When travelling to Japan getting connected online may seem like a bit of an impossible and confusing task, however this isn’t really the case. With the correct tools and information, connecting to the Internet can be seamless and easy. There are three main ways to get online while in Japan:
- sim cards
- mobile hot spots
- pocket Wi-Fi.
These all have their own advantages and drawbacks, but all ultimately complete the task of getting you online. Getting connected in Japan is important not only because it allows you to show off the amazing scenery and beautiful food to the online world, but it also makes travelling around exponentially easier. The majority of streets in Japan don’t have street names, so being able to use Google maps while walking around will ensure that you don’t get lost, while allowing you to easily find those hidden gems.
There are two ways to use sim cards to connect to the Internet while in Japan. Either you can use your own sim card through the use of data roaming, or you can purchase a data sim card while in Japan. The use of data roaming is the easier of the two, as no internal settings on the phone need to be changed for it to work. It is usually much more expensive however, and not all service providers offer this in Japan. The second way is to purchase a data sim card in Japan. These can be purchased at the airport, or at the majority of BicCamera stores. These are much more cost effective compared to data roaming, as differing amounts of data can be purchased depending on how much is needed. The major downsides to using these are that phones needs to be owned outright (they need to be unlocked) for it to work, and internal settings in the phone also need to be changed, which can be quite confusing and stressful.
In some areas of Japan there are Wi-Fi hotspots scattered around that can be connected to. These include hotspots that are free to use and hot spots that need to be paid for. These are a good option, as little to no planning is needed to use them and they are quite cost-effective. Places such as Starbucks. Convenience stores and some major city areas offer free Wi-Fi to the public. It can be very frustrating relying on these however, as some phones have difficulty connecting to certain types of free Wi-Fi and it can be difficult finding the next mobile hot spot, especially in quieter parts of the city, on public transport or in rural areas. Another major downside to using these hotspots is that they are much less secure than the other options. To connect to a majority of the free Wi-Fi hotspots, an email address will need to be entered and a prompt will be given, informing that the connection is not secure, due to it being offered to multiple people at once.
Pocket Wi-Fi seems more expensive than some of the options, –potentially (except for data roaming with your own sim card) The benefits out weigh the cost as it is the easiest to use, allows the use of locked phones (phones still being paid for on a limited plan) to connect and multiple users and devices can be connected on one pocket wifi.
The device does need to be charged, however usually they only need a couple hours of charging and can easily last up to nine hours. Pocket Wi-Fi is a great option for people traveling in groups, or those with multiple devices, as it allows more than one device to be connected to it at a time. And if you divide the charges between your group you can see that it ends up being less expensive than everyone getting sim cards. Pocket Wi-Fi is the most reliable of all the options, as it the easiest to set up, meaning that more time will be spent enjoying your travels in Japan, rather than stressing about how to set up your sim card, or where the next mobile hot spot is.
Our Arigato team has tried a few different services and for speed, battery life and easy rental and return we recommend PuPuRu wifi services. They also offer a new device Pocket Talk translator which you can bundle with your pocket wifi if you like.