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Japan and the lack of free Wi-Fi

When I went to Japan last December for the first time in 7 years, the 1 thing that really baffled me was the fact that there is ALMOST NO FREE WI-FI in Japan! A country as technologically advanced as Japan is still charging people to use wi-fi?!! One of the only places that had free wi-fi that wasn't super slow = McDonalds (which is a US company). I was in big cities too, like Tokyo and Osaka.

I had to end up paying something like 800 yen for like 1 day of wi-fi use since I absolutely had to access the internet to buy last minute airline tickets to Hokkaido.

In Vancouver (Canada), there is free wi-fi everywhere! Japan please step your game up! It's almost kind of embarrassing.
posted by shinbosai

Comments 8

  • beeant
    Yes definitely. coincidentally I had this problem 2 days ago, my iPhone's battery was out, and I urgently needed internet connection. I couldn't find free wi-fi, so I went home to charge my phone.

    Anyway, the mobile internet connection / communications seems to be more focused for people who live in Japan. If you live in Japan, you can subscribe for internet provider and Japan is like a heaven for internet connection, really fast, cheap, and accessible almost anywhere.

    I think that most of people who lives in Japan doesn't need free wi-fi, they are always connected with reliable high speed mobile internet for their smartphone/feature phone. Also if they need to use internet for their mobile computers, they can use smartphone tethering or pocket wi-fi:

    If you are just visiting Japan for a short term, it's easy to find yourself disconnected. However, you can buy prepaid sim card in Japan, but just recently. I don't know much detail about this because I have never tried it. But I heard they are good.

    Alternatively, you can rent cellphones with/without internet or pocket wi-fi once you arrived in the airport to stay connected during your trip.

    Maybe this system would change before Tokyo 2020.

    Just for additional info, not only wi-fi, there are a lot of technologies in Japan are advanced in unique way. They're really good and convenient if you live here.
  • beeant
    After I did some googling, I found that you can subscribe for free wifi.
    For more info you can check out: http://flets.com/freewifi/index.html
  • aristeia
    you could buy a prepaid sim card for a month's use for around $50 usd. I got it 2 years ago
  • mogmog
    As you know, it's really hard to find free Wifi in Japan. But two companies give us a free Wifi.

    Almost every Starbucks.
    Some Seven-Eleven convenience stores.

    I will give you a tip. Before you come to Japan or stay in a hotel with a free wifi in Japan, you registered Starbucks Wifi. You need your email and password for the Wifi connection, and activated.

    I sometimes use them when I get lost. lol

    Of course, you should buy a cup of coffee.
    I think you need to register 7-11 Wifi.

    Starbucks Wifi :http://starbucks.wi2.co.jp/pc/index_jp.html
    7-11 : https://webapp.7spot.jp/internets/members/register_form

    They are for just in case. If you want to connect the Internet all the time,
    you should buy a sim card, but it is still expensive.

  • mogmog
    and, please complain about it to Japan. We have the Olympic in 2020,
    but free wifi must be needed for visitors.
    If people from all over the world complain about it, Japanese Government solute the problem seriously.
    If Japanese people complain it, they will ignore, but if you do, they will have to do something. We have no power, so thank you for your cooperation.

  • sheilarouge
    I went to Japan last February for two weeks and rent a pocket wifi, the connection speed is 75 mbps and would register 40 mbps or in some urban areas up to 65 mbps. It was the fastest connection I ever had in my entire life. The rent is also cheap amounting to only about 200 yen a day.
  • shinbosai
    We're probably spoiled in Canada, but a lot of people would dislike the idea of having to take time to sign up for free wi-fi. Your time isn't free you know, so it's not really 'free' wi-fi in a sense.

    Every coffee shop here that has free wi-fi is 100% free, just click and you are logged on.

    I guess by having you sign up, they can monitor what websites you surf, better target advertisements towards you, etc.

    It's still annoying to see... oh well I'm done ranting
  • ferdy3erai
    haha japan is a expensive country"lol! i totally agree japan i still behind on giving free wifi , the funny thing is that many companies wants to charge u for the service , i dont find starbucks with free wifi either i think in some central areas , i saw the tokyo bus is now offering free wifi inside their buses . as more tourist and foreigners coming this should change soon