travelling to Japan and want to stay connected during your visit, here are your options – and everything you need to know about using the Internet in Japan.
According to the law (“Mobile Phone Improper Use Prevention Act”), a tourist or visitor who doesn’t have a residential address in Japan cannot obtain a voice-call-capable SIM card. You can, however, buy a data-only cards or rent Pocket WiFi devices.
One sure-fire way to stay connected during your trip to Japan is to buy a prepaid SIM card.
SIM cards can be purchased at the airport, major electronics stores, and even some convenience stores. You can also pre-order SIM cards with free shipping to your hotel or the airport from places like Sakura Mobile or Mobal.
If you are traveling as a group or have multiple devices (phone, laptop, etc), then a pocket WiFi router is by far the best option.
The small router connects to the 4G network automatically and your device connects to the router via WiFi. This works great for groups as multiple devices can connect to one router and can be cheaper than getting multiple SIM cards. Sakura Mobile and Ninja Wifi offer a pocket WiFi routers with delivery to your hotel or the airport.
WiFi (limited, but available)
Of course, you can still use the Internet even if you don’t have a prepaid data SIM card or Pocket Wifi. Wireless Internet is generally limited compared to North America or Europe, but still available at certain places. The government is working with various local organizations to fix this, and free Wi-Fi Hotspots are getting more and more common. As a tourist, you can download the Japan Connected Free Wi-Fi app to find and connect with one of the 130,000 access points located at various airports, train stations and Japan’s major sightseeing spots.
The majority of hotels and some selected coffee shops, fast food chains and convenience stores might also offer free Wi-Fi hotspots. Keep in mind that there are some hotspots that are limited to specific wireless carriers.
Apart from the Japan Connected free Wi-Fi app, there are other products that might make finding a Wi-Fi hotspot easier. Travel Japan Wi-Fi will provide you with two-week long free access to over 60,000 hotspots all around Japan. You can increase the number of hotspots to over 200,000, if you pay for a premium account.
Additionally, all major airports have free Wi-Fi hotspots – these include the Kansai International Airport, Narita Airport, Haneda International Airport and others.
While not as convenient as many other countries, if you are willing to pay, you can easily get internet access while on the go in Japan. In addition to Google Maps and other travel apps, you can use your internet access to find accessible restaurants toilets with apps like BMaps and WheeLog! – which may be worth the cost in a pinch!!
Disclaimer: Things change fast in technology. This information may have changed in the time since it was first published.