Staying connected

There are a number of options available for keeping connected while in Japan, depending on your needs and budget.

If you plan to come with your own phone and intend to use it for voice calls, check with your carrier first to make sure that your phone will work and that the roaming charges won’t break the bank!

If you just want to make/receive voice calls, then renting a simple phone is probably your best option. There are a variety of companies offering this sort of service; please ask us for more information on this if needed. Generally, you complete an online order form and the phone will be waiting for you at your hotel on arrival.

If you have smart phones such as iphones, and want to be able to use them to connect to the internet as well, another option would be to rent a pocket wifi router, known as a mifi. Although this doesn’t allow you to make voice calls in the normal way, it does allow you to use apps such as Skype or Line for making free voice or video calls and sending text messages. Having access to the internet while out and about can of course be very useful. There are several companies offering these pocket routers so if you want to be able to use the internet as well as make voice calls (via an app), this would be a good option. The other benefit is that one pocket wifi router will connect up to 10 devices, depending on the particular model.

You can also buy a prepaid SIM card for internet use but these do not work for normal voice calls, being for data only. However, with the ease of VoIP calls and messaging apps these days, a SIM card offers a very convenient and reasonably priced option for both keeping in touch with home and accessing the internet while travelling.

The free wifi coverage in Japan isn’t especially great and if you’re out and about, without one of these pocket wifi routers, getting a connection can be tricky. However, there is a free wifi service for tourists in Eastern Japan, which includes many places in the Tokyo area, which can also be useful. This can be fine when you’re in an area with coverage but less useful outside those areas. Most hotels now offer complementary in room wifi but this cannot be guaranteed.