Ultimate Guide to the BEST POCKET WIFI RENTAL in Japan
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Gone are the days when we need paper maps. In my opinion, bringing a paper map with you when traveling is a recipe for disaster. You’d end up standing inpower the middle of God-knows-where, your eyes bulging out as you try to read the minuscule street names and alleyways on the paper map, only to end up still being lost. Thankfully, we live in the age of smartphones. Smartphones are your best friend. They contain navigation apps, Google Maps, and a whole lot of important apps that you need when traveling. I cannot stress how important Google Maps can be, especially in Tokyo. But before you can access your maps, you need an Internet connection. While Japan is a highly advanced country, blessed with high speed internet connections, unfortunately, strict regulations don’t allow establishments to easily offer free Wi-Fi access to its customers. Sure, coffee shops, hotels, train stations, and other establishments have free Wifi available, but you shouldn’t be confident because you most certainly will be in an area that doesn’t have Wifi accessibility. You want to make the most out of your time in Japan, and the best way to enjoy it is to rent a Pocket Wifi when in Japan.
My Pocket Wifi Rental allowed me to navigate the streets of Tokyo effortlessly and not waste a single minute in this beautiful city.
It was a toss between bringing my Sony DSC-RX100M III in my bag, or my pocket Wi-Fi. But I’m pretty sure you know what my decision was. (Besides I can buy one at Yodobashi or BIC Camera!)
How do you choose the best Pocket Wifi to bring in Japan? Whether you are going to Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hokkaido, Kyoto, or other cities in Japan, pocket wifi providers are relatively the same. In this article, I will be helping you how to choose the best pocket wifi rental in Japan, according to your needs.
Before choosing a Pocket Wifi Rental provider, you need to consider:
When will you travel to Japan? This is important as you need to reserve your pocket wifi early before your travel to Japan. At any given time, you should give at least 1 month lead time, to account for peak seasons for travelling especially during Hanami or Koyo season.
How long are you staying in Japan? This is another important factor because rental is counted on a per day basis.
Are you a heavy smartphone user? If you’re an average Joe, and you don’t regularly post to Facebook and Instagram on your smartphone, then the standard pocket wifi rental is good for you. For Global Advanced Communication, they offer Eco Wifi Rental that has 3G speeds, enough for you to navigate using Google maps. Their Eco Wifi Rental can operate up to 4-5 hours of battery life, which should be quite fair if you don’t keep it on all the time.
But what if you’re like me? My face is plastered in front of the smartphone 99% of the time. You need the big guns. Japan Mobile Rental’s Premium 4G LTE package will last up to 8.5 hours of battery life, and while subject to Fair Use Policy, the speeds can go as far as 75mbps. Of course, if you have more than 1 smartphone and you bring a laptop and/or a tablet with you, the Premium 4G LTE pocket wifi will also be a better option for you.
Keep in mind that there are pocket wifi rentals that have data caps as well. So you need to read the details of their plans and be mindful of the data caps especially for 4G and LTE. Rentafone Japan has cheap rates, however their data speeds are capped at 300kbps when you’ve reached the limit.
Do you have a budget? If you don’t, then that’s absolutely no problem! You can definitely rent any Pocket Wifi you want! Wrong! You have to think practical. A pocket wifi rental whose data plan pricing are through the roof doesn’t mean they offer the best service available. Yes, Japan is an exceedingly advanced country, but they do have dead spots, where connectivity is limited.
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When I went to Tokyo, I rounded up the top 5 most popular pocket wifi rentals I encountered while researching about it online.
Estimate Cost of Pocket Wifi Rental in Japan for 6 Days (*pricing at time of writing)
|Global Advanced Communications||Ninja Mobile Rental||Japan Mobile Rental||Telecom Square||Rakuten||PuPuRu|
|5250 yen||3780 yen||9000 yen + 10,000 yen refundable security deposit||7776 yen + 100 yen return shipment fee + 1296 yen insurance per day||5940 yen||6156 yen + 1800 yen shipment fee|
My comparisons are based on the available products each provider offers, that have high battery life and fast speeds enough for me to last a day.
It’s a combination of my smartphone habits and cost that made me chose Global Advanced Communications as my pocket wifi rental provider. I didn’t mind paying more for the battery life, versus buying an extra battery for the pocket wifi at 150 yen per day, when I can simply bring my own 10,000mAh power bank to power my pocket wifi. Of course it takes time for it to charge too, but you can do that overnight anyway.
I rented at Global Advanced Communications twice already and I can say their network coverage is quite good. From trains to shabby alleys to tourist spots, I never get out of the radar since it’s powered by NTT Docomo, one of Japan’s major mobile network carriers.
Renting it is easy and can be done on their website. You just need to simply fill up their online form and charge it to your credit card. I recommend that you pickup the pocket wifi at the airport of your destination, say Narita International Airport or Haneda for Tokyo, especially for first time travellers. When you arrive at the airport, there is wifi connection, but en route to your Airbnb or to your hotel, it’s best to be armed with Wifi access so you can find your way.
After you place your order, they will check for you if the item is available. This is why I mentioned earlier to rent early, because sometimes they run out of stock. You’ll receive an email afterwards confirming your order.
If it is available, they’ll charge your credit card after a couple of days and let you know that the package is on its way to where you specified in the form.
If you’re picking up your pocket wifi rental at the airport, you must take note of the opening hours of the Postal Office and where it is located, especially if it’s your first time. It’s usually located at the Departures Area at 4th Level and you should take note of this as well.
It’s relatively easy to setup the pocket wifi. The Network SSID and key are usually indicated at the back of the device.
In the case of Global Advanced Communications, returning the pocket wifi is inclusive to the rental fee I paid, unlike with Telecom Square where I have to pay additional 100 yen. I can also choose where to return the device, but I always return it at the airport before I check in. You just have to seal it in the envelope that comes with it when you receive it and drop it at any post office mailbox.
Renting a Pocket Wifi in Japan is really easy and renting it saves one a lot of trouble. If it weren’t for the pocket wifi, I’d probably be lost in Tokyo!
Have you rented any pocket wifi devices in your trip to Japan? Share your experiences on Candid Cuisine!
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