Internet access has become an integral part of our daily lives and is even more crucial when we are traveling abroad. Imagine being in a foreign land not having access to navigation tools, messaging, email, translation apps, online booking, and more.
Fortunately, with options such as public Wi-Fi networks, pocket Wi-Fi, eSIMs, physical SIMs, and smartphone rentals, you do not need to worry about relinquishing access to these comforting and necessary tools.
To determine which option is best for you, please review our comprehensive guide to internet access in Japan below. Without further ado, let’s jump in!
Public Wi-Fi networks
Japan is home to a number of easily accessible locations that offer free Wi-Fi, including convenience stores (konbini in Japanese), cafes, fast-food restaurants, accommodations, airports, and select train stations and lines.
Please refer to our article about free Wi-Fi at convenience stores, cafes, and fast-food restaurants in Japan for detailed information about these services.
For information about Wi-Fi services at accommodations, airports, and train stations, please see the table below.
|Locations||Companies providing Wi-Fi|
Please check your accommodation’s website for specific details on complimentary Wi-Fi
Most major airports in Japan
|Train stations / train lines||Tokyo Metro |
*Wi-Fi is also available on almost all Shinkansen bullet train lines
- Not all locations for the chain convenience stores, cafes, and restaurants offer Wi-Fi
- Most free Wi-Fi services have time limits (i.e. 60-minute session, up to five times per day)
- As these are public Wi-Fi networks, there can be issues with speed and security
- It can be difficult to find reliable public Wi-Fi networks outside of Japan’s urban areas.
Instead of hopping from place to place in search of Wi-Fi, why not carry the Wi-Fi with you? Pocket Wi-Fi are portable Wi-Fi routers that offer reliable and secure internet connection across Japan. Pocket Wi-Fi provides simultaneous internet connection to multiple devices, so it is especially useful when traveling with a group or carrying multiple devices . These services typically offer easy pick up and drop off—with the airport being a popular place for pick up and mailing being a common option for drop off.
There are a lot of companies that offer pocket Wi-Fi in Japan, so be sure to review our in-depth guide to pocket Wi-Fi in Japan when selecting your ideal product.
- Ideally, you should order your pocket Wi-Fi three to seven days before your trip
- We recommend that you also purchase a power bank to charge your router (if it’s not already included in the Wi-Fi rental service)
- Pocket Wi-Fi is generally secure as your connection is private
- If you do not want to worry about loss or damage to your pocket Wi-Fi, you can add insurance by paying an extra fee
- Pocket Wi-Fi is compatible with all phones
- If you travel in a group with one pocket Wi-Fi, you will have to stick together at all times to access the internet
- You will need to charge the router daily and carry it around with you
eSIM & SIM cards
If you do not want to carry around another piece of equipment, such as a Pocket Wi-Fi, during your travels, an eSIM or physical SIM card is another great option for internet access in Japan. Both eSIMs and SIM cards allow you to connect to the internet from your own phone without having to worry about finding a Wi-Fi spot.
For the physical SIM card option, you will need to swap out your current SIM with the travel SIM. eSIMs on the other hand are virtual SIMs that you can install on your phone directly without needing to remove your personal SIM. Most new mobile phones have eSIM capabilities, however be sure to check your phone’s compatibility before buying an eSIM.
Most eSIMs and physical SIMs for short-term travel are prepaid and only offer data plans, meaning that you will not receive a Japanese phone number and thus, cannot make calls or send messages. Of course, you can still communicate through VOIP apps, such as Whatsapp. For eSIMs, you generally receive the product via email within minutes of purchasing. For SIM cards, you can arrange to have the product shipped to your home country before your trip or you can pick it up in Japan. At the end of your trip, you can simply discard the chip. No need to mail it back or drop it off!
Similar to Pocket Wi-Fi, it is important that you consider connection speed, amount of data, coverage, customer support, and pick up spots when selecting your eSIM or physical SIM. Listed below are some of the most popular eSIM and physical SIM options for tourists.
|Holafly||Unlimited data using 4G LTE||5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, and 90-day plans|| |
|eSIM Japan||3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and unlimited data plans using 4G LTE||3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 20-day plans|| |
|Sakura Mobile||1 to 200GB data plans using 4G LTE||3 to 90-day plans|| |
Physical SIM cards
|mobal||Data-only SIMs |
Unlimited data using 4G LTE
|Data-only SIMs |
8, 16, and 31-day plans
|Sakura mobile||Unlimited data using LTE Docomo network||8, 15, 30, 45, 60, and 90-day plans|| |
|Simcard GEEK||3GB, 7GB, 8GB, 16GB, 31GB, and unlimited data plans using 4G LTE (GBs correspond to specific durations)||5, 8, 12, 14, 16, 21, 30, and 31-day plans|| |
- Please be aware that only carrier-unlocked phones can use Japanese eSIMs or SIM cards. You can check if your phone is unlocked in your settings or by contacting your carrier.
- For physical SIMs, it is best to order the product three to seven days before your trip. While it is possible to purchase a SIM card on the day you arrive, you run the risk of having limited options as stores can run out of stock.
If none of the above options appeal to you, you can also rent a smartphone for your Japan trip. There are many kiosks at Japan’s major international airports where you can purchase smartphone rentals on the same day or pick up rentals that you reserved in advance online. Phone rentals are convenient as some providers offer voice, SMS, and data. Please see the links below to learn more about phone rentals at airports.
We know, it’s a lot of information—What are the takeaway points?
While the number of options can seem a little overwhelming, you should find it comforting that there are plenty of choices for reliable and secure internet connection in Japan.
For convenience, dependability, and ease of use, we would recommend Pocket Wi-Fi, eSIM, or SIM card services. These options provide plenty—often unlimited—data to support your travels all from the comfort of your own smartphone. And thanks to the wide range of companies that sell these products, you are guaranteed to find a product that best fits your budget and needs.
We hope this guide helped take the burden of internet access in Japan off your shoulders. Happy traveling. You got this!