From July 1st, 2015  Softbank Mobile Corp, one of 3 major communication networks, will launch a “free wifi for foreigners” campgain.

“SoftBank Mobile to Offer “FREE Wi-Fi PASSPORT”
for Visitors to Japan
New service is both convenient and secure against unauthorized use
No need to download an app — register by just calling a dedicated phone number!”

 

In the meantime you have a few other choices that may be more reliable:

1. SIM Card. If you’re smartphone is unlocked, you can get a sim card ordered to the airport or hotel and get internet access immediately.

There are several companies that issue them and you can check out their English websites.

One of the more famous ones is Bmobile:  http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/

2. Portable wifi or (pocket wifi). These last for about 7 hours a day and handy if you want to watch a movie or have a faster internet connection. Order and pick them up at the airport or hotel like SIMs and send them back by mail or drop off centers at airports.

http://www.globaladvancedcomm.com/pocketwifi.html

 

3. “Net Cafe”. They are everywhere, virtually near every station. Depending on the net cafe, you there are showers, private rooms, drink bars, etc. And no doubt they are quite fancy as well. The staff may not be able to speak English at all, but you’ll be fine.

Here is an example list of available net cafes in Shibuya

http://mobile-netcafe.com/station/010-%E6%B8%8B%E8%B0%B7%E9%A7%85.html 

If you want to go the cheap or “free” route, go to a starbucks and use their free wifi. You’ll have to register by submitting your email address but it’s not too slow. The downfall is that you can only access it when near the shop or in it, but if you don’t plan on using your smartphone much during your trip, it’s not a bad option.

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