So, you’re coming to the great Land of the Rising Sun? Where many dystopian novels and movies draw inspiration for their cities purely based on the fact that Japan just looks and feels like it’s the future? Where developments are forward-thinking and rampant, the city is an amalgamation of modern high-rise buildings, bright neon signs, street culture and cozy restaurants, and the promise of bigger and better technology is always on the horizon?
Whilst there is the inherent vision of Japan that comprises of gorgeous rundown castles, stunning bamboo forests, and mysterious geishas, what really gets people’s hearts pumping is the moment they step foot into one of the busiest cities in the world and look around at all the bright flashing lights and the cars zooming past, and when they dine at restaurants where sushi flies on a conveyor belt straight to the the seat of the person who orders it, and when they hop on a ‘Shinkansen’, Japan’s high-speed rail trains that tend to go from 0 to 100 real quick.
Yes, indeed Japan seems light year’s away from many countries in terms of innovation, in both their technology as well as their lifestyle – you would not believe some of the things you’d come across in the stores here (need a pair of indoor slippers to wear around, and also a pair for the lavatory? A mini portable fan for your armpit sweat? You can bet you’ll find it in Tokyo).
And that leads us to the point of this article – in case you were wondering, yes, Japan, one of the most advanced countries in the world, does have an answer to your Wi-Fi worries, and it’s super easy to obtain.
It’s usually quite a chore to organize how you’re going to stay connected when traveling through a foreign country, and Japan’s notorious limitation on the use of the English language makes it seemingly a bit more difficult to navigate. However, during the course of your trip, your ‘Pocket Wi-Fi’, aka your dongle, the device in which we’re going to talk about and the one that you should book immediately afterwards, will become your holy grail.
Pocket Wifi Japan – What Is It?
First of all, what exactly is a pocket Wi-Fi? It’s a small device that you can connect your phones, tablets, laptops, etc, to, which will allow you to access the internet hosted by a service provider Japan. Some people may refer to it as a dongle. Most countries who host tourists will offer a form of a pocket Wi-Fi, however, Japan’s service is far superior than most.
The device itself is super convenient in size – it’s big enough in that it is unlikely you’ll ever lose it, however, it’s also small enough to fit into your bag when you’re traveling during the day and night. Connecting to it is as easy as 1-2-3 – you simply just charge it up, search for the Wi-Fi’s username, input the password, and you’re done for the rest of the trip!
You also have the option of renting or purchasing a sim card, however, if you’re here for a short period of time, we highly recommend booking in a pocket Wi-Fi as it’s by far the easiest route for foreigners (and you won’t run the risk of carrying around your tiny original sim card and losing it halfway through your trip!). This service is so popular that the entire process is streamlined from booking it to picking it up/getting it delivered/returning it.
Pocket Wifi Japan – How Does It Work?
Below we’ll take you through the steps of how to organize your pocket Wi-Fi for your Japan trip.
If you simply google ‘Pocket Wifi Japan’ online, hundreds of results will appear. Indeed, the service is so popular with tourists now, and with the exponentially increasing number of people from around the world visiting this amazing country, there are many, many companies out there offering various different pocket Wi-Fi products are various rates. How dependent you are on the internet and how much you’re willing to pay per day are some of the things you need to consider.
Not all pocket WiFis are the same. Obviously, as with all telecommunications companies everywhere, there are varying degrees of connectivity (i.e. some connections are so strong, you’ll get a signal everywhere, whereas others are more intermittent and you’ll lose signal say, when you’re underground for example).
In our below recommendations, we’ve covered a few of the companies that offer various pocket WiFis at different prices. Compared them, and decide which one is best for you.
Now, let’s get on with how to get one!
Pocket Wi-Fi Japan – How To Order One
Step 1 – Rent It Online
Once you google ‘Pocket WiFi Japan’ you’ll come across a myriad of different choices. The team here tried different kind of providers and we finally decided to recommend 3 providers that we speak about below. Once you’ve made your choice of which one to get, you will find the ‘Order’ button on the website. You will then need to fill in a form with some details (e.g. full name, date of birth, date to pick up, where you’d like to pick it up, your flight details, etc).
When you’re filling in the form, please make sure you get all your details correct. Some companies are pedantic about security and will require you to prove your name with a form of identification before allowing you to pick up the parcel (most, however, will only require a signature).
Step 2 – Pick It Up/Get It Delivered
Your flight details are required so that they can ensure your pocket WiFi arrives at its pick-up destination in time for you. The easiest method for you to get the pocket WiFi, and one that we highly recommend, is to just pick it up from the designated counter or post office at the airport. Once you land, you can head straight there to grab the pocket WiFi to use immediately. It’s super convenient, you’ll get to access the internet immediately, and you won’t have to wait to pick it up from your hotel.
If you would rather get it delivered to an address (i.e. your hotel or your AirBnb or any other lodging), most companies will offer that option. However, as much as they can guarantee it will arrive on or before a certain date, you can never be too sure, so you do run the risk of not receiving it in time to use.
Step 3 – Using The Pocket WiFi
As we’ve mentioned before, different companies offer varying ranges of pocket WiFi dongles, and the one you order will determine how many devices can be connected and how strong the signal is.
Generally, you can connect up to 5-6 different devices without any issues. Sometimes, the pocket WiFi will be overworked and stop working, and will require a manual reboot (restart) to jumpstart it again. This can happen if the device cannot handle the amount of devices currently connected to it. If you are traveling in a large group (i.e. four or more people), we strongly recommend the higher grade pocket WiFi, or you should order least two devices.
Generally, the furthest distance you can stand away from a pocket WiFi to get decent connection is approximately 10-15m, so if you’re a group lodging in a large house, make sure you take this into consideration!
Step 4 – Return It
The return process is possibly even more simple than the pick-up process. When you receive the pocket WiFi, it should already come with a separate empty return package. The time deadline within which you should return the pocket WiFi should be specified by the company.
Once you’re ready to return it, simply switch it off, place everything that came with it (e.g. extra portable power bank, charging chords, etc), into the empty return package, seal it, and return it via the agreed method. Some companies will require you to drop it off at the post office at the airport, some will require a drop off at a counter at the airport, and others will accept a simple drop-off at any post box in Japan.
Pocket Wifi Japan – Recommended Provider: Ninja Wifi
If you’re looking for a decent pocket WiFi that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and has good coverage of most areas across Japan, Ninja WiFi is the way to go.
They provide high speed 4G-LTE internet access, and you can also get the options of either unlimited internet access (where you can connect up to 5 devices, and you can reach a maximum speed of 187.35Mbps – that is pretty quick!), or 1GB a day (for those who just want to stay connected casually). They provide you with the easy option of picking it up and dropping it off right at the airport as you arrive and depart. Super easy!
Here at Asian Wanderlust, we’ve reached out and negotiated a rate for you guys – if you click on this link, you’ll receive a 10% discount once you’ve booked a dongle! That’s a great service for an even greater price. What are you waiting for? 🙂
Website: Ninja WiFi
Pocket Wifi Japan – Other Recommendations
At the higher end of the market is Japan Wireless, a company that provides pocket WiFis at premium grade functionality. If you’re looking for a dongle that doesn’t have a low cap on their downloads, has true unlimited high-speed downloads, can easily connect to 5-6 different devices, and provides a strong internet connection that is reliable (and rarely intermittent), then this is the company to go.
At the lower end of the scale, iVideo provides multiple different types of pocket Wifis and varying prices, although they’re all significantly lower in cost than Japan Wireless and Ninja WiFi. They will often have sale campaigns for their dongles as well, so it’s a good idea to check their website regularly if you’re thinking about booking a dongle with them.
Their coverage is, at best, decent enough for traveling around the city, however, you will often find that you will lost connection during underground passes. If that isn’t an issue for you, and really, all you want to do is check Instagram and Facebook and the occasional email, then this pocket WiFi’s strength and performance should be enough for you.
Staying connected in Japan is super easy, as you can tell! Unless you’re traveling hours and hours away from the city, deep into the forests, completely off the beaten track, then you should at least have decent coverage.
The pocket WiFi has been a solution of millions of visitors around the world coming into Japan, and you’ll find that booking it will make your life and travels just that much more enjoyable and relaxing. If you have any further questions about the Pocket Wifi, pop it into the comment section below and we’ll try our best to help you out!
If you want more tips about traveling to Japan, feel free to check these articles too: Japan Travel Blog.