How to access portable wifi in Japan
….. because free wifi in Japan won’t get you by.
Recently we organised a holiday and investigated the best way to access portable wifi in Japan. We realised that being able to use Google Maps, translation apps and check train connections and timetables would be invaluable on our trip (not to mention uploading photos to make our friends and family jealous!). And for everyone, accessing portable wifi in Japan (or anywhere for that matter) should be something that you put in your must have items, especially if you’re doing a hike along the Kumano Kodo or Nakasendo routes, or driving along in the middle of nowhere, lost in Hokkaido.
Wifi in Japan
Being a technologically advanced nation, wifi covers virtually the whole country (as you would expect) and if you’re travelling to the one of the many tourist hotspots, you’ll certainly find coverage. However, if you think that you’ll be able to easily access free wifi in Japan, you’ll be sadly mistaken.
Access to the internet is actually a bit (lot) more difficult than you might think.
Isn’t there free internet in Japan?
Yes, there is free wifi in Japan, but it’s usually limited and it’s not always where you need it. Free wifi can be found, usually, in your hotel, at major train stations, at 7-11 stores and other various sites around Japan. Some buses and the Narita Express now have free wifi. However, restaurants, cafes and other places where you usually find your free wifi at home are probably not going to offer free wifi in Japan!
Shinkansens do not have free wifi, so that 3 or 4-hour bullet train ride will leave you with not much to do other than stare out the window as the countryside of Japan speeds past.
You can find free wifi apps that you can then use to access all the free wifi in Japan that you could ever need…. but if you don’t have wifi…. how can you find it!
You may find a place with a free wifi sign and you get excited and think ‘Great, I’ll upload a new status on Facebook and search Google for the time of that next train I need to catch’. (If you are in a place like Kushimoto, you’ll need to be certain that you know when the next train is!!!). So, you turn on your wifi, find the signal and it takes you to the log-in page……. after 10 minutes…….and it’s in Japanese. Can you understand what it’s saying? Most visitors to Japan wouldn’t and…. it’s another failed attempt to get free internet in Japan.
We are in the business of travel to Japan and we wanted to use a Pocket WiFi router that was reliable, quick and gave us enough data for the trip. After investigating most of the providers of portable wifi in japan and spending many, many hours comparing features, speed, data and cost, we came up with the best solution for us…..and probably for you too (we’ve already done the hard work so you don’t have to!).
What did we choose for our portable wifi in Japan?
We used the eConnect pocket wifi router. This router allows you to connect up to 10 devices and gives you high speed (up to 187.5 Mbps) access to the internet virtually anywhere in Japan. Having a single device between the two of us was ideal…and cost efficient. If you’re travelling in a group, a single portable wifi router can be a cheap and convenient way to stay connected. eConnect have various plans to suit your data requirements. Yes, the download speed will slow down if you go over the limit (and that’ll only happen if you keep streaming your Netflix when you should be enjoying your holiday!), but you can purchase extra data if that happens.
A wifi router is about the same dimensions as smart phone, but a bit thicker. It’s simple to charge it up each night at the hotel. In the morning, I just switched it on and popped it into my backpack for whenever we needed to check some directions. We never had to worry about battery life, because it comes with a spare power bank.
One day, we were running late to get to our allotted time to begin our go-kart tour of Tokyo. Without the wifi router we would have missed out on one of the most amazing experiences anyone could possibly have in Japan!! We simply logged on to our emails and contacted the tour company to let them know we’d be a few minutes late. They replied pretty quickly and said they’d wait for us. We knew that our rush to get there would not end up in disappointment. The next 3 hours racing go-carts around the streets of Tokyo was seriously one of the best times of my life.
Imagine missing out on what could be the best moment, the best place, the most important time in your life……because you couldn’t access the internet.
If you’d like further information on eConnect, or to order your device, click here to access the eConnect website. I highly recommend this device for your portable wifi in Japan!