• THE BEST WAYS TO STAY ONLINE IN JAPAN

    LEARN MORE ABOUT THE VARIOUS OPTIONS TO STAY ONLINE HERE! Including top Sim Cards & Pocket Wifi.

  • GOING TO JAPAN? YOU'LL NEED A POCKET WIFI OR SIM CARD.

    You will need mobile internet access! It's hard to find public wifi networks and they have small range and are not secure. Rent a sim card or pocket wifi!

     

    See below for SIM vs PocketWifi.

    Below that for company comparisons for Light/Medium/Heavy users comparison.

     

    I've met many travelers who are confused about this topic, so I've done a lot of research to help you.

  • SIM vs Pocket Wifi - Which one is best for me?

    There are so many options....which one is best?

    Sim Card

    A popular option - Check out the Pros & Cons

    Pros

    • Can buy from vending machines with no planning
    • Lightweight - no impact on baggage
    • Many options available 
    • For techy people it's not too complex to get started
    • For light individual users, usually you can find a very simple plan for cheaper than any pocket wifi model. (For example: 7 days/1GB/$25 USD)
    • Usually you can throw it away at the end. No worry about return shipping. 

    Cons

    • Limited options for rental length. Usually 7-day, 15-day, 30-day, etc. 
    • Sometimes difficult to set up, compatibility errors
    • Not very good with multiple devices. Tethering other devices to parent device can drain battery and slow down network. 
    • Compatibility issues are common with foreign phones
    • Which one is best? Can be overwhelming. 
    • When connecting numerous devices, they will "sleep" and disconnect occasionally. Takes extra time to re-broadcast tethering network and then reconnect child devices. 

    Pocket Wifi

    A popular option - Check out the Pros & Cons

     

    Pros

    • More flexible rental lengths. You only pay for precise number of days. 
    • Can easily connect any device, just like connecting to wifi network anywhere. 
    • Can easily connect numerous devices. 
    • Usually more generous data plans and higher speeds. Especially when connecting numerous devices. 
    • Set-and-forget. Connect your devices to it and it's like you're at home. You don't have to constantly re-establish connection with the pocket wifi. 
    • Broadcast a wide range. Most devices broadcast 5-10 meters. 
    • Usuallly higher performance-per-dollar

    Cons

    • Need some planning and forethought. Usually they are delivered to airport or hotel, but that takes some time (1-3 days). 
    • Larger than sim card. 
    • For very light individual users, usually more expensive than a basic sim card rental. (Lowest prices are about $30 USD). 
  • Comparisons for Heavy Data Users in Japan

    Most users probably are Medium or Heavy users.

    Ranked on Price (Low to High)

    Updated June 27, 2017, prices are standardized based on current rate of $1USD = 110 yen.

    All prices include that company's shipping price and tax, unless mentioned in "NOTES" on right column

  • Comparisons for Medium Data Users in Japan

    Most users probably are Medium or Heavy users.

    Ranked on Price (Low to High)

    Updated June 27, 2017, prices are standardized based on current rate of $1USD = 113 yen.

    All prices include that company's shipping price and tax, unless mentioned in "NOTES" on right column

  • Comparisons for Light Data Users in Japan

    Most users probably are Medium or Heavy users.

    Ranked on Price (Low to High)

    Updated June 27, 2017, prices are standardized based on current rate of $1USD = 113 yen.

    All prices include that company's shipping price and tax, unless mentioned in "NOTES" on right column

  • FAQ

    Common Questions that people ask me when they are searching for wifi or sim cards

    What is difference between 3G and LTE/4G speed? ​

    Most (all?) plans offer unlimited 3G speed with a specific amount of LTE-speed. LTE-speed is very fast in Japan, and I think faster than most networks in western countries.

     

    You can easily run demanding tasks like stream high-resolution Netflix on a powerful laptop at these speeds. Or if you have many users sharing one connection, they can usually all enjoy high speeds.

     

    3G speeds were amazing in 2006, but now that we're used to higher speeds, it feels very slow.

     

     

    What is the best network for me to choose?

    There's not necessary a "best" network in Japan.

     

    If you're looking for the widest coverage area because you'll be traveling thoroughly around the country. Docomo and AU will be the best.

     

    If you want the highest speeds and best data plans available, Wimax2+ will be the best.

     

    Softbank/YMobile! are a fine balance of coverage and power.

     

     

    When I look at other company's website it says "unlimited data" but on your list it doesn't. Why?

    I have done the research to find the agreements. Most companies like to advertise "UNLIMITED" because it sounds more exciting for the user, but most are not actually unlimited. The exception that I found so far, upon confirming with service provider, is JapanWifiBuddy's "Diamond", which is not actually listed on this page.

     

    I have checked each of the company's agreements and provided this information to you. When they say unlimited they mean that you will always have a connection, but 3G connection is usually slow. So please be careful.

     

    Where can I pick up my items?

    Almost every company offers shipping to all of the airports, or your hotel. Some companies provide this as a free service, and some are not free. Some companies have locations at the airport too, but they are usually very expensive.

     

    Some companies can also ship to your AirBNB or to a shipping company that is very close to your AirBNB. You can ask their customer service if they can do this.

     

    Airport and post office staff are used to speaking to people who can't speak Japanese, so don't worry.

     

    I'm going to Japan alone. Isn't a sim card the best option for one person?

    In many cases, especially for heavier user, a pocket wifi can be a better option because it usually provides more data and flexible rental lengths. I have heard of many cases where sim cards have compatibility issue with certain models of phones or tablets too, but almost every time there are no problems with pocket wifi.

     

  • Confused?

    If you have more questions, I am happy to help you. I know all network's coverage too.

    Don't see a company you're interested in? Tell me and I can research for you.