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.
What we cover:
- Do you need to book ahead of your trip?
- Pocket WiFi, Travel SIM, Phone Rental: Which is right for you?
- Comparing Kansai Airport Pocket WiFi plans
- Comparing Kansai Airport Travel SIM plans
- Rental pickups at the Kansai Airport Post Office
Do you need to book ahead of your trip?
Fortunately for international travelers arriving at Kansai International Airport, there are plenty of rental options available for same-day pick up. However, If you choose to book a rental while planning your trip (at least three days ahead of your flight when booking online), you can find some great deals not available to last-minute shoppers.
Table 1: Comparing Pick-up Options at Kansai International Airport
|Service Counter||Vending Machine||Booking Online||Notes|
|Pick-up location options||x||x||o|
|After-hours pick up||x||o||△||Some online bookings are available for after-hours pick up at service counters|
|Device and plan options||o||x||o|
|Long-term stay plans (+30 days)||△||△||o||Be aware that long-terms plans at service counters are usually quite expensive; also, there are currently only two long-term plans available for purchase from vending machines|
o = Good, △ = Average, x = Not available
After you pick up your checked-in bags and make your way into the airport’s arrival lobby, you’ll find several service counters offering Pocket WiFi and Travel SIM rentals. The primary benefit of renting a device through a service counter is convenience, but at a cost. The drawbacks are that you’ll have less options to choose from while having to pay more than booking online; and during peak tourist seasons, service counters may run out of available devices, further limiting your options at the airport.
For many first-time international tourists in Japan, there is a certain amazement in the variety of products you can conveniently buy from the country’s countless vending machines. Kansai Airport’s Travel SIM vending machines are great for travelers arriving on late flights or for those only needing to buy “emergency” data until they can rent a cheaper alternative. The cost per gigabyte tends to be much higher than at service counters or booking online, so we suggest only using this option when the other two aren’t immediately available.
When shopping online for rental plans (both Pocket WiFi and Travel SIM), you’re likely to find that most companies require that you book at least three days in advance. Apart from this stipulation, you’re likely find that booking online offers the best prices and widest variety of plans, which mean you save money and pay for only the data you need.
There are three ways to stay connected once you arrive at Kansai International Airport—unfortunately, continuing to use the data service from your own country is not one of them. Each option has its own pros and cons that should be considered so that you can get the device best suited for your data needs.
Table 2: Comparing Device Options
|Pocket WiFi||Travel SIM||Phone rental||Notes|
|Use your own phone||o||o||x|
|Connect with multiple devices||o||x||x|
|Receive a Japanese phone number||x||△||o||Some online plans offer long-term SIM cards with a local phone number if you meet the requirements as an international resident of Japan|
|Good for long-term stays (+30 days)||o||o||△||Be aware that long-term phone rental plans are usually quite expensive|
|Coverage in rural areas||o||△||△||For SIM cards and phone rentals, coverage strength depends on the brand and model of phone being used|
o = Good, △ = Average, x = Not available
The convenience of Pocket WiFi is the setup: Turn on, enter the password into your smartphone, tablet or laptop, and you’re done! It’s great for groups traveling together and tends to have more consistent coverage in rural areas and small towns than the other two device options can provide. The primary downsides to Pocket WiFi are that the battery doesn’t last as long compared with a phone, and you need to carry the Pocket WiFi wherever you go.
For solo travelers, SIM cards offer convenience and portability. Not only do you get to keep using your own smartphone but you don’t have to worry about possibly losing or breaking a rental device like a Pocket WiFi or Phone Rental. The downsides to Travel SIMs are that they are a little more complicated to set up than Pocket WiFi, and locked smartphones are not compatible with Japanese SIM cards. (If you’re not sure about whether you are locked vs. unlocked, be sure to ask your phone’s service provider before leaving on your trip. Also, don’t hesitate to check out our page on SIM card compatibility for more details)
Rental options are available for both smartphones and flip phones, and most travelers choose a Phone Rental because they want the security of having a local phone number. (Read in detail about Phone Rental options here.) Due to country regulations, it’s difficult for non-residents to obtain a local phone number, which is one of the main reasons why Phone Rental fees are high for international travelers.
If you happen to meet the residency requirements for receiving a local phone number, we suggest that you shop around for long-term options that include a local number, since continuing to use a Phone Rental over a long period will be quite expensive.
Whether shopping online ahead of your trip or renting a Pocket WiFi after your flight lands, it can be hard to know which companies offer the best deals on Pocket WiFi at Kansai Airport. The table below provides a detailed price comparison for your convenience.
Table 3: Comparing Pocket WiFi plans at Kansai International Airport
|Company||Data Limit||Pick-up Fee||3-Day Rental||7-Day Rental||14-Day Rental||30-Day Rental|
|Ninja WiFi||3 GB / day||Free||¥2,916||¥6,804||¥13,608||¥29,160|
|WiFi Hire||?||¥540 pick-up fee + ¥540 return fee||¥3,760||¥6,660||¥9,780||¥14,580|
|Sakura Mobile||Lite 300 MB / day||Free||¥3,996||¥5,260||¥6,800||¥12,366|
|Regular 600 MB / day||¥4,806||¥6,685||¥8,480||¥16,513|
|Double 1.2 GB / day||¥6,588||¥9,709||¥11,190||¥22,334|
Note: Prices include tax.
When comparing Kansai Airport Pocket WiFi plans, you can see that Sakura Mobile keeps you connected at the cheapest price when renting for seven days or more. This competitive pricing paired with industry-leading bilingual customer support and flexible data plans makes our tiered Pocket WiFi plans a great addition to your upcoming trip.
Find out how to pick up your Sakura Mobile Pocket WiFi at Kansai International Airport.
Kansai Airport offers a variety of options for travel SIM cards: service counters, vending machines, and booking ahead online. Because each competitor plan offers different amounts of prepaid data, the table below highlights which plans offer the best value per gigabyte (GB) of data.
Table 4: Comparing Travel SIM plans at Kansai International Airport
|Company||Expiration||Fixed Data Amount||Listed Price||Price per GB||Cut Off||Online Top Up||Network|
Wi-Ho! Prepaid SIM
|7 days||2 GB||¥3,800||¥1,600 / GB||Yes||No||NTT Docomo|
|30 days||5 GB||¥5,500||¥1,100 / GB|
|Iijmio||90 days||2 GB||¥4,082||¥2,041 / GB||Yes||No||NTT Docomo|
|So-net||30 days||1.2 GB||¥3,500||¥2,917 / GB||Yes||No||NTT Docomo|
|30 days||2.4 GB||¥4,500||¥1,875 / GB|
|60 days||3.2 GB||¥5,500||¥1,719 / GB|
|Sakura Mobile||90 days||3 GB||¥3,780||¥1,260 / GB||No – low speed data after fixed data||Yes||NTT Docomo|
|5 GB||¥4,860||¥972 / GB|
|10 GB||¥7,560||¥756 / GB|
|30 GB||¥21,600||¥720 / GB|
|50 GB||¥35,640||¥713 / GB|
Note: Prices include tax.
When comparing Travel SIM plans, you can see that Sakura Mobile offers the best price per gigabyte from 3 GB all the way up to 50 GB. Whether you “budget” your data during your trip or need to download and upload large files for business or vlogging, Sakura Mobile makes it possible for you to reliably stay connected without breaking the bank!
Keep reading to find out how you can pick up your Sakura Mobile Travel SIM at Kansai International Airport.
While we don’t have a dedicated service counter at Kansai Airport, we make it just as easy to pick up your Sakura Mobile rental. When placing your order for a Pocket WiFi or SIM card, simply choose “Airport Post-offices” in the Shipping Address section, and then select “Kansai int. Post Office” from the dropdown menu. Be sure to fill in all requested fields to expedite delivery of your package when you arrive at the post office. The Kansai Airport Post Office is open seven days a week, 9:00–17:00 (9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.).
If you’re concerned about your flights schedule, you can just as easily have your rental device conveniently shipped to the Osaka Central Post Office (open 9:00–19:00) located in front of Osaka Station in Umeda or to your final destination like a hotel, hostel, or even a friend’s home.
Stay Connected in Kansai with Pocket WiFi and Travel SIM from Sakura Mobile
Whichever device you choose to stay connected with—Pocket WiFi or Travel SIM—it’s money well spent. Sakura Mobile offers some of the most competitive plans in the Japanese market for international travelers. We offer:
- Flexible data plans for short-term and long-term visitors
- No activation fees
- Online data top-up
- Full English support before and after booking
- Access to Japan’s best data network, NTT Docomo
- Easy pickup and return
- Reliable Pocket WiFi and Travel SIM devices
Now that you’re armed with the information you need to navigate Pocket WiFi and Travel SIM rentals at Kansai Airport, be sure to read our western Japan travel guides for ideas on what to do during your trip.