Japan has a variety of choices when it comes to accessing free Wi-Fi, though many of them can be hard to find if you don’t know what to look for. Luckily, we have compiled all the best ways to find these access points, as well as some pointers to make sure you don’t have to resort to using expensive roaming data to find your way back to your hotel.
The Important Stuff
-Cities in Japan have a number of free access points, but there aren’t so many in the countryside
-An application like TownWifi can help you find and connect to access points even when you don’t have access to the internet
-Convenience stores and department stores, as well as chain restaurants and cafes are all common places where you should be able to find Wi-Fi
-If you’d rather not worry about finding access points, consider renting a short-term SIM card or a Pocket Wi-Fi device
There has been an increase in the number of available hotspots in Japan in recent years, though they are by no means ubiquitous. This is especially true in more rural areas, where access points may be hard to find. Most hotspots also require an email address for registration and sometimes do not offer language options outside of Japanese. We would suggest using an application, such as TownWifi, not only to aid in finding hotspots, but also to speed up the registration process.
Applications to Find and Access Free Wi-Fi
If you are looking for a way to find free access points around Japan, we recommend TownWifi as your best option. This smartphone application features Japan-wide maps of over 170,000 available hotspots.
It also has the ability to save maps of surrounding areas automatically for offline viewing so you can find an access point even when you don’t have internet connectivity. The app does require a quick initial registration, but this also allows you to immediately connect to many hotspots and bypass their individual registration.
If this app does not work for you, or if you can’t find any hotspots around your area, some similar applications to check out are Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi, JAL Explore Japan Wi-Fi and Travel Japan Wi-Fi.
Tips for Finding Free Wi-Fi
If you cannot use these application for any reason, here are some common places you will be able to find access points around Japan.
These always-open chains are not only home to your favorite Japanese snacks and sweets, but also to an ever-present source of free Wi-Fi. Nearly all the major companies like Seven Eleven, Family Mart and Lawson offer complimentary Wi-Fi at their stores and registration is available in several languages. Grab some chocolate and surf away!
Many big department stores offer free Wi-Fi for their customers. Look out for floor guide pamphlets or an information desk for login details. Large grocery such as Aeon may also provide free access points
Chain Shops, Restaurants and Cafes
While some smaller establishments may offer complementary Wi-Fi, the general rule of thumb is that if you’re in a chain, there’s probably Wi-Fi access. Don’t forget to check the big electronics stores, second-hand stores as well as places like Don Quixote.
Finally, some other places you might find free Wi-Fi in are tourist information centers, and airports. Some train station and central metropolitan areas even offer Wi-Fi for tourist, though this is less common and may have unreliable reception.
Consider a Paid Alternative
While it is possible to find free Wi-Fi in Japan, perhaps consider renting a SIM card or portable Wi-Fi router so you don’t have to ever worry about being without internet access. These services can be reserved before you arrive in Japan to pick up at the airport, online and delivered to your hotel or even just in convenience stores. If you’re interested in this option, have a look at our other post here to find out all the best options for cheap and reliable internet access while in Japan.
Whichever option you choose, you should have a good idea of all the the best ways to access Wi-Fi on and off the slopes. If you have any other friends who this might interest, be sure to share it with them and pass on the knowledge. We look forward to seeing you in Niseko this upcoming season.