Have you ever had trouble that your cell phone or PC cannot connect to the network when you want to see the Google map while traveling? In such a case, it is very convenient if you can access free public Wi-Fi easily.
In recent years, free Wi-Fi services have started to spread in Japan, but they are still fewer compared to overseas, much less the usage of Wi-Fi service written in English. (From a questionnaire for international visitors to Japan by the Japan Tourism Agency in 2017, the second higher answer of the most common worry during traveling was few free public Wi-Fi.)
In this article, I will introduce how visitors to Japan from abroad can easily find free Wi-Fi services at restaurants, stations, and public facilities. (It contains a service the Japanese cannot use.) Check out which free Wi-Fi service is easy to use for your travel plans.
- 1 Danger and Cautionary Note You Should Know Before Using Free Public Wi-Fi in Japan
- 2 Two Best Free Public Wi-Fi Apps that International Travelers Can Use in Japan
- 3 More Free Wi-Fi Service Easy to Use for Foreign Visitors in Japan
- 4 Summary
Danger and Cautionary Note You Should Know Before Using Free Public Wi-Fi in Japan
I told you to introduce free Wi-Fi service, but before that, let’s keep in mind the dangers and precautions in using it.
There are two types of free Wi-Fi, one is encrypted, and the other is not. When you look at the settings, the encrypted Wi-Fi is marked with a key. In order to connect to it, you need to enter a password or register with your email address.
You may feel troublesome and try to connect to unencrypted Wi-Fi (without a key) when you want to access the network for a bit during the trip. However, please wait a minute, that is very dangerous.
Unencrypted Wi-Fi is the same as an unlocked entrance for malicious people, which means they can steal your information easily. In other words, the all contents of your emails and chats will be visible.
There are also fake SSIDs (network names) that appear as if they have keyed access points, and you may connect to them while not knowing. If you access it, all the communication will go through the computer of the fake network, and your login ID and the password of the net banking or the credit card numbers may be stolen.
However, if you just search websites on Google or browse YouTube, you don’t have to worry about being stolen so you can use free unlocked Wi-Fi. If you want to use the network other than it, it is recommended to use encrypted Wi-Fi that requires authentication once even if it is a little troublesome.
Nevertheless, the security of the network is not always 100% perfect even if it has a key. Because there are vulnerabilities depending on the type of connection, it is safe to avoid entering important information or shopping on the network as much as possible when connecting to public Wi-Fi.
With that in mind, try looking for easy-to-use Wi-Fi while introducing it from now on.
Two Best Free Public Wi-Fi Apps that International Travelers Can Use in Japan
There are many restaurants, cafes, train stations, and airports which provide public Wi-Fi service for free in Japan. In order to use it at each spot, usually, it is necessary to select the SSID with the name of the facility from settings, to take the authentication procedure like to register your email address or accept the agreement, and finally, it will connect.
However, when you would like to see the mobile map or search for sightseeing spots every time you move while traveling, it takes time to register on a different Wi-Fi connection at each spot.
There are two good apps that international travelers visiting Japan can connect to public Wi-Fi in various spots without having every procedure just if you’ve done it once at the beginning by free of charge.
Why You Can Connect to Various Public Wi-Fi with Only Two Apps For Free
These two apps are managed by two of the three major telecommunications carriers in Japan. One can make you connect to “Wi2 300” service provided by Wire & Wireless, a subsidiary of KDDI, and the other is provided by NTT BP (NTT Broadband Platform) from NTT Group.
In fact, most facilities like cafes and stations in Japan which have free Wi-Fi service have a contract with either of these two companies. We can usually get the Wi-Fi service with a certain procedure at each facility. However, these two apps can reduce all the procedure. That’s why you can connect to them with only two apps for free!! Isn’t it cool?
Moreover, there is one app that only foreigners visiting Japan can use for free although we Japanese are charged for use.
“TRAVEL JAPAN Wi-Fi”; Provide Paid Wi-Fi Service to Travelers from Overseas For Free!
Public wireless LAN called “Wi2 300” by Wire & Wireless is a service that ties up with more than 200,000 stores and public facilities and provides free Wi-Fi exclusively for each spot.
However, if we subscribe directly to the pay-plan of “Wi2 300” in advance, we can smoothly access over 60,000 spots nationwide (over 200,000 spots depending on the plan) without registering at each spot.
Furthermore, travelers from abroad are able to use the same Wi-Fi (over 200,000) spots with no charge by using the special app called TRAVEL JAPAN Wi-Fi. Once you register the app, it automatically leads to all the Wi-Fi of “Wi2 300”.
The way of usage is displayed on the official website in English, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Korean, and Thai. (We cannot even download this app on a smartphone or tablet used in Japanese.) You can search the access points from the map on the site.
The other day I saw a person actually using the app. It certainly looked to have many access points. However, the operation of the cell phone itself got very slow, and it took a little time to connect while looking for the points. Although I do not recommend the app that much when you want to see it immediately or at a glance, it will be easier to use when you sit relaxingly at the restaurant or facility where this service is provided.
- Number of spots: 200,000 or more
- Supported languages: 5 languages (English / 中文 ( 简 – 繁) / 한국어 / ภาษา ไทย )
“Japan Connected-free Wi-Fi”; with 16 Languages!
This is also a free Wi-Fi app provided by NTTBP Corporation for international travelers visiting Japan and can be used at more than 170,000 cafes and sightseeing spots throughout the country. Because it corresponds to 16 languages including Japanese, all the Japanese can use it free of charge.
If you register this app with an email address or an SNS account only once at the beginning, you don’t need to do the registration procedure for each Wi-Fi spot.
However, it may be a little troublesome to select the SSID from the settings and tap the Connect button each time you get to the Wi-Fi spot you want to use.
On the website of the app, you can also find the Wi-Fi spots.
- Number of spots: 170,000 or more
- Languages on app: 16 languages (English / Japanese / 中文 ( 简 · 繁)) 한국어 / ภาษา ไทย / Bahasa Indonesia / Melayu / français / español / Deutsch / italiano / русский / Português / Ti η ng Vi nt t / Tagalog)
- Languages on the official website: 6 languages (English / Japanese / 中文 ( 简 and 繁)) 한국어 / ภาษา ไทย )
More Free Wi-Fi Service Easy to Use for Foreign Visitors in Japan
Even without downloading the special apps like the above, there are also services that can be registered on the browser, or a free Wi-Fi service that can be used only by users who have registered membership in advance.
“FREE Wi-Fi PASSPORT”; The Largest Number of Domestic Wi-Fi Spots!
It is a Wi-Fi spot that SOFTBANK, one of the three major carriers in Japan, offers for travelers visiting Japan, and currently, it can connect with about 400,000 cafes, restaurants, stations, and other public facilities. The number of Wi-Fi spots is the largest currently in Japan. The period that can be used free of charge is two weeks.
In order to issue passwords by telephone authentication, foreigners visiting Japan must have their cell phones connected to international roaming. The telephone guidance corresponds to English, Chinese, and Korean with the automated voice. If you want to use more than two weeks, you can extend the period by issuing a new password again.
- Number of spots: 400,000 or more
- Supported languages: 4 languages (English / 中文 ( 简 · 繁) / 한국어 )
“FON”: New Service Connected Between Members
This service is offered only to members of “FON”, a Wi-Fi system company headquartered in Spain. It is necessary to set a FON exclusive router at home in advance and register as a member. It is a kind of community service that provides and shares free Wi-Fi among FON users who are over 23 million people all over the world. Since it is worldwide common, there are of course English sites.
It can be used not only in Japan, but also in 150 countries mainly in Europe to all over the world, so it may be a good system for those who fly around the world.
- Number of spots: over 23 million in 150 countries worldwide
- Supported languages: English / Japanese and other
I introduced two free Wi-Fi applications and two services which can be authenticated by the browser for travelers from overseas. Basically, if you put the first two apps on your cell phone, you will be able to find places to connect to Wi-Fi at most public facilities.
But free Wi-Fi has a disadvantage that the network is cut off while walking or traveling by train. Also, you must be careful that the battery of the devices which constantly looks for Wi-Fi runs out faster.
If you want to connect to a stable network while moving, you can also rent a pocket Wi-Fi. You can apply for it before leaving your country and always carry it around during the trip, so you will travel safely looking for Google map in unknown areas.