Best Pocket WiFi in Japan Rental & Alternatives: Travelers Guide

Internet access is extremely important for navigation, information lookups, maps and staying connected when traveling in Japan. One great option is renting a pocket WiFi in Japan. This handy gadget provides WiFi connectivity on the go for phones, tablets, and laptops. This guide covers everything you need to know about renting reliable pocket WiFi in Japan to keep you connected while exploring.

pocket wifi in japan

I. What is pocket WiFi in Japan?

A pocket WiFi device, also known as a mobile WiFi router, is a small portable router that allows you to connect to the internet wirelessly. It works just like the WiFi in a hotel or cafe, but it goes with you anywhere!

Rent Pocket WiFi in Japan

Pocket WiFis connect to the cellular LTE mobile network, so unlike a public WiFi connection, it is private and secure. It allows you to be online even when roaming around cities or traveling on bullet trains across Japan.

The main components of the pocket WiFi are:

  • A portable WiFi router or MiFi device
  • A prepaid data SIM card that provides mobile data
  • A rechargable battery that can last over 12+ hours

Most pocket WiFi rentals aimed at travelers provide unlimited data usage in Japan so you don’t need to worry about data limits. Speeds are typically fast enough for most common traveler needs like web browsing, using Google Maps or translation apps, messaging, and social media. Streaming video should work fine, but may reduce quality at times depending on cellular network congestion.

II. Why Renting a Pocket WiFi for Japan Travel?

Staying connected while traveling in Japan is important for keeping in touch with friends and family, getting directions, translating phrases, and more. Renting a pocket WiFi router is a convenient option that gives travelers portable internet access anywhere in the country.

Benefits of Pocket Wifi for travelers to Japan

There are many good reasons to rent a pocket WiFi while traveling in Japan:

  • Convenience: Stay connected anywhere in Japan, without having to worry about finding Wi-Fi hotspots or switching SIM cards. Pocket WiFi in Japan is small and portable, so you can easily carry it with you wherever you go.
  • Multiple device connections: Share the internet connection with up to 5 devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops. This is ideal for families or groups traveling together.
  • Unlimited data: Many pocket WiFi rental companies offer unlimited data plans, so you don’t have to worry about exceeding your data limit and incurring additional charges.
  • Reliable connection: Pocket WiFi in Japan typically uses a mobile data network, which provides a more reliable and faster connection than public Wi-Fi.
  • Easy to use: Pocket WiFi devices are very easy to set up and use, even for those who are not tech-savvy.

Pocket WiFi vs. Other Connectivity options:

  • Local SIM Card: More affordable, especially for short trips and single device usage. However, coverage might be limited, and setup can be more complex.
  • Roaming: Convenient but often expensive with limited data allowances.
  • Public WiFi: Free, but availability and security can be unreliable.

In conclusion, while Pocket WiFi in Japan offers convenience, indeed, local SIM cards are generally more affordable, especially for shorter trips or single-device use. Consider your data usage, travel style, and budget before making a decision.

III. Japan eSIM – Alternative to Pocket WiFi to Get Internet in Japan

Japan eSIM
Japan eSIM

While portable WiFi routers are a great choice, there is an alternative newer option travelers should consider – the Japan eSIM.

An eSIM or electronic SIM is a special cellular data SIM card that is embedded directly into your device unlike a physical nano SIM card. eSIMs are programmable allowing you to digitally activate data plans over-the-air.

More newer phones and tablets have built-in eSIM support. To use it when traveling in Japan, you activate the eSIM with a Japan data plan that supports unlimited LTE data usage just like a typical tourist SIM.

The main benefits of using Japan eSIM vs pocket WiFi in Japan are:

  • No need to rent separate gadget as using your phone directly
  • Simple setup, just digital activation and ready to use internet
  • Use regular strong cellular signal vs relying on portable router’s weaker antenna reception
  • Long battery with phone power saving mode, no need to recharge another device
  • Cosmetic appeal – no need to have extra travel gadget

Right now eSIM support on iPhones is quite usable with major providers in Japan offering compatible data plans with unlimited data. However Android phone support is still a work in progress.

While Japanese mobile operators like Docomo, SoftBank, and au offer eSIMs, other providers like GIGAGO cater specifically to travelers with competitive prices and flexible data packages for Japan.

Rely on a GIGAGO eSIM for internet in Japan. No pocket WiFi needed – just download our app before your trip for unlimited high-speed data anywhere. Instant activation online and worry-free connectivity without physical SIM cards. Explore more of Japan without limitations. Get your Japan eSIM from GIGAGO now for reliable connectivity during your travels.

IV. How to Get a Pocket WiFi for Travelers to Japan?

It’s quite easy to rent a pocket WiFi router for your Japan trip. There are a variety of rental options available to research:

1. Rental Companies

Many international travel rental ecommerce sites offer pocket WiFi and Japan SIM card rentals including delivery to your home before departure or airport/hotel pickup in Japan on arrival. Some recommended rental sites to consider are: Japan WirelessPuPuRu, Mobal Global, GlocalMe Devices, etc.

Renting online in advance ensures you get the mobile WiFI router promptly on arrival without hassles hunting in Japan. Delivery fees vary so factor that cost in as well.

PuPuRu Pocket WiFi
PuPuRu Pocket WiFi

2. Airport Rental Counters

If you did not rent pocket WiFi online beforehand, there are often rental desks & counters at major airports like Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai, etc that you can visit to get a device immediately. However rental stock and English support at these airport locations can vary greatly. Renting online still remains most reliable.

Pocket WiFi Rental at Airport

3. Local Japan Retail Shops

There are some consumer electronics chain stores in Japan like Bic Camera or Yodobashi Camera that may sell pocket WiFi in Japan. However lacking English support generally makes that quite complex for travelers. Rental companies prepared for foreigners are simplest.

Pocket WiFi in Yodobashi Camera
Pocket WiFi in Yodobashi Camera

Wherever you obtain your pocket WiFi in Japan, be sure to test internet connectivity and speed right away in case an exchange is needed. Also ask lots of questions upfront about throttled data speeds or other limitations if any.

V. How many devices can connect to a pocket Wifi in Japan?

Most portable WiFi routers designed for travelers will allow connecting approximately 5-10 devices simultaneously. But actual number can vary a bit by model and cellular network performance.

Some key factors affecting number of devices that can reliably connect per portable WiFi include:

  • Total Data Speed Entry level pocket Wifi plans may have maximum data speeds around 5 Mbps. Higher speed units can reach 100 Mbps or more. Naturally higher total data throughput supports more devices.
  • 2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz Newer units may broadcast dual WiFi bands allowing more total connections split between the frequencies. 5 GHz channels typically support more devices.
  • Congestion & Interference In very crowded dense urban areas with many strong cellular signals all competing, usable capacity may decrease a bit. Similarly inside bullet trains full of hundreds of phone users at once, throughput may dip temporarily.
  • Battery & Antenna Power Pocket routers need sufficient battery and antenna power to maintain multiple device connections reliably. Underpowered units can struggle reaching 5+ gadgets stably.

As long as you avoid the most basic plans, most standard pocket WiFis from reputable providers will handle average traveler needs to get a family group fully online simultaneously the majority of the time while exploring Japan.

VI. How much does Pocket WiFi in Japan Cost?

Cost for renting a pocket WiFi in Japan generally runs from about 500 to 3000 JPY (~$5-$30 USD) per day of rental. Most travelers rent for 1-2 weeks which keeps the total reasonable.

Key factors affecting the daily rental rate include:

  • Data Speed Basic plans: ~5 Mbps runs $5-10/day Fast plans: ~100 Mbps runs closer to $15-$20+/day
  • Data Usage Limits Truly unlimited data without throttling costs more than “unlimited with high usage” plans that may experience slow speeds if using >10GB per day. Completely unrestricted highest speed data gets most expensive.
  • Rental Time Period Daily rates drop the longer the total rental period whether its 1 week or 1 month. Mid-length trips around 2 weeks duration tend to offer the best deals. Very short 1-3 day or long 1+ month rentals don’t save as much.
  • Advanced Reservation Discounts Booking earlier in advance such as 1 month before departure tends to offer lower base pricing compared to short notice reservations. However peak holiday travel times still jump in cost regardless.
  • Equipment & Features Newer high capability units supporting more LTE bands worldwide or connecting many devices simultaneously also raise rates a bit. Basic single-band pocket WiFis cost less.

Shopping around across a few provider sites for deals can save some money. But generally for fast, unlimited service expect around 1000 – 1500 JPY ($10-$15 USD) daily being typical for travelers.

VII. Best Wifi Pockets for Japan travel – Which to choose?

With the wide variety of Japan pocket WiFi models available from so many providers, it can get overwhelming deciding which is “the best” to rent. Here are key aspects to consider when picking a pocket WiFi in Japan for your trip:

  • Japanese Brands: For reliable local connectivity in Japan that international devices may lack, brands like NTT DoCoMo, Softbank, AU by KDDI are safest bets if available. But higher rental prices.
  • Global LTE Bands: Many Japan pocket routers only support local frequency bands. For international travel beyond Japan, look for ones with universal quad or penta-band cellular compatibility.

While every user’s needs are bit different, reviewing these aspects when selecting a pocket WiFi in Japan will lead you to the most suitable high-speed, reliable connectivity experience.

Pocket Wifi from au by KDDI
Pocket Wifi from au by KDDI

VIII. How to use your pocket Wifi in Japan?

Here is a brief guide on getting started and properly operating your Japan pocket WiFi rental device:

  1. Charge the device: Ensure the Pocket WiFi is fully charged before using it. Most devices take a few hours to charge completely.
  2. Turn it on: Locate the power button on the device and press it to turn it on. The device will usually take a minute or two to boot up.
  3. Connect to the WiFi network: Open your device’s Wi-Fi settings and search for the Pocket WiFi’s network name (SSID), which will be provided in the rental instructions.
  4. Enter the password: Once you find the network, enter the password (also provided in the instructions) to connect.
  5. Verify connection: Open a web browser to confirm you have internet access.

Be sure to review the pocket WiFi user manual for all the specifics on changing password, configuring settings, troubleshooting issues, etc. Also research help resources from your particular rental provider. Maintaining reliable connectivity minimizes frustrations when traveling in Japan!

Additional tips:

  • Keep the Pocket WiFi in a safe place and avoid damaging it.
  • Take note of the return deadline and any associated fees for late returns.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers accidental damage to the device.

IX. FAQs about Japan Pocket Wifi Rental

Does pocket WiFi in Japan work on bullet trains?

Pocket WiFi routers work reliably on Japan’s high-speed Shinkansen bullet trains, even at speeds up to 300 kph. Connectivity may briefly cut in tunnels but otherwise stays solid for internet, GPS and more. Just don’t forget the device onboard!

Can I use pocket WiFi outside Japan?

Some rental pocket routers only work on local Japanese cellular bands. For roaming abroad, check for universal quad/penta-band models to use WiFi in most Asian countries. Confirm roaming data rates won’t result in expensive international charges.

What if my pocket WiFi stops working?

Rental providers replace faulty units promptly. Confirm replacement options ahead of time. Call support immediately for SIM issues. 24/7 support offers reassurance.

What is the pickup and return process?

Many pocket WiFi rentals deliver to your home/hotel in Japan before arrival. Returns use included shipping labels from locations like airports. Confirm fees and details with your rental company beforehand for simple, hassle-free service.

Any tips for extending my pocket WiFi’s battery runtime?

Conserve battery by dimming screens and using power saving modes. Bring extra batteries for off-grid areas to keep your router powered up all day.

X. Conclusion

Reliable high-speed mobile internet is essential for traveling Japan today. Services like pocket WiFis and eSIM provide constant connectivity for navigation, translations, payments and coordination on the go. Round-the-clock data access makes exploring Japan infinitely smoother. This guide outlines securing fast, unlimited pocket WiFi to avoid issues from lack of internet. The small daily fee is worth preventing frustrations while roaming Japan freely with WiFi. Happy travels!