Looking for a place to chill out with free public WiFi in Japan? So far it has been hard to come by, to say the least. Some of the JR train stations offer it in very limited areas and often with convoluted or spotty login instructions. The city of Fukuoka has it in their metro stations, which is nice. The airports have it now, in some shape or form or at a few shops. But out in the cities, at coffee shops? Not so much. Hotels have it sometimes, but more often than not, it’s LAN connection for a laptop. (Bring a portable WiFi router if you are not sure about your hotel’s WiFi capability – LAN connections are almost standard.) Starbucks has it — sort of. See below.
The explanation for such a lack of cyber access in what many expect to be a uber-wired society similar to South Korea is that everyone has had data access with their phones for so long, that it wasn’t really in demand for the locals. Noting the abundance of flip phones still in use, I’m not sure I’m convinced they are really as cutting edge as they once were.
But recently more efforts to make WiFi available to tourists are making big changes. The most recent and perhaps best option for Tokyo, Yokohama and other parts of Eastern Japan is with NTTEast:
This is for tourists only. You can download the app (NAVITIME for Japan Travel) before your trip for your phone. Or you can obtain a card from a number of stores listed on their website below. This requires your passport number and some travelers may be shy about giving that. (But didn’t you do that at the airport already anyway?)
Then just look for the hotspots on the website map or on shop windows:
This service will get you 14 days of free WiFi in Japan. You are allowed to register for this once in 90 days. Complete instructions are here: http://flets.com/freewifi/service.html
Signing up for Free WiFi at Starbucks in Japan
Free Starbucks Wi-Fi service is available, but the funny thing is, you need internet to sign up for it. So do yourself a favor and do that before your trip or from your hotel room before you go to get coffee:
They want your email address, which will be your login name, and a password. Click agree on Terms of Service and then you will receive an email at the address you used. Click the link or cut and paste it to a browser and you are in business.
Connect to STARBUCKS_Wi2 and open a browser to complete the sign in.
Support number is 0120-921-074 from 10am-7pm
Find a participating location near where you are staying:
If you hear of any other wide-ranging programs for free WiFi in Japan, feel free to add them in the comments!