By Bonson Lam
The best way to get free Wi-Fi in Osaka is to stay in a Wi-Fi-enabled hostel or hotel. Surprisingly, you are more likely to get free Wi-Fi at the cheaper accommodation providers, like Hana Hostel or J Hoppers. A lot of business hotels, known for its compact, no-frills 3 star service levels, also provide free Wi-Fi. Hotels like Dormy Inn or Toyoko Inn are also known for its excellent connectivity in all its guest rooms as well as the public reception areas with no password requirements. They also offer free internet computers at their reception or front desk areas. Higher up in the luxury stakes, Hotel Monterey and Fraser Residences also offer Wi-Fi in all their rooms, while Sheraton Osaka offers Wi-Fi in the reception area to registered guests.
Getting free Wi-Fi on the go in Osaka, however, will require a little homework, as most providers require you to send an email in advance. You will then get a password which will open up Wi-Fi for your smartphone or tablet. In order to send this email, you need to have Wi-Fi in the first place. So either you do this from the hotel, or go to a Lawson’s convenience store.
Providers with free Wi-Fi include Osaka City Tourism and West Japan Railway Company: This is mainly confined to key train stations in the Central Osaka area, as well as the Kansai International Airport and a small number of museums and hotels.
Osaka City Tourism
With Osaka City Tourism, there are two options, Osaka Free Wi-Fi, which allows you to use it every 1 hour with no limitations, while Osaka Free Wi-Fi Lite allows you to use it every 30 minutes, up to 8 times per day, a total usage time of 4 hours. You just need to follow these four steps for free Wi-Fi:
- Enable Wi-Fi on your smartphone, tablet or computer.
- Search Osaka-Free Wi-Fi or Osaka Free Wi-Fi Lite, and connect.
- Enter your e-mail address.
- Tick the agreement and you’re ready to go!
The following locations are the key tourist hotspots where free Wi-Fi is available. This list is subject to change.
Nankai Main Line
- Namba Railway Station
- Shin-imamiya Railway Station
- Tengachaya Railway Station
- Sumiyoshitaisha Railway Station
- Kishiwada Railway Station
- Kansai International Airport Area: Rinku-Town Railway Station
- Osaka Namba Railway Station
- Kintetsu Nipponbashi Railway Station
- Osaka Abenobashi Railway Station
Keihan Main Line and Japan Railway
- Yodoyabashi Railway Station
- Kitahama Railway Station
- Temmabashi Railway Station
- Kyobashi Railway Station
- Nakanoshima Railway Station
- Watanabebashi Railway Station
- Oebashi Railway Station
- Visitors' Information Center (JR Shin Osaka Station 3rd Floor)
Museums and Sightseeing Spots:
- The Entrepreneurial Museum of Challenge and Innovation
- Osaka Prefectural Government Sakishima Building Observatory
- Kamigata Ukiyo-e Museum
- Umeda Sky Building Floating Garden Observatory
- Shitennoji Shrine (Chushin Garan)
West Japan Railway Company
Next, there is the JR West Free Wi-Fi service, which is limited to the following Stations, which generally coincide with the stations where you can exchange your JR Rail pass voucher for the Railway Pass:
- JR Osaka Railway Station: Ticket gates (Central, Midosuji, South, and Sakurabashi gates) and North information booth
- JR Shin-Osaka Railway Station: Ticket gates (East Gate), waiting rooms, and JR West Travel Corner,
- JR Tennoji Railway Station: Ticket gates (Central and East gates),
- JR Kansai Airport Railway Station: Ticket gates (JR Gate)
To use the service, you must send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then you will obtain a guest code (ID). You can then use it for up to 8 days at selected stations. It is best if you send the email before you get to the train station, as it may be difficult to find a free Wi-Fi spot amongst the crowds. I tested by sending an email from Australia, and I got a reply immediately from WIRE AND WIRELESS Co.,ltd <email@example.com>. To ensure you receive this email promptly, you may wish to add this address to your contacts so it doesn't go to spam mail. The 8 day period doesn't start until you enter the guest code. All the information is available here.
Then there is always Starbucks. The ubiquitous green café opened its first doors outside North America in Tokyo, and it has never back since, with over 60 Starbucks in most parts of Central Osaka.
Occasionally when you are strolling, you may come across the SSID for Wire and Wireless (Wi2) “Wi2 300”. They offer a one day wireless plan for free for Visa cardholders, with discounted pricing after that. This service is spasmodic, so don’t use it as a substitute for a phone if you are making appointments to meet people. It can be good as it does cover some cafes and public areas, so in central Osaka you may get coverage a few times a day as you move around.
My favorite Wi-Fi when I am on the go, however, is Wifi.com’s pocket Wi-Fi. While it is not free, you are guaranteed Wi-Fi anywhere in Osaka city for less than 1000 yen a day. It is quick, and as long as the battery is charged each day, you will have unlimited Wi-Fi. Of course, keeping your Wi-Fi and phone or tablet charged during lunchtime at a cafe will ensure you remain connected.
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I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from JapanTravel.com. Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us.