Japan is a very technologically advanced country, and as such there are many places you can use wifi for free. Osaka and some other bigs cities have free Wifi hotspots, but the connection is generally pretty weak and spotty in my experience, and they often only allow you to use the wifi for short durations of time. If you are visiting and don’t want to buy a portable wifi router, here are 3 places where you can use free wifi!
Starbucks is well known throughout the world for its coffees and for its wifi policy. Starbucks is probably your best option for good free wifi. It is easy to set up. You only need an email address (just make sure to register here before your planned visit to Starbucks if you can’t use 3G or 4G in Japan). And there are no time limitations. Furthermore the signal is generally pretty good. Just be aware that there are a few Starbucks that don’t provide wifi.
Convenience stores in Japan are heaven on earth. They are so incredibly useful and, for lack of a better word, convenient. Seven-Eleven also provides free wifi. Now enrolling for the free wifi is a little bit of a pain, you have to go through several screens and give information such as your name, an email address, and read a lot of legalese. You can click here to register, but as it is in Japanese you might want to ask help with this. Once you signed up, it is fairly easy to access (click here for an explanation). You can also download the ‘Japan Connected Free Wi-Fi‘ app to make connecting easier. Note that you only can use free wifi in Seven-Eleven for 60 minutes, 3 times a day.
Family Mart is one of the biggest convenience store competitors of Seven-Eleven. So they also have free wifi. Signing up for the free wifi at Family Mart has all the same hoops as Seven-Eleven (click here for an explanation, in Japanese). It also only allows you to access their wifi at 20 minute intervals 3 times per day. But if you have a Japanese iTunes or Google Play account you can download the Family Mart app, which will allow you to access their wifi for 60 minutes at a time.
These are probably the 3 most convenient free options for using wifi in Japan, there are other options but most will charge you or have other drawbacks. Hopefully free wifi will become more common in the near future!