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Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Is Pocket WiFi Worth It in Japan & What Are the Top Options

One of the most common questions that we come across is if the Pocket WiFi is worth it in Japan. While SIM cards and eSIM cards are much cheaper than the small internet router, Pocket WiFi can be the best option for your next Japan trip if you plan to travel in a group or have multiple devices needing an internet connection. But before you rush off and pre-order a Pocket WiFi for your next exciting adventure, let us go through what you need to know about Pocket WiFi rental in Japan. As you read on, you will also find information about the top Japan Pocket WiFi providers for both short and long-term stays.

Table of Contents

What Is a Pocket WiFi?

Ⓒ Sakura Mobile

Pocket WiFi or Portable WiFi is a pocket-sized mobile router you can take with you to access an internet connection. Most portable WiFi devices in Japan use 4G signals from network providers to enable the connection.

The size of the Pocket WiFi is smaller than a standard cell phone. Depending on your chosen Japan Pocket WiFi provider, it can be only a little bit bigger than your credit card!

The Advantages of Renting a Pocket WiFi to Stay Connected to the Internet in Japan

While renting a Pocket WiFi is more expensive than buying a Japan SIM card or eSIM, there are several reasons why Pocket WiFi will suit you best for your next Japan trip.

  • The Pocket WiFi allows multiple devices to be connected to the internet. Thus, if you have more than one device, you don’t need to rely on its hotspot function, which will drain the battery quickly.
  • It is the best option if you need to work remotely.
  • The internet connection of a Pocket WiFi is generally faster and more stable.
  • Advanced configuration to an APN on your phone isn’t required to use a Pocket WiFi.
  • You don’t need an unlocked phone to use Pocket WiFi in Japan.
  • A Pocket WiFi is compatible with any device.

Why Renting a Pocket WiFi May Not Be the Best Option for Your Next Japan Trip

Besides the many pros of Pocket WiFi, the mobile router also has a couple of cons you need to keep in mind.

  • In most cases, Pocket WiFi can only be rented instead of purchased. This means you need to pick it up and return it while you are in Japan.
  • The queue for picking up a Pocket WiFi at the service provider’s airport counter may be long, wasting your valuable travel time if you need to stay in the queue.
  • The rental cost of a Pocket WiFi is higher than purchasing a SIM card or eSIM, so renting a Pocket WiFi wouldn’t be the most economical option if you only have one device.
  • The devices that need to be connected to the internet must be close to the Pocket WiFi. This means if you want to share the mobile router with a group of people, the group must travel together.
  • If the Pocket WiFi gets lost or damaged, you have to pay a large compensation fee.
  • The Pocket WiFi must be charged before use.

Tip: Even if you plan to travel in a group, some of you might want to be alone for a short period of time. As a safety net, download WAmazing app and apply for a free SIM Card that you can pick up from an airport in Japan. It comes with 500MB of data for 15 days for free. The WAmazing SIM Card operates on NTT DoCoMo’s 4G mobile network, the best network in Japan.

Please note that it can take up to 4 hours from account registration before you can pick up a SIM Card from the airport.

A Japan Pocket WiFi Is Suitable for Your Next Japan Trip if You Fit into One of the Following Categories

  • You plan to travel with a group of people.
  • You have multiple devices that need to be connected to the internet when you are in Japan.
  • You need to work remotely.
  • You don’t want to go through the hassle of configuring an APN on your phone.
  • You have a locked phone that needs to be connected to the internet.

How to Rent a Japan Pocket WiFi?

  1. Make an order online.
  2. Pick up the Pocket WiFi from the chosen venue, such as an airport, post office, or hotel.
  3. Return the Pocket WiFi to a collection point, such as an airport.
    • You can also mail it back to the service providers. However, a shipping fee may be incurred with this method if you choose a cheaper provider.

Tips:
☛ If this is your first time renting a Pocket WiFi, it is best to pick up the device from the airport. Staff at the airport counter can answer any questions you might have, and if there is anything wrong with the device, they can fix it up for you on the spot.
☛ If you are worried that the rented Pocket WiFi will be lost or broken during the rental period, consider purchasing insurance while ordering.

Pick up Your Portable WiFi from Your Country’s Airport

If you plan to travel from the below countries and prefer to pick up your Pocket WiFi device before leaving, it is possible! Click on the link to order your Japan Pocket WiFi.

Can I Rent a Pocket WiFi Without Ordering in Advance?

Most Pocket WiFi rental companies would require customers to put through an order at least 3 days in advance. This is because they need shipping time to ensure your device is ready to be picked up from your chosen venue.

Tips:
Sakura Mobile accepts same-day orders if you can pick up the Pocket WiFi from their Shinjuku Office.
Japan Wireless may be able to accept your order within 3 days from the pick-up date if you contact their customer service team.
Ninja-WiFi accepts orders up to 1 day before the desired pick-up date.
klook accepts orders up to 2 days before the desired pick-up date.

Why Do I Need to Pre-Book a Japan Pocket WiFi

Of course, you can also rent a Pocket WiFi upon arrival. But this isn’t recommended for the following reasons:

  • Reserving your Pocket WiFi before arrival is usually cheaper.
  • You only need to pick up your device upon arrival. No time is wasted on deciding which company to rent from and which rental plan to go for.
  • During the peak season, Pocket WiFi rental companies can run out of devices, limiting your choices.
  • By getting your Pocket WiFi posted to a post office or your hotel/accommodation, you avoid the long queue at the airport’s Pocket WiFi counter!

Can I Pick Up My Pocket WiFi in One Place and Return It Somewhere Else?

Most Japan Pocket WiFi service providers allow you to pick up your mobile router in one place and return it in another place. In fact, most of them give you a pre-paid envelope to post the device back! This gives you the maximum flexibility to decide where and when to return your Pocket WiFi.

  • Sakura Mobile: Suitable for longer travel periods or last-minute bookings.
  • Japan Wireless: Suitable for shorter travel periods.
  • NINJA WiFi: Suitable for a travel period of 1 week or less.
  • Japan Wifi Rental: Suitable for those with a strict budget.
  • Mobal: Suitable for newly arrived residents and expats.

Tip: While cost is a big factor when choosing which Pocket WiFi provider to go with, consider the Pocket WiFi’s battery capacity too. The larger the number specified, the longer it will last.

Sakura Mobile

Sakura Mobile is an internet service provider to international visitors. In addition to short-term Pocket WiFi plans, it also has long-term plans.

All of Sakura Mobile’s Pocket Wifi Plans are for unlimited internet usage. Depending on the rental period, the per-day charges change.

If you want a Pocket WiFi for more than 7 days, the converted daily rate is cheaper than NINJA WiFi. The longer the rental period, the cheaper the daily charges become.

As Sakura Mobile uses NTT DoCoMo’s network, the reception is exceptional!

Refer to Sakura Mobile’s website HERE for more information.

Important: Orders must be put through at least 3 days in advance. However, if you choose to pick it up at Narita Airport, they can accept orders up to a day in advance.

Tip: You can also visit their Shinjuku Office if you want to do same-day pick-up. But note you have to place your order via their website.

Japan Wireless

Japan Wireless is operated by Inbound Platform, a company that specializes in providing services to international tourists, such as camping cars, Pocket WiFi, and medical information. Like Sakura Mobile, it is a better option if you rent a Pocket WiFi for more than 7 days.

While the daily rates to rent a Pocket WiFi from Japan Wireless are slightly higher than Sakura Mobile, the add-on charges (insurance) are cheaper.

While you can’t order a Pocket WiFi on Japan Wireless’s website for pick up within three days, you can contact their customer service directly by email: [email protected].

Refer to Japan Wireless’s website HERE for more information and to order your Japan Pocket WiFi.

Important: Japan Wireless still require the order to be put through at least 1 day in advance.

NINJA WiFi

NINJA WiFi has been a trusted brand since it was founded in 1995. With 990 yen a day, you can enjoy unlimited internet data at a maximum download speed of 150Mbps.

In addition, compared to other service providers, NINJA WiFi has more pick-up counters where you can pick up your Pocket WiFi for free. They even have a service counter at Shinjuku!

  • If the pick-up location is Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Kansai International Airport, or Naha Airport, you can reserve your NINJA WiFi Pocket WiFi device by 3 pm Japan Time one day beforehand.
  • If you order your Pocket WiFi at least 4 days in advance, the pick-up locations are extended to 11 airports in Japan!

NINJA WiFi provides its customers with many add-on options, including a real-time translator and medical insurance/support, to ensure your Japan trip is hassle-free!

Tip: You can pick up your Pocket WiFi on the day from NINJA WiFi’s service counter at Shinjuku if you order by 3 pm.

Japan Wifi Rental

If you want to rent a Pocket WiFi at the lowest cost, Japan Wifi Rental is the provider you might want to consider. The company rents out Pocket Wifi at an extremely low rate of 430 yen per day. But your internet download speed will be restricted if the company considers your usage extensive.

Another con in renting from Japan WiFi Rental is the limited number of pick-up points. 1,100 yen is charged for shipping if you prefer your Pocket WiFi to be sent to a desired location. In addition, you must return/post the rented Pocket WiFi by 10 am on your scheduled return date.

Refer to Japan WiFi Rental’s website HERE for more information.

Mobal

Ⓒ Mobal

If you plan to stay in Japan for more than 3 months and are seeking an alternative to installing broadband, rent one of Mobal’s WiFi devices. The company’s WiFi router is a cloud device that uses Japan’s 3 main networks (Softbank, DoCoMo, au), giving you the best possible coverage in Japan.

The standard package gives you 100GB per month, more than enough for an average internet user.

The great news is no long-term contract is required to sign up for Mobal’s WiFi service. You can terminate the service anytime after a 3-month period by clicking the “Cancel service” button on the portal.

If you are interested, refer to the official website HERE and order!

The Best Japan Pocket WiFi Providers for Short-Term Travelers

Sakura Mobile, Japan Wireless, and NINJA WiFi are Japan’s top three Pocket WiFi providers. Each provider’s pricing differs slightly because the level of services they provide isn’t the same. The best Japan Pocket Wifi Company for you differs depending on your type of traveller and your internet usage pattern. So, refer to the table below to find the Japan Pocket Wifi provider you should use.

Our favorite is Sakura Mobile. The company uses NTT DoCoMo’s network, the best network in Japan. This means the greatest coverage and the fastest speed. Their pick-up counter at the airport also has long opening hours. The one at Haneda Airport is only closed from 1 am to 4 am, accommodating early and late arrival passengers.

Japan Pocket WiFi ProviderNetwork UsedFUP (Fair Usage Policy)Daily Cost for a 28-Day RentalNumber of DevicesCan I Return the Pocket WiFi at the Airport?Need to Pay for Postage of Returning the Device?
Sakura Mobile (click for more info)NTT DoCoMo3GB575 Yen/Day15YesNo
Japan Wireless (click for more info)SoftbankNot provided, but confirmed the speed will be limited if excessive data are used.Business WiFi Plan: 727 Yen/Day
Premium WiFi Plan (for data-heavy users): 765 Yen/Day
10NoNo
NINJA WiFi (click for more info)SoftbankDepending on the plan you choose3GB High Speed: 770 Yen/Day
5GB High Speed: 1,100 Yen/Day
10GB High Speed: 1,320 Yen/Day
10YesNo
A comparison of Japan’s top short-term Pocket WiFi providers
  • Note after the day’s FUP (Fair Usage Policy) threshold is met, you can still connect your devices to the internet, but at a low speed.
  • While Japan Wireless’s website states the maximum download speed is 187Mbps, the actual speed is greatly affected by a number of factors. In Tokyo, the company has confirmed that the typical download speed for the premium plan is approximately between 20 to 40 Mbps.

The Best Japan Pocket WiFi Providers for Long-Term Travelers

If you plan to stay in Japan for at least a month, you can rent a Pocket WiFi at a discount. Again, depending on your internet usage pattern, the best Japan Pocket Wifi Company for you differs. So refer to the comparative table below to find the Japan Pocket Wifi provider you should go for.

Our favorite is Mobal. The company uses all of Japan’s big network providers. This means consistent, smooth internet surfing. Breaking the 3-month contract also incurs a smaller fee compared to other companies.

Japan Pocket WiFi ProviderNetwork UsedLong-Term Pocket WiFi Rental CostMinimum Contractual Perod
Sakura Mobile (click for more info)NTT DoCoMo10GB Plan: 3,480 Yen/Month
30GB Plan: 5,478 Yen
Fiber Internet: 7,128 Yen
3 months. You have to pay for the full three months even if you terminate the contract within the 3-month period.
Japan WirelessSoftbank6-Month Plan: 5,580 Yen
12-Month Plan: 4,980 Yen
24-Month Plan: 4,580 Yen
Depending on the plan of choice
MobalA combination of Softbank, DoCoMo, and AU4,980 Yen for 100GB3 Months, a small early termination will be incurred if you end the contract early
A comparison of Japan’s top long-term Pocket WiFi providers

The Reasons Affecting the Cost of Renting a Pocket WiFi

The cost of a Pocket WiFi depends on several factors, such as:

  • Data limit: A cheaper Pocket WiFi rental plan usually means a lower data limit for high-speed internet.
  • Number of days: The longer the rental period, the cheaper the per-day cost will be.
  • Internet speed: The higher the speed, the more expensive the plan will be in most cases.
  • Number of devices: The more devices that can connect to a Pocket WiFi, the more expensive it will cost you.

SIM Card, eSIM, or Pocket WiFi: Which One to Use in Japan?

Mobal-Data-SIM-Card
Click the photo for information that will help you decide whether to get Pocket WiFi, a SIM card or an eSIM.

If Pocket WiFi doesn’t sound like the best internet solution for your next Japan trip, consider purchasing a SIM Card or eSIM.

Refer to our SIM Card, eSIM, or Pocket WiFi: Which One to Use in Japan article that answers all your questions about how to stay connected to the internet when you are in Japan!

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