Amazing Tips for WiFi and Easy Japan Travel
Joy buzzed through my body. 15 years of marriage later, I was taking my husband on a dream trip to Japan. Nervous energy kicked in too as I packed suitcases. For the first time I was going to meet Japanese friends I’d spoken to on Skype. (iTalki.com and CaféTalk.com are inexpensive ways to learn and practice Japanese. Discernment of whom you choose to befriend is a definite plus.)
Upon arrival in Osaka’s Kansai Airport, I was still deliriously happy from traveling in business class. (Thanks to credit card air miles.) Standing in line for customs, I caught up in e-mail via FreeWiFi@KIX. (Tokyo airports have similar free Wi-Fi services. Haneda: HANEDA-FREE-WIFI Narita: Click here. Where you are in the humongous airport determines the address.)
It wasn’t until we were leaving our hotel that I realized no Wi-Fi was available! Japanese friends told me of an app that promises connection to free Wi-Fi hot spots…They never worked for me or my husband (whose livelihood requires a high technology acumen.)
For work my husband arranged for an expensive call plan with AT & T. It soon became apparent that wasn’t sufficient. So we purchased a SIM card for his iPhone. (I should have done the same. Next time I wouldn’t worry about saving a few yen. I’d rather share the joy of being in Japan on social media in real time.)
Ninja Notes about SIM cards in Japan:
1. If you do not live in Japan and cannot provide a residence card, you will be politely banished from SoftBank, DoCoMo or other major Japanese carriers.
2. Make sure your smart phone from home is unlocked so you can purchase and insert a SIM card.
3. Look to buy MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) SIM cards.
4. Akihabara (in Tokyo) is the mecca of technology (as well as anime.)
Alongside the maid cafés featuring young girls in micro-mini uniforms, there are countless stores singing Siren songs to the geek crowd with the latest and greatest gadgets.
5. If you’d like to purchase your SIM card from an English speaker, visit Yodobashi Akihabara Camera. They are open 365 days of the year! (Yodobashi stores are found throughout Japan.)
6. BIC Camera (is another store where you may be helped in English. Shibuya and Shinjuku – hot spots – for foreigners may be your best bet.)
7. Kitty corner across from Tokyo Station – the South Exit – see the many floors of electronics and SIM cards in Concept Labi Tokyo. They also have English speakers on staff.
8. Another stellar way to obtain a prepaid SIM card is from II Jmio. Their services are tailor made for the English-speaking crowd. Click here for the details.
P.s. You’ll see vending machines selling SIM cards at the airports…Personally, I prefer to interact with a human being who can advise which SIM card is best for a particular phone.
Another option is to rent a portable Wi-Fi gadget. It fits in a shirt pocket.
PuPuRu International makes their pocket Wi-Fi gadgets and their phone rentals readily available and accessible to the traveler. Upon landing, you can pick up the phone at the airport. Or have it delivered to your hotel between 10 a.m. and 12 noon. All the details are here in English. Per a PuPuRu representative, it is important that you make reservations for your pocket Wi-Fi and/or rental phone at least 3 days before arrival.
The PuPuRu counter:
Haneda Airport (Tokyo) 24/7 for reserved phones and pocket Wi-Fis
Narita Airport (Tokyo) 6 a.m. to the arrival of the last flight for reserved phones and pocket Wi-Fis
Osaka (Kansai Airport) 6:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for reserved phones and pocket Wi-Fis
***Same day rentals are available at the branch office in Tokyo near the American Embassy.
Japan Airlines also provides a rental cell phone service. If you are a JMB (Japan Mileage Bank) member, you can also accrue extra miles to use for your next trip…to Japan!
Wishing you joy as you make new friends and connections in Japan.
The Ninja Baker
© ™ Watkinson 2012
The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.