Guide to getting your Internet plan for Japan
So you are in Japan but what are your options to stay connected?
Take a look at our guide to find out to find out about available options and how to make budget-friendly choices for your needs.
Your internet options in Japan
Japan is definitely on top of the game when it comes to broadband speed. There are a lot of internet providers but the biggest decision is already made once you sign your lease. Older residences tend to have cable or ADSL connections, while newer apartments more than likely have fiber. This was decided when your building was erected and could be a limiting factor in accessing high-speed data.
Aside from this, the choices between providers and plans, offering various levels of discount, are plentiful. It really depends on how fast you need your connection to be but you should plan at least 4,000 Yen for this.
Pro: High-speed connection
Cost: 4,000 Yen ~
Arguably, a data plan for your phone is even more important than internet at home to find your way around Japan. Between the ubiquitous Kanji and the lack of street names, navigating without one can quickly become challenging.
The speed of your data plan is are usually more than sufficient, and whether you pick SoftBank, Docomo, Ymobile or another provider. A variety of plans allows you to pick and choose options that match your usage needs.
The only downside is that phone contracts in Japan tend to be expensive and bills can quickly rack up. Plan around 4,000-5,000 Yen for your contract and another 2,000 Yen if you pay your device in monthly installments. If you can make do with little data and don’t need a call flat rate you can find budget plans starting just shy of 2,000 Yen.
Pro: Reliable connection anywhere
Cost: 4,000 Yen ~
Pocket Wi-Fi is widely popular among tourist, who don’t want to rely on Japan’s spotty free wifi or deal with sim cards. It is also used by many Japanese on a day-to-day basis. As long as you don’t get the tourist rental one pocket wifi is quite affordable. The connection speed will also satisfy an average user’s need for streaming Netflix and Co, without issues.
On the go pocket wifi gives you more data than you could ever dream of with a data plan for your phone. You can connect multiple devices and you can even use it at home, allowing you to avoid paying for two data plans.
You might still want to get a phone contract with a few GB of data, as your pocket wifi might show some connectivity issues in the subway, other underground places, or in rural areas. Contracts without monthly limits on data usage start from 3,500 Yen per month.
Pro: Data on the go for cheap
Cost: 3,500 Yen ~
Choose the right plan for you
Which combination of services for your internet needs is the right for you really depends on your situation. If you don’t want to deal with the double burden of paying a grand total of over 10,000 Yen per month for your phone and broadband plans than making smart compromises is often the best option.
For avid gamers, and others who need a lag-free and high-speed connection at home broadband is a must. For those living together with someone, broadband is also a sensible choice.
If you travel a lot around Japans countryside, having a strong data plan on your phone might be a life-saver. A data plan for the phone might also be the right choice for anyone living in share houses (wifi included) who doesn’t want to pay for two contracts.
For anyone living alone or city folks who use their smartphones a lot on the go, pocket wifi is the cost-efficient choice.
Whichever you choose, pay attention to the small print and keep in mind that most contracts in Japan are made for two years. To get out before that time is up, you usually have to pay a cancellation fee of around 10,000 Yen.
I hope this article helps you find the right option for you. Stay connected!