It’s become easier than ever for foreign tourists in Japan to connect to wireless LAN, making it more convenient to get and send info, photos, etc. via smartphones. Currently many new free services have been established for tourists to use, and the number of free service spots is rapidly growing, including Tokyo Haneda, Narita, Kansai, and Chubu Centrair International Airports and Starbucks Coffee.
Rental Wi-Fi routers with a wireless LAN function are also available for a minimal cost and by contacting the companies that provide them, you can arrange to pick them up at the airport or at your hotel.
The city of Kyoto also now offers free Wi-Fi service at many different coverage areas. Guest codes will be provided once you access. Yamanashi Prefecture also has free Wi-Fi spots with free Wi-Fi cards that can be used for 2 weeks distributed at a number of locations. JR West has just started Wi-Fi service which is available at several locations at all major stations on the JR West rail network. Guestcodes must be obtained beforehand.
Rental smart/cell phones and SIM card rental plans are available as well.
For more information, please visit;
Japan Monthly Web Magazine
Japan National Tourism Organization
Wifi in Japan is still extremely rare compared with other places in Asia and elsewhere. In Hong Kong, Shanghai, SIngapore, Seoul, Bali etc, pretty much every cafe, restaurant and bar has free wifi. In Tokyo?? Almost nowhere - even Starbucks is difficult because you have to sign up online before you go there!! How crazy is that.
And it's not correct to say that Wifi Routers are available at "minimal cost". The cheapest one I was able to find (and I did a lot of research) cost about Y3,500 for the initial rental plus Y250 per day, making around Y10,000 per month. Fortunately, I then found out that I could take out a contract with Wimax for a shade below Y4,000/month. All other major companies require a Gaijin Card, but Wimax accept a passport only. However, this is still a 2 year contract, with penalties for early termination. I visit Japan very regularly and stay for several months at a time, so this is still cheaper than doing short term rental (I can also lend it to friends when I'm away).
something funny happened today in Hiroshima. I was able to connect to JR-west free wifi to send a mail and receive a mail with access information included. But I was not able to access my email with the access codes, because I could not connect through wifi......
To be honest, Japan is a fantastic place and everyone should visit, but free public wifi is not easy to find at all in comparison with the UK for example where virtually every cafe, restaurant, hotel and bar has it as standard.
Isn't Internship in Japan responsible for forging visas and getting all those students thrown in jail for like 3 months?
that's funny when i went to Japan in 2012 my friend and I had a hard time finding free wifi spots. most were you had to have a softbank account and as i foreigner only there for 5 days i didn't have it. I hope this is true cause it would be nice if Japan had more free wifi access points. :)
Also note that your GPS functions will work even in Airplane-mode. Load your area maps while you have wifi, then follow the little blue dot if you ever get lost!