All About Internet Options Such as Free Wi-Fi, Pocket Wi-Fi, and Prepaid SIMs in Japan!

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  • In today’s modern time, connecting to the Internet is essential in our daily lives since it makes information more accessible and easier to find. If you are planning to travel to Japan, you would want to have a stable Internet connection during your trip to avoid getting lost in a non-English speaking country. So what is the best way to access Wi-Fi that will keep you connected any time from any place in Japan, you ask? Read on to know more about the different solutions available to help you with all your travel Wi-Fi woes!

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    Different Ways to Access the Internet While Traveling in Japan

    Option 1: Buy a Prepaid SIM Card

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    Your first option is to buy a prepaid SIM card which will allow you to connect to the Internet using your current mobile phone. A good point about prepaid SIM cards is that they are easily available in various convenience stores and airports. With a SIM card, you can also prevent yourself from having to pay too much since it is prepaid.

    However, prepaid SIM cards can be difficult to set up and they usually only come with limited data, so after you have used it up all, you can’t access the Internet anymore. The connection speed also gets slower as you use up the data and cheaper SIM cards tend to offer less of it. Another con for this option, and probably the biggest one, is that you have to make sure that the device you are going to use, such as a smartphone or a tablet, can be used with the SIM card you are about to purchase. If your device is not compatible with the SIM card, then you cannot use the service and therefore cannot access the Internet.

    Option 2: Rent a Japanese Domestic Mobile Phone

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    Your second option is to rent a Japanese domestic mobile phone which is also easy to get as long as you present your passport and you have a valid credit card. With a Japanese phone, you are also able to get a local Japanese number which can be useful if you are visiting the country for business and will be meeting and contacting a lot of Japanese people.

    But then again, there are bad sides to this option. The price of using data with a rental phone could be expensive depending on where you rent it from. Aside from the data, you also have to pay for the device and other calling fees. Additionally, you can’t access the Internet with other devices aside from your rental phone.

    Option 3: Use Free Wi-Fi

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    Another option is to find free Wi-Fi and use it. Now, this may seem like the best option out of everything that we’ve discussed so far as it will cost you nothing and you can simultaneously connect with several devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.), but this is also the one with the most cons.

    Firstly, there are not so many free Wi-Fi spots in Japan as you would expect from a country who has advanced technology. As a matter of fact, according to a 2015 research by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, only 32 percent of the main train stations (defined as the stations with more than 30,000 users per day), 26 percent of national and quasi-national parks, and 11 percent of museums are covered with Wi-Fi. Thus, free Wi-Fi spots do not cover most of Japan.

    If you are lucky enough and you do find a free Wi-Fi spot, there are still quite a few things that you have to get through in order to successfully access the Internet. Most free Wi-Fi services require users to register and some of them are only available in Japanese. There are also some cases wherein you cannot use the free Wi-Fi unless you research about it in advance (e.g. Starbucks Coffee’s free Wi-Fi). If you do get to register and finally connect to the Internet, here comes another problem. Some places limit the availability of the Internet and of course, the connection could be unstable.

    Consequently, a number of foreign travelers complained about the availability of free Wi-Fi spots in Japan. On a 2011 survey conducted by Japan Tourism Agency, 36.7 percent of respondents said that the availability of public Wi-Fi is their biggest trouble when they were in Japan. Moreover, 26.1 percent said that their purpose of visiting tourist information centers is to get information on free Wi-Fi spots, but have complained about it. Similarly, many travelers have complained about the availability of places where computers are available such as Internet cafes.

    Reference: soumu.go.jp/
    Reference: mlit.go.jp/

    Option 4: Rent a Pocket Wi-Fi

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    Your fourth option is to rent a pocket Wi-Fi device that works just like your Wi-Fi router at home but is portable enough to be carried around. With this, you are able to connect to the Internet and you are not limited to using just a single device as you can use several at the same time. Additionally, pocket Wi-Fi rental services usually offer unlimited data and you need not worry about having to pay too much as the plan price is fixed.

    The only negative thing about renting a pocket Wi-Fi is that when your rental device runs out of battery, you are then unable to use the Internet. But nothing like a good power bank or extra battery pack can’t fix, right?

    What is the best option?

    After listing down the different options that are available to you and their corresponding good and bad points, what do you think is the best option? Of course, it still depends on your personal needs and preferences, but considering the number of pros and cons, the one with the most pros and the least cons is renting a pocket Wi-Fi.

    Renting a pocket Wi-Fi is probably the best option for travelers as it is the most convenient and most reliable especially when it comes to exploring around. With a portable device that can easily connect you to the Internet, you won’t get lost and will always have access to online information in times of need. As a traveler, you would be walking around for hours and if you rely on other options such as free Wi-Fi spots, you have to go look for a hotspot first before you can search for your information. Unlike when you have a pocket Wi-Fi all the time with you, you wouldn’t have to make a stop just for Internet and will have more time to explore the country instead.

    What is the best pocket Wi-Fi rental?

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    So now that we have deduced that renting a pocket Wi-Fi is the best option to have Internet access when traveling in Japan, what is the best pocket Wi-Fi rental service available in Japan?

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    There are a lot of pocket Wi-Fi rental services available throughout the country and they are offering different things at different rates. But if you want a service that will give you a flat rate rental of a pocket Wi-Fi device per day with unlimited data, then NINJA WiFi is the one for you! They offer easy-to-use pocket Wi-Fi routers that can connect multiple devices at the same time with high-speed 4G-LTE that can be used anywhere in Japan.

    What is NINJA WiFi like?

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    So what other better things does NINJA WiFi have in comparison to other similar Wi-Fi rental companies? First, NINJA WiFi’s rental plans are flexible since you can rent for just one day, one week, or however long your trip is going to be. Second, the number of places where you can get NINJA WiFi is the biggest in Japan.

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    Not only that, but their rental process is simple and easy! NINJA WiFi devices are available for pick-up at major airports, at their main office counter in Shinjuku, or for delivery. When it’s time to return your device, all you have to do is drop it in their collection boxes at airports, or give it back to a counter staff, or again have it delivered back. But if you want to avoid paying more money, the best option is to pick-up and/or return your device at airports or at their Shinjuku office counter as there would be no transaction fee. But of course, choose whatever is most convenient for your situation.

    How to Order/Reserve Your NINJA WiFi Device

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    If you are interested in renting your own NINJA WiFi, check out the details here. And if you make a reservation via this link, you can get a 10% special discount! You can also change the payment currency into your preference if you would like to. Their reservation page is pretty easy to navigate and is very user-friendly.

    Just select your pick-up and return dates and methods and select the standard plan which costs 900 yen per day (exclusive of tax). This standard plan comes in a special pouch that includes the pocket Wi-Fi device itself, a charging cable, and an instruction manual. Then, provide basic customer and payment details. There are also optional additional services available such as the 100 percent insurance plan at 300 yen per day (exclusive of tax) and an external battery for only 100 yen per day (exclusive of tax).

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    Taking into account all of these Wi-Fi options available in Japan and their respective advantages and disadvantages, we recommend travelers to rent a pocket Wi-Fi device. It is definitely the best option for you money-wise and convenience-wise! And considering what NINJA WiFi has to offer as compared to others, they are the best option for renting a pocket Wi-Fi device.

    Enjoy your pocket Wi-Fi rental device and unlimited Internet access as you travel and explore the wonders of Japan!

    NINJA WiFi Website

    NINJA WiFi’s Shinjuku Counter: