Compare the Top 7 Pocket WiFi Rental for Japan Travel 2021

Compare the Top 7 Pocket WiFi Rental for Japan Travel 2021

Are you planning to make a trip to Japan?

Nowadays, using Google MAP and messaging apps on the daily has become a norm, and you are going to need Pocket WiFi that you can trust to keep you connected while abroad.

However, there are over 30 companies that supply mobile WiFi routers for the purpose of traveling in Japan. To top it all off, they each have their own data limits, prices, pick-up procedures, and battery lives. You might be struggling to choose a good provider.

If you are searching for Pocket WiFi and simply choose whatever comes up, you might run into some of the following problems:

  • “The internet speed was so slow I could barely even use the device.”
  • “I ran out of data quickly and just ended up leaving the device at the hotel.”
  • “The device ran out of battery so fast that it just sat in my bag all day.”

And you might end up regretting your decision.

In this article, we will be comparing Pocket WiFi rental companies that we can truly recommend for a good travel experience in Japan.

We will be avoiding complicated jargon while explaining all of these concepts so you won’t get lost.

Table of contents

  1. Should you reserve your Pocket WiFi online or rent it after arriving in Japan?
  2. 5 points to keep in mind when choosing Pocket WiFi
  3. Compare the top 7 Pocket WiFi rental companies
  4. Pocket WiFi vs SIM card
  5. FAQ about Pocket WiFi

This article will only be covering traveler-oriented, rental Pocket WiFi. This applies to those staying between 1 and 90 days in Japan.

If you going to be staying in Japan long-term (over 90 days) and are looking for a monthly contract, please refer to this article.

A quick look: Which Pocket WiFi provider should I choose?

1. Should you reserve your Pocket WiFi online or rent it after arriving in Japan?

Should you reserve your Pocket WiFi online or rent it after arriving in Japan?
Pocket WiFi

There are two options when it comes to renting portable WiFi routers.

  1. Reserve a device before leaving your country and pick it up at the airport after coming to Japan
  2. Rent a device at the airport after coming to Japan without a prior reservation

We recommend you go with the first option because it will save you money.

In the table below, we compare the prices of a Pocket WiFi company that allows online reservation (Sakura Mobile) to other companies that provide same-day rentals at the airport (SoftBank, Telecom Square, JAL ABC).

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CompanyOnline
Reservation
Data Cap3-Day Rental6-Day Rental10-Day Rental15-Day Rental30-Day Rental60-Day Rental90-Day Rental
Sakura MobileUnlimited4,890 JPY7,080 JPY8,980 JPY10,980 JPY16,890 JPY21,990 JPY26,990 JPY
SoftBank×3GB/3 Days4,770 JPY9,540 JPY15,900 JPY23,850 JPY47,700 JPY95,400 JPY14,310 JPY
Telecom Square×?4,200 JPY8,400 JPY14,000 JPY21,000 JPY42,000 JPY84,000 JPY126,000 JPY
JAL ABC×Unlimited3,939 JPY7,878 JPY13,130 JPY19,695 JPY39,390 JPY78,780 JPY118,170 JPY

※All prices listed include tax

As you can see from this chart, Sakura Mobile is, on the whole, cheaper than other companies. To give an explanation as to why reserving Pocket WiFi online is cheaper, you are saving expenses such as labor and operation costs by using the internet.

If you have time before coming to Japan, it might be wise to reserve your mobile WiFi router online.

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2. 5 points to keep in mind when choosing Pocket WiFi

5 points to keep in mind when choosing Pocket WiFi
Later on in this article, we will be introducing 7 Pocket WiFi rental companies. Before that, however, we are going to be going through some of the important points to look at when choosing Pocket WiFi.

Data plans

If you’ve been looking for mobile WiFi, you probably know that different companies offer different data plans.

Small data plans can be as small as 100MB per day, while the biggest ones allow you to use unlimited data.

We recommend getting an unlimited data plan.

This is because without unlimited data, there is a possibility that you use up all of your allocated data for the day and end up without internet.

There might be a lot of problems that come with losing internet during your trip. In a foreign country, you might be nervous just without access to Google MAP.

In order to enjoy your trip to the fullest without having to constantly worry about having internet, we suggest you go with an unlimited data plan.

Pricing

You’re probably looking for the cheapest portable WiFi rental possible.

However, there is a risk that comes with bargain prices.

You might find that:

  • The device is old and the connection speeds are slow
  • The battery life isn’t good and the device runs out of battery frequently
  • The connection is unstable

We will be introducing 7 different Pocket WiFi providers that you can trust NOT to have any of these issues.

Pickup counters at the airport and their hours of operation

If you are planning to pick up your mobile hotspot from the airport, be sure to check the operating hours of the pickup counters.

Even if the provider that you choose has a pickup counter at the airport, there is no guarantee that the counter is open very early in the morning or very late at night.

There are some cases in which you might miss the open hours of the pickup counter and as a result, will not be able to pick up your device.

Before you leave for Japan, make sure to check that your arrival time in Japan coincides with the pickup counter that you are headed for.

English customer support

In the event that you lose internet connection, lose the device itself, or run into any other technical issues, you are going to need someone to contact. This is why we recommend that you choose a company that provides English customer support.

There are two important points to keep in mind.

  • Can you get in contact with customer service through BOTH email and phone?
  • Is customer service available on the weekends?

Firstly, you should choose a company that can be contacted by both email and phone. For emergencies, you can be connected to someone right away over the phone.

If it is not an urgent matter, you can send an email instead. Having these two forms of contact makes it considerably more convenient to ask for help when you need it.

There are many Pocket WiFi providers that are not open on the weekends. However, when you are on vacation, you might run into trouble regardless of the day of the week. This is why it is important to choose a company that is open 365 days a year.

Reviews

Make sure to pay attention to the reviews of each company. Like anything else, the providers with the most and the highest reviews are most likely to have the best quality products.

Extra: Connection speeds and coverage

The carriers we are going to introduce to you all use the networks of some of Japan’s biggest carriers, docomo, and SoftBank.

So no matter which provider you choose, you should not have any issues with connection speed or coverage. Below are the specifics of what this means.

  • Connection speed: Your connection speed will always be a few ~ 50Mbps. This is enough to surf the web, use Google MAP, and watch YouTube videos, all without problem.
  • Coverage: The coverage for the biggest Japanese carriers is 99% of populated area. However, you may experience slow speeds when you are traveling through the mountains or underground.

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3. Compare the top 7 Pocket WiFi rental companies

Below we have put together a table of 7 companies that can be recommended to travelers coming to Japan.

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Allocated DataPricesPickup MethodEnglish Customer SupportReviews
Sakura MobileUnlimited★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Airport
  • Hotel delivery
★★★★★ 5/5
  • Phone (7 days a week)
  • Email (7 days a week)
# of reviews: 3,184
Result: Very good
GET YOUR GUIDEUnlimited★★★★★ 5/5
  • Hotel delivery
★★☆☆☆ 2/5
  • No customer support
# of reviews: 420
Result: Very good
SoftBank Global RentalUnlimited★★★☆☆ 3/5
  • Airport
★★★★★ 5/5
  • Phone (7 days a week)
  • Email (7 days a week)
# of reviews: 8
Result: Average
fon rental WiFiUnlimited★★★☆☆ 3/5
  • Airport post office
  • Hotel delivery
★★☆☆☆ 2/5
  • Email (Hours of
    operation unknown)
# of reviews: 29
Result: Average
Rental Wifi Tokyo
  • 3GB
  • Unlimited
★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Hotel delivery
★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Phone (7 days a week)
No reviews found
JAL ABCUnlimited?★★☆☆☆ 2/5
  • Airport
★★★★★ 5/5
  • Phone (7 days a week)
No reviews found
GENKI MOBILE
  • 1GB
  • 2GB
★★★☆☆ 3/5
  • Airport
  • Hotel delivery
★★★★☆ 4/5
  • Phone (Unavailable
    on Sundays)
  • Email (Unavailable
    on Sundays)
# of reviews: 15
Result: Very good

Next, we will be breaking down the info for three providers in particular that we feel are a good choice for traveling.

Sakura Mobile

Sakura Mobile

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Allocated DataUnlimited
Pricing★★★★☆ 4/5
Pickup MethodAirport
Hotel delivery
English Customer
Support
★★★★★ 5/5
ReviewsNumber of Reviews: 3,184
Result: Very Good
Websitehttps://www.sakuramobile.jp/

Sakura Mobile’s Pocket WiFi is reasonably priced and has unlimited data. The best aspects of Sakura Mobile are:

  • The large number of reviews and high ratings
  • The airport pickup counter has long hours
  • English customer support is available 365 days a year

The large number of reviews and high ratings

There are over 3,000 positive reviews listed on Sakura Mobile’s website. If you compare that to the number of reviews of the other companies listed in the above table, you can see that Sakura Mobile has over 10 times the amount of other competitors.

The airport pickup counter has long hours

The majority of the companies listed on the above table do not have airport counters, and must instead be picked up at the airport post office. Depending on your flight time, you may miss the open hours of the post office and will be unable to pick up your router.

On the other hand, Sakura Mobile has an airport pickup counter with long hours, so you should not run into situations like this.

English customer support is available 365 days a year

Sakura Mobile’s English customer support is available year-round. If you have trouble, you won’t have to wait to get assistance.

You can get in contact with customer service through the phone or through email, making it convenient to get help at any time.

Additional information
Main airport pickup counters

  • Narita Airport Terminal 1, 2 / Operation hours: 7:00 am until time of last flight (Every day)
  • Haneda Airport / Operation hours: 24 hours a day (Every day)
  • Kansai Int. Airport / Operation hours: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm (Every day)

How to return: Post
Number of devices that can be connected at once: 10
Pocket WiFi router insurance: Available (100 JPY per day)

GET YOUR GUIDE

GET YOUR GUIDE
Photo courtesy of GET YOUR GUIDE

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Allocated DataUnlimited
Pricing★★★★★ 5/5
Pickup MethodHotel delivery
English Customer
Support
★★☆☆☆ 2/5
No customer support
ReviewsNumber of Reviews: 420
Result: Very Good
Websitehttps://www.getyourguide.com/

GET YOUR GUIDE is a website that helps you find tours for many countries all over the world. GET YOUR GUIDE’s Pocket WiFi has the second-highest number of reviews and an overall high rating of 4.7.

GET YOUR GUIDE’s portable WiFi routers have unlimited data and are the cheapest compared to other competitors. However, the fact that you can only have the device delivered to your hotel and a lack of customer service are the downsides to this service.

Additional information
Main airport counters: None
How to return: Post
Number of devices that can be connected at once: 10
Pocket WiFi router insurance: Unavailable (25,000 JPY penalty in the event the device is damaged or lost)

SoftBank Global Rental

SoftBank Global Rental
Photo courtesy of SoftBank Global Rental

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Allocated DataUnlimited
Pricing★★★☆☆ 3/5
Pickup MethodAirport
English Customer
Support
★★★★★ 5/5
Phone (7 days a week)
Email (7 days a week)
ReviewsNumber of Reviews: 8
Result: Average
HP https://www.softbank-rental.jp/en/

SoftBank Global Rental provides Pocket WiFi with unlimited data that you can pick up from an airport counter.

Similar to Sakura Mobile, SoftBank Global Rental offers English customer support, so if you have any difficulties with your Pocket WiFi, you can quickly get the help you need.

However, a con to SoftBank Global Rental is that the rental fees are more expensive than other competitors.

Additionally, the only way to return your WiFi router is by taking it directly to the SoftBank Global Rental counter at the airport, which some may find inconvenient.

Additional information
Main airport counters:

  • Narita Airport Terminal 1, 2 / Operation hours: 7:00 am – 9:45 pm (Every day)
  • Haneda Airport / Operation hours: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm (Every day)
  • Kansai Int. Airport / Operation hours: 7:30 am – 8:30 pm (Every day)

How to return: At the SoftBank Global Rental counter
Number of devices that can be connected at once: 10
Pocket WiFi router insurance: Available (220 JPY per day)

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4. Pocket WiFi vs SIM card

Pocket WiFi vs SIM card
Aside from mobile hotspots, if you are planning a trip to Japan, you also have the option to rent a SIM card. For those who are torn between the two options, we have created a comparison chart to perhaps make your decision a little bit easier.

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Pocket WiFiSIM Card
PriceRelatively highRelatively low
Set UpReady to use out of the boxRequires changing
the device's settings
Supported
Devices
All WiFi-compatible devicesSmartphones and tablets
that are unlocked
Battery LifeRequires regular chargingNo charging required
Best UseTravelers in a group or
travelers with multiple devices
Solo travelers with
one mobile device

If you want to prioritize any of the following, we recommend choosing Pocket WiFi:

  • You want to be able to use the internet right away without having to go through any set-up screens
  • You want to share the internet connection with your friends and/or family
  • You have multiple devices that you want to connect to the internet

On the other hand, you should choose a SIM card if you fall into any of these categories:

  • You do not want to carry around a mobile router
  • You are okay with using just the data on your phone
  • You want to save as much money as possible

At Sakura Mobile, we carry not just Pocket WiFi, but also SIM cards. If you are interested, please check our website for more information.

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5. FAQ about Pocket WiFi

FAQ about Pocket WiFi

① Is WiFi insurance necessary?

If possible, we recommend you get insurance when you rent a portable WiFi router.

This is because you will be charged a large penalty if you damage or lose the portable WiFi.

When you hear the word “insurance,” you might assume it is a large amount of money. However, the insurance for a Pocket WiFi rental only costs about 100 JPY per day.

For this price, we believe it would be a good idea to invest in insurance for your mobile WiFi router.

② Is there free WiFi in Japan?

Free WiFi is available at places like Starbucks or department stores.

However, there are not many places where you can find free WiFi. In order to guarantee a fast and stable connection wherever you go, you should be looking into Pocket WiFi or a SIM card.

③ How do I rent Pocket WiFi?

The process for renting portable WiFi routers may be slightly different depending on the company, but they should all be fairly similar.

As an example, we are going to use Sakura Mobile’s Pocket WiFi rental.

Step 1: Reserve on the website

On the website, you will choose the amount of time you want to rent the device for, the day you want to pick it up, and the specific airport counter that you want to pick it up from. Enter your payment information and your reservation is complete.

You will receive a confirmation email with the details of your reservation.

FYI

  • You can use either a credit card or PayPal.
  • Once you have reserved your Pocket WiFi device, it will take about 1 ~ 3 days for it to arrive at the airport counter. You should be sure to reserve your device at least a week in advance to allow for enough time.

Step 2: Pick up your Pocket WiFi at the airport

Bring your passport and a copy of the reservation confirmation email from Sakura Mobile to your desired airport pickup counter.

Step 3: Once you have the Pocket WiFi, you can start using the internet

Just turn on the Pocket WiFi device to start using the internet.

Download any apps you might need like Google MAP and start your journey in Japan!

Step 4: Return your Pocket WiFi on the last day

Return your Pocket WiFi before returning home to your country.

When you first receive your Pocket WiFi, there will be an envelope that comes with it. Before your trip home, be sure to put the device into the envelope and send it back to us.

For your convenience, there is also a post office at the airport.

Check out this video to find out exactly how the pickup process goes!

↑ Click to play YouTube video

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Final thoughts

In this article, we introduced some of the most trustworthy suppliers of mobile WiFi routers for your trip to Japan.

Because the internet is such a big part of our daily routines, picking out the provider that is going to work best for your needs during your stay in Japan may be a daunting decision.

We hope that you found this article informative and that you understand a little bit more about what to look for in Pocket WiFi and what your options are.

Being able to stay connected while in Japan is guaranteed to make your trip a better experience.

Good luck!

Check out Sakura Mobile’s Pocket WiFi plans here!

In conclusion: Which Pocket WiFi provider should I choose?

Related article

If you are going to be staying in Japan long-term (over 90 days) and are looking for a monthly contract, please refer to this article.

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