How to Get Internet in Japan: Choosing Between Broadband & Mobile Services

Internet in Japan

Japan is one of the most connected countries in the world. With 144 million smartphones among 127 million people, nearly everyone has access to the internet. Coupled with some of the fastest home broadband speeds found anywhere in the world, this makes Japan a great place to use the internet at home or on the go. If you’re looking for a way to use your computer in Japan, you need a traditional broadband connection, a smartphone data SIM for tethering, or a high-speed mobile router. Keep reading to find out which option is right for you during your long-term stay.

In this article:

Home-Use Internet Service Providers in Japan

internet service providers in japan
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If you’re looking for a stable connection for home-use only, broadband in Japan usually requires two separate contracts. One with the company running the physical line into your residence (the service carrier), and one with the company letting you access the data (the service provider).

Service Carrier Options (Physical Line)

The overwhelming majority of lines are built, owned, and operated by the formerly state-owned telecoms company, NTT. This company is now divided into NTT East and NTT West, along with half a dozen smaller subsidiaries, including NTT Docomo for mobile phones. Your residence decides which company you use, although they are functionally identical. Some smaller companies (KDDI, AU) also offer their own services in some areas.

Depending on where you live you will have access to one of a few types of wired connection. 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.

Service Provider (Broadband Data)

internet service providers in japan
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Your choice of service providers is much more varied. In general your maximum speed is limited to the type of line your building has, but most providers offer different tiers of service, giving you the option to choose a slower speed that costs less. As with many other countries, some companies in Japan package television and mobile services with internet plans. You may also find deals that give you points you can use at your favorite electronics shop or online retailer. How useful you find these additions is a matter of personal preference. Be sure also to check if the provider you want to go with has English language support if you need it.

It’s worth remembering that almost every company charges a connection fee. This can be anywhere up to 15,000 yen and is required every time you change service providers. Both the carrier and provider require contracts, which are a minimum of one year, but more commonly two. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of these fees when coming to a decision, and remember that connecting your residence can take up to a month to set up from start to finish.

Wireless Internet Options in Japan

With some of the best mobile internet in the world, Japan is a great place to cut the cord and go fully wireless. Coverage is almost universal in the city, meaning you can be sure of getting exceptional speeds on any WiFi-capable device simply by tethering it to your smartphone’s personal hot-spot or using a mobile WiFi router. If you don’t have a phone capable of tethering or haven’t signed a Japanese phone contract yet, a mobile router rental is a great option. This allows you to connect multiple devices at the same time and you can take the internet with you, wherever you go.

You can usually get speeds of up to 150 Mbps in cities around Japan, with some of the most comprehensive coverage found anywhere in the world. Even if you end up outside the fastest coverage areas, getting stuck without a signal is unlikely to happen except in the most remote areas of the country.

The Benefits of Using a Mobile Router Rental

Internet in Japan
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With a Sakura Mobile router, you can get up to 20 hours of battery life, keeping you connected all day without worrying about finding a place to recharge. You can also connect multiple WiFi-capable devices, whether they be smartphone, tablet or laptop. Mobile routers give you the best of both worlds-incredibly fast internet and mobility-making them an attractive alternative to traditional wired home internet.

No Early Termination Fees after Three Months

With Sakura Mobile there are no yearly fees and there is no penalty for ending the contract after the first three months. After the initial line activation fee, you only pay for your monthly allowance. If you exceed your monthly limit, you can still use the internet at reduced speeds. Sakura mobile has range of plans so you can choose the right package to suit your data usage needs. From the S(5GB) or M(10GB) plans for light and everyday users, to the HOME plan with a huge 30GB, you won’t have to worry about going over your allowance.

No Yearly Contracts

The online application process is easy. You can even order your router before you come to Japan and pick it up when you arrive at the airport. If you’re already in Japan, you should get your router within a few days from applying. Shipping is free so you don’t have to worry about unexpected charges to your bill.

No Waiting

If you find yourself moving around Japan often, with a mobile router you can keep surfing the internet without stopping for contract changes; simply inform Sakura Mobile of your new address. Voice sim and data sim users are covered by Docomo’s network, and SakuraMobile Pocket WiFi works on the Softbank network, meaning your new home is likely covered by their high-speed network.

Easy Payment Options

Sakura Mobile accepts cash payments, which can be made at your nearby convenience store, as well as credit and debit cards issued from your country. English language support is available on their website and by phone if any payment issues arise.

How to Get Internet in Japan? Connect with Sakura Mobile

Mobile WiFi routers have always been a great option for foreign residents looking to access the internet anywhere in Japan, but now they are fast and reliable enough to be used at home, too. Along with Data-only SIM Cards, mobile routers offer unique advantages over traditional wired internet connections. Sidestep the hassle of traditional Japanese internet service providers and get fast, reliable long-term internet with Sakura Mobile.