Internet Access in Japan

Complete guide to getting online in Japan for RWC 2019


A majority of hotels in Japan offer free internet in their guest rooms. A few hotels, typically some higher-end Western chains, charge for internet access based on 24 hour periods. Internet in the room is less common at ryokan (traditional Japanese hotels with mattresses on the floors). Instead, many ryokan provide wireless internet or a public computer in their lobby. Lastly, there are a few hotels and ryokan that do not provide internet access, especially in remote places, such as national parks or remote hot spring resorts.

Wireless (Wi-Fi) Hotspots

Both paid and free wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots are available across Japan that laptops, smartphones and other mobile devices can use to connect to the internet, especially around airports, train stations, convenience stores, restaurants, coffee shops and bars.

Free Wi-Fi Hotspots

Thanks to recent efforts by businesses and governments, public
Wi-Fi networks for free use by foreign tourists have become more and more readily available. You will encounter these networks at international airports, major railway stations, selected coffee, fast food and convenience store chains and many tourist information desks. Networks vary widely from easy-to-use ones to others that require cumbersome advance registrations. The following free apps and services can make connecting to free Wi-Fi hotspots easier:

  • Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi: A smartphone app that unifies the registration process of over 150,000 free tourist hotspots by numerous companies and organizations so that visitors can use them all without having to register for each service individually. Registration of some personal data is required.
  • Free Wi-Fi Passport: Two weeks (extendable) free access to approximately 400,000 Softbank hotspots at restaurants, cafes, major train stations, hotels and other locations across Japan. Registration is made by calling a toll-free number from a foreign mobile phone while connected to the Softbank network. Calling the number will get you a password that can be used on up to five devices.
  • Travel Japan Wi-Fi: A smartphone app that provides two weeks (extendable) free access to over 200,000 Wi2 hotspots across Japan.

Paid Wi-Fi Hotspots

Paid Wi-Fi hotspots are more common than free ones, although a few of the major networks make at least parts of their services available for free to foreign tourists. Otherwise, they may allow paid, short term access on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. A one-day pass typically costs around 500-800 yen and gives you access to all of that company’s locations for a 24-hour period. Registration interfaces are often only provided in Japanese, and some services require a Japanese credit card or address. The following are a few of the rare nationwide services that provide English registration interfaces and accept foreign credit cards:

  • DoCoMo Wi-Fi for visitor: This service offers foreign tourists access to 150,000 high-speed access spots nationwide for 388 yen per day, 972 yen per week or 1404 yen for three weeks.
  • Wi2: 200,000 locations at hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and public spaces nationwide. Various plans are available from six-hour to week long packages. Foreign visitors can get free access to this network via the Travel Japan Wi-Fi app described above.
  • Softbank Wi-Fi Spot: Hundreds of thousands of hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, shops and public spaces nationwide. Generally targeted at Softbank subscribers, but 24-hour plans are also available to non-subscribers. Those with a foreign phone can get free access to this network via Softbank’s Free Wi-Fi Passport system described above.
  • Skype WiFi: A partnership between Skype and several major Wi-Fi providers allows you to use the Skype WiFi application to bypass the Japanese login and pay for internet access in your own currency via your Skype account. Usage is charged by the minute and relatively expensive.

Personal Hotspots

Personal hotspots (also called mifi, portable hotspot, personal Wi-Fi, pocket Wi-Fi, etc.) are small, battery powered devices that use the cellular phone network to create a local wireless network. They are easy to set up, provide reasonably fast internet, work anywhere there is cell phone service, allow multiple devices to connect at once and are relatively inexpensive. Personal hotspots are available to rent on a daily basis at major Japanese airports or via the internet for delivery to your home or hotel. We recommend a rental provider like Ninja Wifi.

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