Top 10 Ways To Connect to Free WiFi in Japan

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Internet and Free WiFi in Japan

Japan sounds like it'd be a country where everyone has free wi-fi all the time in every spot. Wrong! You can get free wi-fi in Japan but you need to understand there are a lot more rules around it and hoops you need to jump through in order to take advantage of it. But never fear; that's what this toolkit is all about. After today, you'll have all the pieces to the free wi-fi puzzle and be able to identify what options are best for you.

For a list of my best resources and explanations, get the Gaijin Toolbox here which brings all of the pieces together to help you NOT feel and act like a tourist in Japan. Your time is precious; use it wisely.

1. Japan Connected-Free Wi-Fi

japan free wifi internet

  1. The app in the above picture is Japan Connected-Free Wifi. This is one of the apps you need to have downloaded and ready ahead. I recommend doing it before you leave America sometime. You can use the wi-fi this app provides by remembering the following:
    • At the airport like Haneda or Narita, find the Japan wifi computer kiosk (the tourist information center can tell you where it is when you ask for japan wi-fi).
    • It will have you scan your passport so have that ready.
    • It will then spit out a little receipt that has a long password that will work for 14 days exact to that very time. And once you log in with this password once, your device should automatically remember it. But keep this receipt just in case you switch devices or need to re-enter it at any time.
    • You can use this wi-fi in lots of train stations (but not all) and many other spots as well. If you see a wi-fi sticker in a cafe wall just try it and see if it works.
    • Be careful! It will kick you out after 2 hours. It can also be very slow if a lot of people are using it at that same time. As is most wi-fi it is also unsecured.
    • Their website boasts 144,000 covered hotspots and you can download an offline map of these areas which is a very useful feature.

    It has been slow for me before in places like Shibuya and Shinjuku. But I still really like having it as an option just in case. And I really like how it's not device specific. Meaning you can use it on any device with this app along with your specific password. But the setup can take a few minutes so it's nice to get that out of the way before you get there.

    *To see a map of the usable areas, click here.

2. Travel Japan

travel japan free wifi internet

2. Travel Japan is another wi-fi app that's handy to download and have just in case. The only requirement:

  • It will require you to install a "profile". This is what helps connect your phone to the network.
  • This one boasts a network of 200,000 hotspots around Japan. So keep an eye out for this logo.
  • It has also been slow for me before but there is no max limit of time which is better than Japan Connected-Free Wifi.
  • Allows connecting to any of the following network names: Wi2, Wi2_club, Wi2_free, wifi_square, UQ_Wi-Fi, Wi2premium, & Wi2premium_club

Between Japan Connected-Free Wifi and Travel Japan, they each work well in different places so I like to have both ready so I can get free wifi in Japan as much as possible.

*For a map of the coverage areas, click here.

3. Starbucks

starbucks free wifi internet

3. Aah, Starbucks! Where we can always count on a hot cappuccino and free wi-fi. Well Starbucks has it but getting it you need to follow some steps first. You should be able to get free wifi in Japan by logging in with a social networking account but this has been hit-and-miss in my experience. So I'd recommend the 2nd option, registering your e-mail address. That way you do it now and won't have issues later.

Logging in with social networking accounts:

  • You can access the hotspot using your Facebook, Google or Twitter account login.
  • Simply connect to at_STARBUCKS_Wi2, launch a browser and log in with your social account in the SNS section. A continuous connection is available for 1 hour. Should you wish to continue using the Internet after your time is up, all you have to do is log in again.

Register via email:

  • For those who don't want to use social media accounts (and want the peace of mind ahead), pre-registration is required.
  • You will need an Internet connection to be able to complete the registration process.
  • The registration process is very simple, can be completed in seconds, and you only need to do it once.
    • Access the registration screen at: http://starbucks.wi2.co.jp and enter your email address and a password of your choice.
    • Check your inbox and click on the link in a registration email that should be waiting for you to complete this step for free wifi in Japan.
    • This email only remains valid for 24 hours so be sure to confirm the email you receive ASAP so you don't have to start the process over again.

When you log in with a pre-registered email:

  • Connect to “at_STARBUCKS_Wi2”, open a browser and type in your log-in ID (your email address) and password.
  • Multiple devices can be used with the same log-in but not simultaneously. But if you need to you can use another e-mail address to log in on a different device which skirts around the problem.

Which Starbucks can I be sure to offer this Wi-Fi?

All spots with this sign can give you assurance.

japan starbucks wifi free internet

 

4. McDonalds

japan mcdonalds wifi free internet

4. So as of last summer, Mcdonald's finally got free wifi in Japan into their locations. I have not used it yet but after doing some research the process seems pretty much identical to Starbucks. Here's the goods:

  • Connect to the network: 00_MCD-FREE-WIFI
  • Click agree
  • Open a web browser in Safari/Chrome/Your choice
  • You can register with social media accounts/SNS
  • Or you can register with an email address
    • However, that email (just like Starbuck's) needs to be registered and right now they aren't mentioning where to register it ahead of time. I'll keep checking up on this and updating once I find out more.

*For IPhone users, their website states that after you connect to the network and click agree, the browser will pop up automatically.

For more, the website is here.

 

Free WiFi in Japan can be found in many other places. You just need to know where to look. Be on the lookout for any of these options if you need to make a quick Skype call, get directions, or check your e-mail.

5. Convenience Stores

  • Lawson
  • 7-Eleven
  • Family Mart (although the registration page is entirely in Japanese)

6. Tourist Information Centers

It's lovely to be a tourist sometimes. Feeling lost? Confused? Can't connect connect to the internet? If you're in a big city or near a train station you will most likely be able to find a tourist information center. Sometimes they have free 2 week wifi cards with a special password on them. Other times they will allow you to use complimentary wifi in their center your problem is resolved.

7. Many Airbnb lodgings will offer a complimentary pocket Wi-Fi

Be sure to check the amenities listed. If they offer wi-fi you can ask whether it's mobile wifi or only within the lodging. Pocket wi-fi and Mi-fi are both mobile options that would be helpful to connect to the internet.

8. Internet Cafes and Manga Kissa

These are mostly like rows of computers in little cubicles in one area with another area dedicated to light food and drinks. This is a common place for teenagers, homeless, and people out of work to hang out during the day and night. They are usually open throughout the night and may charge per hour. They often have a shower in the back as well.

9. Some popular neighborhoods along the main road

  • Harajuku
  • Omotesando
  • If you know of another one please let me know in the comment section below

10. Many bus stops with a Wi-Fi sticker posted

The wi-fi sticker may look different at different bus stops. But it will say wi-fi in English most likely. And if it has a wi-fi symbol but no English, pull out your phone and see if you can connect.