All you need to know about pocket WiFi

Whether to search maps or post updates on our SNS feed from amazing places, internet service has become an essential when traveling.
Internet conditions differ from country to country, but when planning a trip to Japan, pocket WiFi is an excellent option to consider.
Let’s take a look at this service and why it may be an ideal tool for travelers.

What is pocket WiFi?

Pocket WiFi, as the name suggests, is a portable internet router small enough to fit in your pocket.

As long as this easy-to-carry device is with you, Internet service becomes accessible anytime, anywhere.
Although Japan has a well-developed internet environment, reliable service can be difficult to find for free.
For many tourists in Japan, pocket WiFi offers great convenience.

Free WiFi in Japan

Of course, there is also free WiFi in Japan.

Free WiFi spots have been established at airports, hotels, shopping malls and other places in the city, but in rural areas are sometimes difficult to find.
Also, even when free WiFi is available, as others join, the network may become overloaded making it increasingly difficult to connect.
Then, of course, there are also security concerns.
Thus, although free WiFi is attractive, relying on such service alone may present problems due to the limited locations, difficulty of use, and security concerns.

Comparing pocket WiFi and SIM cards

When traveling to Japan, other than pocket WiFi, SIM cards are another option for internet service.
Let’s compare the pros and cons of each.

Advantages of pocket WiFi
・Easy to set up
・Can be used on multiple devices
・Compatible with a wide range of devices from smartphones to tablets or laptops

Disadvantages of pocket WiFi
・Although pocket-sized, it still increases your baggage.

Advantages of SIM cards
・As long as you have a SIM card in your mobile, no other equipment is needed.

Disadvantages of SIM card
・A bit troublesome to set up
・Depending on the plan, it may not be possible to use on multiple devices.
・Compatible devices are limited to smartphones and tablets only

At first glance, pocket WiFi may seem daunting, but actually, the choice of pocket WiFi or a SIM card largely depends on your style of travel.
For example, if traveling alone, a SIM card might be better, while those traveling with others may enjoy the ease of sharing service through pocket WiFi.
Many people keep both pocket WiFi and a SIM card on hand just in case.

How to rent pocket WiFi

So, how can I rent a pocket WiFi in Japan?
Many companies in Japan provide pocket WiFi, and basically any establishment aiming to provide service to overseas travelers should have an English reservation page.
Just access the reservation page online and apply.
After applying, pick up your pocket WiFi at an airport in Japan, or have it delivered to your accommodation.

It depends on which company’s pocket WiFi you use, but in most cases reservations can easily be made 2 to 3 days in advance.
However, during crowded peak travel seasons, making reservations several weeks in advance is advisable.
(Cherry blossom season from March to April, summer vacation from July to August, etc.)
In general, completing your application before departing for Japan is best, but applying after arrival is also possible.
Some companies also offer same-day pick up at their office in Japan.
However, having pocket WiFi sent overseas from Japan before leaving your home country is not possible.

How to use pocket WiFi

Using pocket WiFi is very easy.
Upon receiving your pocket WiFi, check the contents to make sure all accessories have been included before turning it on.
Then, just enter the provided network name and password on your device to connect.

How to return Japanese pocket WiFi

To return a pocket WiFi rented in Japan, simply put it in the included return envelope and drop it in the mailbox, or return it to the designated counter at the airport.
Rest assured that there is no need to return the device to the location where it was received.
Please note that a penalty fee will be charged if the rented pocket WiFi is not returned by the agreed upon date.
However, each company has different return methods, so be sure to check before applying.

Recommended usage

What is the best way to use pocket WiFi?

Save data by frequently turning off the WiFi
For most people, internet access every minute of their travel is unnecessary.
When not in use, turn off the WiFi to save data.

Select the rental period to suit your travel plan.
Pocket WiFi rental periods vary depending on the company, but many range from 1 to 90 days. Choose the period best for you.

Store all included accessories together, to avoid loss or confusion
All included accessories must be returned at the end of the rental period.
Try to store rented items together to ensure a smooth return process.

Add fun and convenience to your Japan travels

Japan is filled with a wide variety of attractions from the city to the countryside. Being able to access the internet comfortably with pocket WiFi allows you to easily travel anywhere in the country stress-free.

To find out where to change trains in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka, or find out where you are with Google Maps, free mobile internet service with pocket WiFi can make your trip much more comfortable, safe and fun.

The information herein is as of February 2024