I must admit that prior to visiting Japan, I never even heard of pocket WiFi. When traveling internationally we normally purchase an international plan through our cell phone carrier that typically runs $10 per day/per phone – talk about steep!
To mitigate the high cost, our normal practice is to activate the international plan on one phone and make do. However, hearing about pocket WiFi in Japan piqued our curiosity and we decided to look into it.
Like most people, we are apprehensive about things we don’t know, which makes us reluctant to try something new. At first we didn’t even entertain the idea of pocket WiFi because the international plan is so convenient, and we knew what to expect.
But when further research suggested pocket WiFi could save a considerable sum, we committed and pre-ordered a device to be picked up at the airport.
Before we get to the nitty gritty, let me say this – pocket WiFi can save tourists a lot of money. Don’t be afraid to try it just because you’ve never heard of it before.
For a mere $60, both of us had instant access to high-speed internet during our 9 days in Japan. For reference, the same privileges through our phone carrier would have cost $180. A savings of $120.
If you are a first time visitor to Japan, I recommend checking out this guide as well: An American’s Guide to Japan: 20 Things to Know for First Time Visitors.
Pocket WiFi is a very helpful device for foreign tourists. To show you just how easy it is to use, I created this quick little guide to pocket WiFi in Japan.
Pocket WiFi in Japan
What is pocket WiFi?
- Pocket WiFi is a small, wireless device that transmits 4g into WiFi signals. Essentially, the device delivers WiFi directly to your phone from the 4g signals all around Japan.
- I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a “technology person,” so I’m living proof you don’t need to be tech-savvy to use pocket WiFi in Japan.
How do I use pocket WiFi in Japan?
- I love simple answers and it doesn’t get simpler than this: Upon picking up the device, the only thing I had to do was connect my phone using the password provided. From there on out, I was connected the entire time. Really? Really.
How fast is pocket Wifi?
- We purchased the high speed internet option and the service was fast enough to stream videos without problems. We didn’t notice a single difference between the speed in Japan and speed in the US.
Best pocket WiFi in Japan?
- With more than 30 brands to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down the best choice. We ordered our pocket WiFi through NinjaWiFi and couldn’t be happier with the service. We highly recommend them to family and friends.
How much does pocket WiFi cost?
- The price of pocket WiFi varies depending on the brand, duration of rental, and speed requested. We paid $60 for high speed service for 9 days ($6.70/day).
How to purchase pocket WiFi in Japan
- I pre-ordered our wireless pocket WiFi device online (through NinjaWiFi). When placing my order I had to choose the pick up and drop off locations. I opted to pick up/drop off at Narita Airport.
- I received an email confirmation after placing my order with instructions where to pick up the device.
- Upon arriving at the airport, I simply went to the kiosk as directed and provided my name to the employee. The device was ready for me upon arrival without complications.
Do I have to pre-order pocket WiFi?
Technically, no. You don’t need to pre-order pocket WiFi because it can be purchased directly at the airport. However, I DO NOT recommend doing so for two reasons:
- If you’re visiting during peak tourist season (cherry blossoms or fall color) the devices may sell out.
- By ordering online, you could score a deal with an offer code and save up to 20% (like we did).
Ordering pocket WiFi in advance saved us a lot of time and money.
Picking up pocket WiFi at the airport
- The exact airport pick up locations vary depending on the brand you purchase. We collected our NinjaWiFi device from the QL Liner Counter at Narita Airport, Terminal 1 (map below). Pocket WiFi can be picked up at all 3 terminals at Narita Airport.
- For a complete list of NinjaWiFi pick up locations, click here.
How long does the battery last? Should I order an external battery?
- We normally activated our pocket WiFi around 5am (hello jet lag) and the battery lasted until 6pm. Our pocket WiFi device averaged 13-14 hours of battery life. Impressive, considering the device was constantly in use.
- We purchased the external battery option offered for $1/day and highly recommend you do so too. Simply charge both the battery and pocket WiFi device overnight and you’re set for the next day. You’ll know the pocket WiFi battery died when you are no longer connected to the internet.
Where do I return pocket WiFi?
- Chances are, the exact same place you picked it up. We returned our pocket WiFi device in Terminal 2 (even though we picked it up in Terminal 1) by handing the device to an employee.
- The employee checked our device to make sure we didn’t forget anything and wished us a safe trip. For a complete list of NinjaWiFi drop off locations, click here.
VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW: You must return your device before passing customs. Once you pass customs, you cannot return your pocket WiFi and will be charged for additional days used. If you accidentally bring your device home you will need to ship it back and will be charged for additional days.
Return the device first thing and you’ll be completely fine!
Is Pocket WiFi in Japan worthwhile?
- Yes, yes, yes! I bet we sound like used car salesmen, but we loved using pocket WiFi in Japan. It’s so easy to use, simply preorder the device, pick it up at the airport, connect using the sticker on the device, use during your trip, and return at the airport when done.
- Viola! This one simple device just saved enough money for a few meals!
I hope this quick guide about pocket WiFi in Japan makes it easier for you to decide whether the device is suitable for you. We were so glad to have it during our trip and highly recommend it to friends and family planning to visit Japan. If you have any questions, let me know below.
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Hope you enjoy your trip to beautiful Japan!