How to Rent Portable Wifi in Japan: Complete User's Guide | The Invisible Tourist

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” ~ Douglas Adams.

My eyes frantically searching whilst wheeling our suitcases in the backstreets of Shibuya Station, I spotted a street sign that indicated my partner and I had been walking the wrong way to our hotel. Ah, the days before we could rent wifi in Japan!

On my first trip to Japan, I didn’t use portable wifi because it wasn’t really a thing back then. My partner and I relied on old-school methods, catching the trains by using maps at each station to find our way, figuring out the numerous exits on our own – all without the ease of Google Maps.

Now portable wifi is widely available and affordable, I could never go back! So compact, convenient and reliable, it truly makes getting around in Japan SO much easier. 

I hear you may be asking, what is the best pocket wifi for Japan? Over the years I’ve used a number of different providers, and the pick up and drop off processes have slightly differed. So which is right for you? And how do you rent wifi in Japan? Read on for more!

Disclaimer: In previous years, I have always paid for Japan pocket wifi rental with my own money. My most recent trip to Japan, my portable wifi was kindly sponsored by Klook. This post contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

How to Rent Portable Wifi in Japan: Complete User's Guide | The Invisible Tourist
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Common questions about wifi in Japan

During my trips to Japan since 2014, I’ve used Ninja Wifi, Pupuru Wifi and Global Wifi. Honestly, they are all pretty much the same in terms of speed when opting for the unlimited plans. Even in the Japanese Alps I’ve never had issues with coverage with these providers.


Here’s everything you need to know about how to rent wifi in Japan and how to use your portable device. But first, I’ll start with answering a few common questions.

Is there free wifi in Japan?

Yes, there is plenty of free wifi in Japan, especially in the cities. Airports, hotels, buildings, shopping malls, some shinkansen (bullet trains) and on the streets will show dozens of free wifi hotspots. You may need to add your email address before the wifi will allow you to join.

Free wifi in Japan can be harder to come by in more rural areas, however.

On the flip side, free wifi can overload with too many people connected to it, be patchy on transport and become slow or unusable. It’s not very reliable, and also not overly secure. 

There is free wifi in Japan at airports
There is free wifi in Japan at airports

Do you need pocket wifi in Japan?

Wants and needs are two separate things, right? Having travelled throughout Japan without portable wifi in the past and with it in more recent years, I would say it is certainly a want!

Custom Google Maps can be downloaded for use offline, and the Google Translate app will work offline if you’ve downloaded Japanese to it beforehand.

However, travelling with portable wifi is going to make your life SO much easier when it comes to navigating the trains, streets and looking up places on the fly. 

If travelling as a group, most portable wifi devices allow up to 5 connections (sometimes more), so it can be great to share or use multiple devices with. 

As a bonus, having your own portable wifi means you can use a VPN for an extra layer of internet security for your devices, too. I would never personally log into bank accounts, social media or any other sensitive applications over public or free wifi. 

Navigating complex train systems is easy with Google Maps on portable wifi

How much is pocket wifi in Japan?

Pocket wifi in Japan is very affordable, only costing a few hundred yen (a few dollars) per day, depending on the plan you select when booking. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Where to rent pocket wifi in Japan

One of the easiest places to rent pocket wifi in Japan is through Klook. If you haven’t heard of Klook, find out more here.

I always book in advance here because portable wifi can sell out during peak seasons. There are only so many wifi devices to go around!

Booking at least a few weeks in advance is better than a few days. I recommend booking your portable wifi at the same time you book your flight or first hotel to avoid disappointment. 

You can pick up the wifi device at select airports in Japan, or sometimes there is an option to deliver to your hotel (not Airbnb’s, however). 

How to Rent Portable Wifi in Japan

How to Rent and Use Portable Japan Wifi: Complete User’s Guide

How to rent Japan portable wifi

  1. Firstly, book your portable wifi in advance here
  2. Select the “Pick Up From” option of the airport you will be flying into (Hokkaido, Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Nagoya).
  3. For “Pick Up Location,” select the airport you’ll arrive at. The drop down menu this gives you the information about the terminal, opening hours and counter to pick up.
  4. For “Device Drop Off Location,” select the airport you’ll be returning your wifi to. The best part is it can be different to the one you arrive at!
  5. For “Pick Up & Return Date,” select the dates from a calendar you’ll be wanting your wifi rental.
  6. Finally for “Device,” select how many you need. Then click “Book Now.”
  7. Have your flight number handy as well as entering your date of birth. Fill in your contact details.
  8. Double check all the information is correct, and note the refund conditions.
  9. Make the payment and you’ll be good to go!

After booking, you’ll receive an email confirmation from Klook that will allow you to download your voucher. Just click the “See Voucher” button and download to a PDF to print, or screenshot to your phone.

The booking will also generate a QR code to use in the Klook smartphone app under the “Bookings” option.

TIP: For Japan, I like to print out my confirmation vouchers on paper to hand to staff. Japan is a very paper-based society at times so it’s wise to have backup. 

Where to pick up portable wifi in Japan

Before arriving in Japan, go to the official website for your airport and use the pick-up location information Klook provides in your booking confirmation.

The airport’s website will have a map for where you can find the wifi pick-up spot after you’ve cleared Customs and your retrieved your luggage. 

Note that I arrived after hours at Haneda when picking up my wifi on my most recent trip, so I had to go to downstairs to an after hours counter to retrieve it.

Airport staff will place signs on their desks after hours to tell you where to go.

Japan Wifi Pickup at Haneda Airport, Tokyo

How to use pocket wifi in Japan

  1. Remove all your pieces from the pouch. You should receive:
    • A charger/transformer
    • Charging USB cable
    • Portable wifi device
    • Instruction booklet (sometimes in Japanese only)
    • You might receive a clear plastic screen cover to prevent the device being damaged if dropped.
  2. Devices usually come mostly/fully charged, so turn it on using the power button. It’s that easy!
  3. Once your device has powered up, turn on the wifi function of your phone. Your device will have a unique ID and password you’ll need to use it. In this case for me, this was on the device itself  in the picture below (which I’ve covered up in green as to not dox anyone’s password).
  4. To turn off the device, press the power button and select “Power off” from the touchscreen – this might be written in Japanese, but red power button icons are universal.

How to Rent Wifi in Japan
Portable wifi pouch contents: Device, screen cover, charging USB cable, charger/transformer, instruction booklet.

As you can see from the image below, the wifi devices are quite small. For reference, I placed my old Samsung Galaxy S9 next to it, which measures 6.5 x 14.5cm. The wifi device itself is around 4.5 x 7.5cm.

How to return rental wifi in Japan

You need to return your portable wifi pouch BEFORE you go through Customs – that is the point of no return.

Depending on the device you choose, you will either need to hand it back to the returns counter (which may be on a different level to where you picked it up at the airport), or the wifi company would have provided a pre-paid envelope.

If you received an envelope, simply enclose the wifi pouch with all its pieces inside and place in the letterbox within the terminal BEFORE going through Customs.

I can only speak for Haneda about the letterbox, which is located near the check-in desks. I’m guessing it would be similar elsewhere.

Where to rent wifi in Japan

Tips for using rental wifi in Japan

  • Fully charge the device overnight. The battery should last between 9-12 hours when you’re out and about. 
  • To make it last on a longer day, turn it off when you’re not using it. I would only turn it on for navigation purposes during the day to save battery. By doing this, I never had to worry about recharging it, even during 16-20 hour days out of my hotel. Otherwise, you can pack a power bank or bring along the USB cable to charge it somewhere, but that means carrying extra things.
  • If the device comes with the screen cover, you may need to take it off to actually use it (I didn’t realise at first, thinking the touchscreen wasn’t working!)
  • I suggest keeping all the pieces in their own pouch and not mix up with your other items, so you’re not sorting through things trying to find them on the your last day.

How to Rent Wifi in Japan

Concluding how to rent Japan portable wifi

That’s a wrap for renting wifi in Japan! While portable wifi is not an absolute necessity, it certainly makes travelling MUCH easier.

But, I do suggest switching it off when not in use not only to save battery, but to immerse ourselves in our new surroundings without being glued to a phone.

As you can see, the booking process for pocket wifi is fairly straightforward, and in typical Japanese omotenashi fashion, picking up and dropping off your device is convenient at the airport of your choice. 

Using the device is quite fool-proof as well, and with my additional tips from trial and error, you’re sure to make the most of your trip.

 

Sending a thanks again to Klook for sponsoring my pocket wifi!

Need some inspiration for a Japan itinerary? Be sure to head over to my popular Japan blog for my tried-and-tested 2 week itinerary, 3 week itinerary, etiquette do’s and don’ts, cultural experiences, meaningful Japanese souvenirs, what to pack for Japan and a whole lot more to help you better “blend in” in Japan!

If you found this helpful please share it or save for later, and come and join me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok for more Japan inspiration!

Until next time,

The Invisible Tourist


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How to Rent Wifi in Japan: Complete User's Guide | The Invisible Tourist

How to Rent Wifi in Japan: Complete User's Guide | The Invisible Tourist

This guide to renting wifi in Japan contains some affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase and if you do, thanks for your support! This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. As always, I only recommend a product or service that I genuinely love and use myself!


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11 Comments

  1. Hi Alyse –
    Thanks so much for your blog – it’s great.
    I’m just trying to book a portable Wi-Fi via the Klook app and it says that I can only pick up during business hours and it can’t be returned at international terminals because they don’t have return boxes there.
    Do you know anything about that please?
    if I don’t book through them, should I just go direct to another provider? It’s a bit confusing.

    1. Hi Monica, thanks for asking! That is a bit confusing.
      Ninja Wifi, Global Wifi and Klook are exactly the same pick up desk anyway 🙂
      Whenever I have rented my wifi in Japan through Klook, it’s a counter at Haneda T3 where I just show the voucher to staff and pick up.
      When dropping it back off, I just hand it to staff at the same counter and they check it off.
      In other countries like Korea there is just a drop off box you can return to, but it seems in Japan in my experiences they check it off.
      Haneda T3 pick up counter is open from 6:45 – 23:45 as there aren’t many planes that arrive outside those hours.
      I noticed if you click the greyed out buttons to be either Haneda or Narita, more options for pick up/drop off are available.
      That section about not being able to return to the international terminals is default for New Chitose airport in Hokkaido, so try clicking around and the information changes 😊
      I hope that helps and thanks for reading!

      1. Thanks Alyse – after all that, it seems very expensive so I’ve just ordered a sim card form Japan Experience and hope that does the job. Thanks for replying.

    1. Hi Ben, I’m not entirely sure.
      You’d need to check the technical specifications of your device as there are many contributing factors. Cheers!

  2. Great article and I have a question, can I use voice over Wifi with this setup? It appears that Klook are using Softbank as the provider.
    Cheers, Steve.

    1. Hi Steve, you absolutely can!
      Just think of it like your wifi at home, but in miniature pocket form. I make both voice and video calls back home over Whatsapp during my travels with this wifi no issues at all 😊 It’s even handy to use the wifi to make calls within Japan, too!

  3. Great info. I can’t wait to get to Japan and put all of your blogs to use. We have not tried it but our new iPhones have esims built in and using an app like Airalo, you can buy local electronic sims from around the world. The app gives you multiple options. No swapping out cards in your phone, it’s all done through the app. I can’t wait to give it a try when we are in Africa next month. (3gb of data through Airalo for 30 days in Japan is $14). I’m hoping this is another good alternative to traveling. We also use Maps.me and download the maps for where we are when we travel, create our points for where we want to visit before we leave and then no wifi is needed and you have great maps of the area. No wifi needed. This has served us very well for the last 5-7 years.
    Keep traveling!!!

    1. Thanks for the info, Denise!
      I usually have a few devices I like to connect to the portable wifi at once, so eSIMs aren’t really an option for me personally 🙂
      I’m so glad to hear you’ve found my Japan articles helpful, hopefully it won’t be too much longer until independent tourists can visit!

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