WiFi Hotspot Access in Japan ?

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WiFi Hotspot Access in Japan ?

Postby dshadoff » Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:21 pm

I'm planning a trip to Japan this summer, and I'm trying to figure out how to get WiFi access for my netbook or iPad which I will bring with me while I travel.

Although my hotel(s) advertise internet access, I have found this doesn't always work and is often only wired-access - so I wanted to find a flexible alternative "just in case".

So far, my research has shown that:

(a) There are very few free-access hotspots, but many "paid" hotspots in the areas I will be going
(b) McDonalds seems to have huge coverage, and some other places (Tully's, Starbucks, MOS Burger) seem to be inconsistent
(c) Paid-hotspot access seems to be via a few major carriers:
- Boingo
- iPass
- MobilePoint BB
- Softbank BB
- NTT Docomo

The best I can determine from these:
- MobilePoint, Softbank, and NTT Docomo seem to be geared toward Japanese residents who already have a broadband or cellphone account with these carriers (ie. I can't get this)
- iPass seems to be geared toward international, large-company workforces rather than individuals (ie. I can't get this)
- Boingo will possibly work, with a $7.95/mo recurring account for this access (which is apparently hard to discontinue), or $1.99/hour pay-as-you-go credit system on iPhone/iPad (the only apparent option for me at this point)

Does anybody else have information to share on this ?

Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: WiFi Hotspot Access in Japan ?

Postby sebring001 » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:28 am


I was fortunate enough to have Ipass from my company. It worked great as there were many locations I could use it. I know you don't have that option. However, you may be in luck if you are a Sprint user. My Touch Pro and Touch Pro 2 worked down there with no modifications. Sprint has an unlimted international data plan for $40 per month(just enable and cancel when you return to the States). You can then tether it to your laptop or use WMWifiRouter to wifi tether your Ipad. Don't go too crazy on the MB usage(streaming movies) and you'll be ok. This will work for the greater Tokyo area but there may be some dead zones. Also, I am assuming you have a Touch Pro 2. Hope this helps,

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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:00 am

Re: WiFi Hotspot Access in Japan ?

Postby dshadoff » Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:50 pm

Thanks Arwann,

Actually, I found (buried somewhere deep within their byzantine website), a link to 3rd-party providers for iPass.
Trouble was, it was about $8/month *plus* usage time, at a rate of about $5/hour. (Too much !)

Unfortunately, I'm from Canada and don't have access to any Sprint plan like that; my cellphone company charges colossal amounts for international data, and my Blackberry isn't a 3G version (it just does EDGE) so I doubt it would work there.

However, I have a friend who will be able to help me out with the FamiPort's prepaid access, so I'll be good.
1000yen for 2 weeks is a much better deal than I was expecting.
Once I come back, I'll try to remember to write up some more detailed instructions for the whole procedure, as the activation step still seems a bit vague for now.

Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

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