Dec
10
2016

Mobile Wi-Fi Rental in Japan

When you’re in Japan, you probably need to look up some tourist information, check timetables or use Google Maps.
In order to do so, you need Wi-Fi / internet access.

While the free Wi-Fi spots’ situation in Japan has improved quite a bit in recent years, it’s still not good enough.

 

Why You Need Mobile Wi-Fi in Japan

Last year when I went to Japan as tourist for the first time since moving back home, it was a horrible experience for me to suddenly have no mobile Wi-Fi access anymore.
I was used to travelling throughout Japan while having a Japanese smartphone.
With that I could access all the necessary information easily.
Suddenly being without 24/7 access was difficult indeed.
I sometimes cancel hotels last-minute and change my entire itinerary (e.g. when a typhoon approaches etc.).
Only having access to the internet at certain spots in Japan isn’t going to help in such situations.

Mobile Wi-Fi rental in Japan

So, this time I decided to give mobile Wi-Fi rental in Japan a try.

Where To Get Mobile Wi-Fi in Japan?

I googled and found several websites offering it.
Eventually I decided to go with the pocket Wi-Fi offered by Japan Experience on:
https://www.japan-rail-pass.com/
The prices looked okay and it’s also a trustworthy provider.

With most providers you can choose between different models.
The price varies depending on the model and the amount of time you need to rent the device.

The great thing about renting a mobile Wi-Fi device is that you can pick it up at the airport or at your hotel.
Returning it is just as easy. You can either give it back at the airport or use the already stamped envelope to return it by throwing it into any mailbox in Japan. It’s easy as that.

Mobile Wi-Fi rental in Japan

When I arrived at my hotel in Asakusa, the envelope with the device was handed to me right away.
All the necessary information was included as well as a charger and a bag to carry it around.
It’s so easy that you don’t even need instructions and it worked right away. It was also fully charged, so I could leave the hotel with my mobile Wi-Fi device switched on, doing its job.

This time I didn’t travel to extremely deserted places, but I went into the mountains of Nagano and even there I had no reception issues at all.
I was also very content with the speed of the internet.
I mainly used it for sharing photos on social media, e-mails and apps that helped me with planning my trip (train schedules, Google maps) etc.
It all worked just fine.

The only thing you have to be careful about is that the battery might run out after half a day, so it’s good if you carry around a charger / power bank.

I will definitely rent a mobile Wi-Fi device again next time.

Mobile Wi-Fi rental in Japan

Other Options for Mobile Internet Access in Japan

Of course, there are other options if you want to access the internet in Japan.

As mentioned before there are several free Wi-Fi spots in Japan, but for me that just doesn’t work out. You’re bound to that one spot where you have access. I wanted to meet a friend at Kyoto Station, but couldn’t leave the free Wi-Fi spot area as I didn’t receive any messages anymore as soon as I left. VERY annoying. So, this option comes with a lot of limitations!

You could also get a Japanese SIM card for your phone.
I might try this next time, but I think for me the pocket wi-fi option works best.

Let me know what you’ve been using in Japan and how you liked it.
If you have any other suggestions that haven’t been mentioned yet, let me know in the comments below.

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