Why Do You Need a Pocket WiFi in Japan?
So many conveniences have appeared that make travelling in Japan easier than ever. HOWEVER, if there is one thing that tourists still struggle with, it's a lack of free public WiFi.
Because cyber security is something that is very important in Japan, there are hurdles for tourists to get connected without some sort of verification. Accessing free WiFi often means needing a Japanese phone number or access to e-mail to register for free Internet service. (But how you gonna get to your e-mail when you don't have Internet to start?!)Whether this for better or worse (some people do appreciate the security, not having personal information stolen is a plus) this is the state of things currently, so it's wise to get a portable WiFi device, known as pocket WiFi, in preparation for your journey!
Pocket WiFi: The Basics
If you come from a country where using Pocket WiFi isn’t the norm, first it’s important to get an idea of just what Pocket WiFi is. Pocket WiFi is basically a portable Internet router. Pocket WiFi’s have an internal SIM card, and rely on the network service of telecom carriers on the 3G or 4G/LTE networds. Using a Pocket WiFi works just as your home Internet does. Devices have an SSID and password/key that are necessary for accessing the connection. Pocket WiFi gets its name based on its size, which fits comfortably in a pocket.
Pocket WiFi for Tourists and Short Term Visitors
So for the travelers and short term visitors to Japan, many people question whether or not they should go for a Pocket WiFi or a disposable SIM Card. (It’s probably not worth it to even think about paying roaming charges for your home provider, it’ll be expensive, and in Japan, the chances that the compatibility of the Network Bands will give you good service is pretty low…)
There are some free options, such as the WiFi found in cafes, or in major JR Stations or the Tokyo Metro subway stations, but these are not totally reliable
So lets talk about the specific benefits of using Pocket WiFi !
Why Pocket WiFi?
- There are no compatibility issues with Pocket WiFi. With SIMs, you need to worry about Card Size and the Network bands that your phone supports. Pocket WiFis are usable by any device that can connect to WiFi, from smart phones to computers and tablets!
- Pocket WiFi easily supports multiple users at once. Most devices can accommodate 5+ people at once
- Pocket WiFi rentals generally have greater data allotments at higher speeds.Especially in Japan, there are specific allotments for data usage, and it’s difficult to find short term plans that are truly unlimited. You’ll notice when you go look at Prepaid SIM options, the daily or weekly limit is often quite low, and for unlimited options, they are often offering unlimited usage for the much slower 3G network. Pocket WiFi, while more expensive, has larger caps for heavy users.
- Pocket WiFi rentals are more flexible with rental periods. Short term SIMs have a limit on how long they can be used for,currently being capped off at 30 days, while Pocket WiFi do not.
Main Pocket WiFi Service Providers
These are the most popular Pocket WiFi service providers in Japan.
- WiMax (UQ Mobile) WiMax is run by UQ Communications. WiMax devices have good coverage, but not as wide a network as DoComo or Softbank, with good coverage in Okinawa.
- DoComo NTT Docomo has the largest coverage of any network in Japan.
- Softbank While the network for Softbank is not as large as DoComo, Softbank is the most popular among users.
Pocket wi-fi is a palm-size portable device that functions as a personal WiFi hotspot. All wi-fi enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops are compatible.
Orders with CDJapan Rental include a charging cable and AC adapter. Estimated battery life of each device is 5 to 10 hours depending on model and usage. For all day use, we recommend renting a portable charger. (Rent Portable Charger together!)
Getting online is easy!
- Turn on the device.
- Under your smartphone "wi-fi" settings, select the corresponding network name (SSID).
- Enter the password.
- And you're ready to browse!
*The SSID and password will be enclosed in the package.
If you are will be in non-central areas in Japan including Hokkaido, Kyushu, Okinawa, and also suburbs like Koyasan, Shirakawago, Hakuba, and etc., [Docomo: Standard Speed] and [Softbank: High speed] packages are recommended for their wide network coverage. However Standard Speed items are for light use, so heavy users should select[Softbank: High speed]. For big data users in mostly urban areas, [Wimax: High-Speed] will be handy.
What can I do with 110MB a day? (Standard Speed Wi-fi)
110MB of Data Equates To:
- Surfing the web：100 web pages
- Messaging App (LINE, Whatsapp, etc): 100 messages
- Email: 20 messages
- Facebook: view 100 news feed updates
110MB is not sufficient for Youtube(normal quality). You will exhaust high speed data after streaming video for more than 20min.
See how to save data on GetAroundJapan: How to Save Data on Smartphone While Traveling
In order to match your needed period, you may purchase an extension, or buy a longer plan and return the item early. NOTE:
Depending on the period you need, a longer package could be less expensive. For example,if you will use the item for 9 days, it is cheaper to get the 10 das package than to get a 7 day package and extend it 2 days. Please calculate before ordering.
Check the extension rate from the following page: Extend Rental Period
The rental start date is the first day of your rental period. For example, if you choose January 1 as the start date, Jan. 1 is the Day 1. If you are a buying 5 day package, the rental would end on Jan. 5th, Day 5. Data should be used only until the last day and the return package must be posted by midnight on the last day. (We check both data usage and the posted date.)
For more FAQ, please visit the following page: FAQ.
Extend your rental period easily from your My Page, anytime before the return date.
Extension packages are available for purchase once the package is sent out.
See extension rates below:
Rest easy, knowing if you have problems with the device, we offer partial refunds. Please contact us and post back the items within 2 days from the start date.
*Express shipping fee is non-refundable.
We issue a full refund when an order is cancelled 5 days or more prior to the start date. Cancellations made later will receive a partial refund.
See our Refund and Cancellation page for full details. Refund and Cancellation