If you are reading this article, it may be because you are planning to visit Japan soon. Planning the trip, looking for places to visit, checking hotels is definitely time-consuming but looking for a cheap way to have access to Internet is way more difficult.
This article aims at introducing a good alternative to the sole prepaid SIM card : the Pocket WiFi. I hope that information provided below can help you to spare time and that it contributes positively to the preparation of your lovely journey.
What is a Pocket WiFi
Very popular in Japan but not much abroad, the Pocket WiFi is a mobile Internet router.
Basically, it is like a little box that you can transport everywhere you go.
After inserting a SIM card in it, the Pocket WiFi establishes a connection on Internet and provides WiFi channels your smartphone, PC/Mac, tablet or any connected device can reach.
It is a good solution for people who need to check their e-mails on their PC, but also for bloggers, programmers, or any person bringing smart device to Japan for example.
Why buying a Pocket WiFi
If ones is able to access Internet from his or her smartphone thanks to the use of a prepaid SIM card, then why is it necessary to buy a Pocket WiFi ? This question is actually very important and I will try to answer it by raising some merits of using a Pocket WiFi.
5 merits of using a Pocket WiFI in Japan.
Sole SIM card or SIM card + Pocket WiFi : the difficult choice
While reading this article, you may be hesitating between buying only one SIM card or a Pocket WiFi and a SIM card. This is actually a difficult choice.
Personally, I would recommend to people that absolutely need to have access to Internet on their PC/Mac or tablet to buy a Pocket WiFi before coming to Japan in order to be sure to be able to use it after arriving to Japan.
If, on the contrary, you do not have an absolute necessity to use Internet in an other device than your smartphone during the whole day, acquiring a sole prepaid SIM card may be enough. You could take the opportunity to use Internet with your PC at your hotel or residence instead.
Again, it all depends on your needs and your budget.
Should I buy a Pocket WiFi or should I rent it ?
There are two ways to acquire a Pocket WiFi in Japan : to buy it or to rent it.
As explained in many of my SIM card reviews, rental contracts in Japan are often available only to residents or any person staying in Japan one year or more. This requires to have a bank account located in Japan and to sign, most of the times, a two-years contract (two-years contracts are the norm in Japan).
In this article, I only provides information about Pocket WiFi that you can buy, in order to make it accessible to any travelers.
How much does cost a Pocket WiFi in Japan ?
Most of Pocket WiFi costs between 10,000¥ and 15,000¥ including a SIM card and sometimes up to 3 months of data usage.
It may looks like expensive at a first glance, but it actually remains reasonable compared to most of SIM cards offering long-term usage. Also, as stated above, it allows you to share your Internet connection with your smart device and/or with your friends or family members going with you to Japan.
Where to buy a Pocket WiFi in Japan ?
Here is a list of place you can find and buy Pocket WiFi in Japan. Most of them are electronic stores.
- 1stYodobashi Camera
One emblematic shop is located in Akihabara.
- 2ndBic Camera
Shops available in most of districts in Tokyo.
- 3rdDonki Hote
They opened recently a huge store in Shibuya named “Mega Donki” if you want to take a look during your travel.
- 4thYamada Denki / LABI
If you stay in Ikebukuro it worth the visit.
A nice mix between two famous stores : Bic Camera and Uniqlo. Available in Shinjuku.
If you plan not buying a Pocket WiFi but only a prepaid SIM card, please feel free to compare price and specificities of those by visiting the “SIM cards” section of the website.