Japan MVNO Carriers: Advantages and Disadvantages

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Japan is in the middle of a mobile phone revolution thanks to a set of recently introduced regulations.

It used to be impossible for mobile phone users in Japan to unlock their handsets, which meant that every phone was tied to a network with no possibility of using them elsewhere. This effectively locked customers into one of the big three service providers and stifled competition. This all changed when regulations were introduced in 2015, and it is now possible to use any unlocked handset with a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).

The advent of Japan MVNO carriers is great news for those looking for a cheaper alternative to the traditionally lengthy and costly contracts available from the incumbent networks.

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Docomo Coverage Makes Climbing and Hiking in Japan Easier

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Japan is a country of mountains. Nearly three quarters of the land is considered mountainous, and two thirds is forested. This makes Japan an excellent place to walk and hike, with trails for beginners and experts alike. Some of the popular locations have well-appointed cabins for overnight stays or extended rests, and will even offer the most Japanese of services – vending machines!

Despite these modern conveniences, hiking in Japan, not to mention mountain climbing there, still means planning your trip carefully and being able to keep in touch with civilization when necessary. Staying connected means packing the newest piece of hiking technology, your mobile phone.

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Japan Mobile Network Guide for Travellers and Tourists

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For years Japan was the world leader in mobile phone technology. Japan’s mobile network was the first to go nationwide. Japan was also the first to have mobile internet, the first with color screens on phones and the first for a whole host of other things we now take for granted.

But while the Japanese were forging ahead and using technology unique to Japan, the rest of the world was developing standards that now define a somewhat common ground globally. Because Japan has created its own closed mobile ecosystem, termed “Galapagos syndrome” because it has made their technology perfect in-country but incompatible on a world scale, using foreign phones on the domestic Japanese networks has been always been a challenge.

With the advent of 4G LTE networks, this disparity is becoming less of a problem for foreign travellers. It may be awhile before compatibility becomes a simple issue, but in the meantime here is a Japan mobile network guide to show you how to best use your options (such as a SIM card from Sakura Mobile) to successfully use your cell phone in Japan.

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Kansai Airport Pocket WiFi and Travel SIM Options Compared

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With over 17.2 million passengers passing through Kansai Airport (KIX) on international flights in 2015 (up from 10.4 million in 2010), Osaka’s premier aviation hub has established its place as the gateway to Japan’s Kansai region. If your travel plans include visiting Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, or any number of the other must-see destinations of western Japan, then it’s important to consider where and how you can get connected to the Internet before embarking on your journey. Keep reading to find out what Kansai Airport Pocket WiFi and Travel SIM options are available and which companies offer plans that meet your personal data needs.

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Internet in Japan for Tourists: Free WiFi and Beyond

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WiFi can be a lifeline for travelers around the world, but especially in Japan where your regular cellular service is not available or will cost you in high roaming fees. When planning your Japan adventure be sure to bring a WiFi-enabled mobile device to help you get around. Wifi access will help you get the best value food and shopping, as well as to discover popular tourist spots and hidden gems on the go. You will be able to use your mobile device in diverse locations including airports, convenience stores, and even on many of the super-fast Shinkansen bullet trains. Read below to successfully navigate the sometimes confusing array of WiFi options and get internet in Japan for an even more wonderful trip!

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Japanese Cell Phone Plans for Short and Long-term Students

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Cell phones are a modern necessity wherever you are, but no more so than if you are a student looking to make the most of your stay in a foreign country like Japan. Whether you are trying to navigate through streets labeled with kanji characters, arranging to meet friends at an izakaya Japanese bar, or sending the latest Mount Fuji pics to your family, it’s nice to know that the people you love—and the places you want to go—are just a touchscreen-tap or phone call away. Fortunately, there are plenty of Japanese cell phone plans for both short and long-term students. Before going to study in the Land of the Rising Sun, take a look at some of the options and decide which one is right for you.  Continue reading

Comparing the Best Deals for Haneda Airport WiFi Rentals

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Haneda International Airport continues to shed its image as Tokyo’s premier domestic airport, opting to schedule more arriving and departing international flights; and as it becomes more accessible to overseas tourists and business travelers, the airport continues to introduce services and amenities that can help you during your stay in Japan, like Pocket WiFi rentals and Data SIM Cards.

If you booked a plane ticket that will be arriving at Haneda, be sure to keep reading as we present the best deals for Haneda Airport WiFi rentals! Continue reading

Buying a Phone in Japan: The Easy Way to Stay Connected

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Do you want to stay in Japan for an extended holiday, to study or to work, and you need a way to stay connected to the phone and Internet? Fortunately, Japan’s system of calling and data networks are regarded as being among the best and most reliable in the world—for some. Foreign visitors looking for mid- to-long-term phone and data plans will likely have a difficult time shopping around for several reasons. Keep reading to find out what you’re up against when buying a phone in Japan and discover an easy solution that will save you money and keep you connected throughout your stay.

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Skiing, Snowboarding and WiFi in Myoko Akakura Onsen

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In mid January three members from Sakura Mobile took a trip to the ski-resort, Moyoko Akakura Onsen in Niigata, to snowboard in the bliss of powder snow and to visit our friends who runs a lodge/restaurant ‘Edelweiss Akakura’. There we had a wonderful time learning how to snowboard (we can call ourselves intermediate now), enjoying hot spring, and also took the opportunity to test the connectivity and durability of our pocket WiFi and Sim card in the remote location that Akakura Onsen is. Continue reading