Nothing is more important to the modern traveler than staying connected while on the road. While Japan has been surprisingly slow in coming into the internet age, the past few years have seen a host of new Wi-Fi services available to visitors, all at no cost to the user. From convenience store hot-spots to transportation connections to city-wide coverage, our guide will give you all you need to know.
Convenience Store Wi-Fi
Convenience stores in Japan are just as the name implies – excellent places to pick up anything from quality bento lunches to stationary products to a wide range of drinks and snacks. With a convenience store on nearly every corner in cities and many even found in more remote countryside areas, these are truly opportune locations to check in with your mobile device. Try conbini Wi-Fi at any of the stores listed below.
Lawson convenience stores are popular around Japan and simply require an email address to access their Wi-Fi. Users may access the service for up to five hours a day.
Family Mart convenience stores are just as ubiquitous as Lawson's and a good hot-spot for many travelers. While the sign-up up instructions are presented only in Japanese, the above link has step-by-step guidance on how to access the service.
7-Eleven will be known to many travellers for a reliable way to make international withdrawals at their ATMs. They also have a free Wi-Fi service, 7-Spot, which is super easy to connect to. The same service is available a Ito-Yokado supermarkets, which are owned by the same Seven & group.
While not a convenience store, you'll find this global coffee shop chain just as common in Japan's cities as the above-mentioned locales. Starbucks Wi-Fi must be registered for BEFORE you arrive at the shop, but once you have done so, you can use it at any of the thousands of branches in Japan.
There's no longer any reason why long-haul, or even shorter, train journeys in Japan can't be made easier with a bit of Wi-Fi access. The following transportation companies offer their travelers an easy and free way to stay connected, even while - literally - on the go.
Travelers heading from Tokyo north to Aomori on any E5 Type 1 shinkansen (bullet train) can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi service. Services will also be available in the near future on Type 3 trains as well.
The JR East coverage area is comprehensive, meaning you can take advantage of their Wi-Fi service anywhere in the Tokyo and Yokohama metropolitan areas, as well as further away in Nagano, Gunma and Chiba prefectures. Information is available in English and all you need is an internet access.
The Tokyo Metro may run deep underneath the city, but that no longer means it's a dead-zone in terms of internet access. Since 2013, the comprehensive Toyo Metro Wi-Fi network allows users to stay connected in any of their numerous stations across the city
Never get lost on a bus again – every Toei bus running through Tokyo 23 wards now comes equipped with its own freely accessible Wi-Fi hotspot, a service that launched in late 2013.
This welcoming city in the Tohoku region offers a fantastic deal for foreign travelers - two full weeks of Wi-Fi access with the Miyagi Welcome Card. Visitors can receive this card free of charge at various locations by showing their foreign passport.
This city in Western Japan welcomes visitors with at least seven free Wi-Fi hot spots around the city. See the link above to find out exactly where you can connect while sightseeing in the city.
Osaka City Tourism makes it easier to access the Internet around the city by offering 15-30 minutes of free acces at numerous locations throughout the metropolis.
The ancient capital has joined the modern age with a number of centrally-located Wi-Fi hot spots, available through Kyoto City Tourism. You can use the service in dozens of locations in time limits of 30 minute increments.
Whether your landing or leaving, one of the main places travels look to connect is at the airport. In the past few years, Japan''s major hubs have all put in place comprehensive free Wi-Fi access to help visitors make the most of their time in transit.
The majority of travelers to Japan land at Narita Airport, an hour's train ride from the center of Tokyo. Narita's new Wi-Fi program allows travelers on both sides of passport control and security to effectively tap into the airport's free network.
While Haneda has long been Japan's domestic hub, an increasing number of international visitors land here. The airport offers free Wi-Fi in its departure lounges and the main lobby area.
Kansai Airport (known colloquially as KIX after its airport code) is the international gateway to the Kansai region and perfectly placed for visitors to easily reach Osaka, Kyoto, Nara or even the trails of the Kumano Kodo on the Kii Peninsula. The airport offers free Wi-Fi access in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, and several of the surrounding train lines also offer free service for your continued journey.
Thanks to recently added flights to destinations like Hawaii and Amsterdam, Fukuoka has become an important hub for travelers seeking to explore western Japan. All of the airport terminals offer free Wi-Fi hotspots, though it's helpful to check the map on the sign-up page to ascertain the actual locations.
Travelers looking for that summery beach break usually beeline straight for the island of Okinawa. Naha Airport's domestic terminal offers free Wi-Fi services in the departure area, as well as multiple free-use charging ports for when your battery needs a bit of a boost.
While we've listed some of the more major Wi-Fi access points above, more and more hotspots are added every day. To check to see if your planned destination is included in the list, be sure to download and explore the Japan Connected Free Wi-Fi app.