Background image courtesy of JJ Ying
When I came to Japan on the JET Programme, I knew I couldn’t go without high-speed fiber internet if I wanted to keep on PC gaming. After building my own PC, all that was left to do was to get the internet set up. Being confident in my Japanese, I decided to go to the local store by myself to get a home internet plan. I managed to squeeze by, but if only I had known there was an easier way… here are 5 things to keep in mind before you follow the path I took.
Let’s get started!
Hello readers! Sakura Mobile is a SIM & WiFi service provider for international residents and tourists in Japan.
Our global editorial team living in Japan will introduce the charms of the country based on what we have actually experienced and felt.
Table of Contents
- Difficult Japanese in the contract explanation
- The two-year contract
- The installation team visit
- Customer service
- Separate contracts and router
- Had I known about Sakura Fiber Internet…
Difficult Japanese in the contract explanation
It’s time for my appointment at the store. I sit down in front of the store employee who explains the contract to me, and shows me a video about it, too. Afterwards, he asks me if I understand. My answer is a not very confident, “Hai.”
Let’s put this story into perspective. In case you are unfamiliar with the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), it is the most commonly used test to certify the Japanese language ability of people whose first language is not Japanese. N5 is the most basic level, and N1 the most advanced. I sat at an N2 level at the time of getting my internet set up. And yet, I still found both the employee’s and the video’s explanation hard to understand at times because of the difficult language. I understood enough to get the general idea, but getting the full picture would have certainly brought me peace of mind.
The Japanese used in these contracts is often difficult and dense, and seeing it for myself reminded me that there is still a lot I don’t know. If you plan to go alone to get a home internet plan, be aware that the difficulty of the language can feel overwhelming.
Photo courtesy of Scott Graham
The two-year contract
Did you know that for many home internet plans in Japan, you have to sign a two-year binding contract? If you didn’t, don’t worry – neither did I, at the time!
From the day you sign the contract, you are asked to make a two-year commitment to stay with this plan. After two years, you can cancel the contract without issue – but try to cancel early, and you will have to pay to do so. This can make many contracts inflexible if you have to end your plan early.
If you go alone to get fiber internet, keep the two-year contract in mind!
The installation team visit
During the visit to my local store, the employee tells me that an installation team will need to come to my apartment to set up the internet connection. After about a month, the day arrives.
In my case, thanks to my apartment already having the necessary construction done, the installation was relatively quick and easy. My interaction with the installation team only went as far as telling them where I wanted the modem.
However, not everyone will have the same experience. The installation work may be more intensive and require you to give more directions to the installation team or answer their questions. All of this will be in Japanese, of course. Make sure you are prepared for this as well!
Unfortunately for me, after the installation, I ran into problems getting the internet to work with my computer. Now it was time to call customer service.
One problem I had was the fact that my computer was in English, and I was receiving instructions in Japanese. This meant that I had to rely on my translation ability to find the buttons and information I was being told to look for, and to tell the representative what was on my screen. It also didn’t help that my Japanese language ability was lacking when it came to technical language. A native speaker may have had fewer issues than I did, and had the issue settled relatively faster. Including the wait times, it took me three hours.
If you follow the path I took, I hope that you are able to connect to your new fiber internet quickly and easily. If you run into problems, keep the language barrier in mind when you talk to customer service!
Separate contracts and router
When I went to get my home internet plan arranged, I learned that I would be dealing with three items separately. These were the fiber internet contract, a separate contract with my internet service provider (ISP), and the router.
I signed a fiber internet contract at the store, but I also needed a separate contract with my ISP. When I had to call customer service, it was not the store I went to, but my ISP that I had to call.
Furthermore, when my internet was installed, I received only the modem. This meant that I had a wired internet connection to my PC, but no home WiFi. Had I chosen to, I could have rented a router from the store I visited, but this would have meant paying a separate monthly fee on top of the internet fees I was already paying. Instead, I chose to buy my router elsewhere.
Keep in mind that following the path I took means dealing with this same three-part problem!
Had I known about Sakura Fiber Internet…
If you are like me, this thought may have come to you after reading my story – “there has to be an easier way!”
And fortunately, there is!
Had I known about Sakura Fiber Internet, I would have chosen it in a heartbeat for how convenient and easy it is to get started.
A major advantage that Sakura Fiber Internet offers is its full English support. Our customer service team can be reached by phone or email and can help you with any questions or problems you may have. An interpreter service is also available upon request if a visit from an installation team is required!
I had the contract explained to me, communicated with the installation team, and talked to customer service all in Japanese. But with Sakura Fiber Internet, no Japanese is needed. English support would have made everything much clearer for me and given me peace of mind!
No two-year contract
Another great reason to choose Sakura Fiber Internet is that unlike other providers, the contract period is much shorter. This makes it a much more convenient option.
With Sakura Fiber Internet, you can cancel your plan any time after three months. This makes cancelling your plan much more flexible than a two-year binding contract. This means that it’s a lot easier to avoid the early cancellation penalty, which can sometimes be over 20,000 JPY.
Fiber, ISP, and router, all in one
Dealing with separate contracts and fees can be a headache – it certainly was for me! Luckily, Sakura Fiber Internet makes the process much easier.
When you sign up for a Sakura Fiber Internet plan, the fiber internet connection, ISP, and router rental are all rolled into a single, convenient monthly fee of 7,128 JPY after taxes. Click here to learn more about our fiber internet plan!
When you sign up for a Sakura Fiber Internet plan, you can rest assured that you will not only be able to access top-notch full English support, but also the fast internet speeds that you’re looking for! Sakura Fiber Internet uses Flet’s Hikari fiber-optic network provided by NTT EAST and NTT WEST, the largest wireless provider in Japan boasting over 90% network coverage of Japan. This will guarantee you the high-speed internet you need!
Even though I have a relatively high level of Japanese, had I known about Sakura Fiber Internet, I would have chosen it in a heartbeat. Taking into account the full English support, short contract period, one monthly fee, and the internet speeds, I can wholeheartedly recommend the Sakura Fiber Internet Plan to international residents in Japan.
Features of Sakura Fiber Internet
- A Maximum connection speed of 1Gbps
- No 2-Year Binding Contract
- Reliable English Support
- Simple, Stress-Free Installation
- Various Payment Methods
Sakura Fiber Internet’s monthly fees are 6,480 JPY/month, which is slightly more expensive than other providers. However, you will have access to English customer support 365 days a year, and there is no commitment of a 3-year contract.
Additionally, because Sakura Fiber Internet uses NTT FLET’S Hikari’s network (the same as docomo Hikari), the maximum connection speed is 1Gbps, and the coverage is over 90% of the populated area of Japan.
If you are interested, please check here for more details.
- Sakura Fiber Internet: https://www.sakuramobile.jp/internet