Get a connection by WiMAX. Nationwide internet access in Japan

I always write about travelling in Japan by trains. But I will talk about a different topics this time.

When you travel outside of your country, how do you get internet connection? Late days some of you care about internet connection more than cell phone connection. Yes, I am! No connection, No life for me. 🙂

Whenever I’m in Japan, internet connection is the biggest issue for me. I got a connection when I stayed in my parents home or stayed in hotel. But how do we get it when we are travelling? There are many coffee shops, like Starbucks, in Japan. They have a WIFI spot. But these WIFI spots are not for everyone. In north America, anyone can get a connection very easily at coffee shop. But it is different system in Japan. Only customers who have an account with major cellular companies in Japan or registered at major portal site, like Yahoo Japan, can access this WIFI spot. So basically this service is just for domestic customers.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

When I travelled Japan in this month, I tried to use WiMAX. I was very satisfied with this connection. As you saw Facebook page, you know I uploaded pictures almost everyday when I was in Japan. That means I got connection most of times when I stayed in Japan. And this is very fast internet connection too. I could use this connection for Skype. I did not have any problem with it.

I used two types of devices. I review for this internet connection.

Data Card / USB stick

I used rental USB stick. I needed to install some application and devices. But it was so easy to install it. When I was travelling Japan, I always carried this device. I could get a connection in most of places and even getting on the trains. I could not get a connection in the tunnel and underground. So it was almost impossible to get a connection in Shinkansen except Tokaido Shinkansen (Tokyo-Shin Osaka) because of too many tunnels. But when I was on the train from Sapporo to Otaru, from Kokura to Hakata, and on the bus from Kumamoto station to Kumamoto airport, I got a connection all time.
This device does not need any outlet power. As long as it connects with PC, it can be used. We don’t need to worry about the charge. When I got on the trains that have a power outlet, I always can charge my laptop. This was a good asset for me. Especially most of trains in Japan do not have any power outlet. We must be careful about charging.
If you travel alone and use only laptop, this device is very useful. But if you travel with your friend, using two or more devices, using smart phone or using the device that does not have USB connection, you should think about Mobile router.

E Mobile WiMAX router

I bought this router for my mother. She sometimes enjoy Skype with my daughter. I tried to connect from three devices, my windows laptop, Android phone and Android tablet at same time. I didn’t have any problem. I carried this and used at 12th floor of Osaka station building. It was no problem at all.

This is very handy too. It is almost same size of iPhone. But we need to charge. The maker says the battery life is 4.5 hours. So I estimate it would be less than 4 hours.

How to rent these devices

You can rent at Narita airport, Haneda airport, Chubu airport, Kansai airport and New Chitose airport.
Softbank Global Rental
Narita airport facilities and services guide

7 thoughts on “Get a connection by WiMAX. Nationwide internet access in Japan”

  1. Hi Takeshi ,

    Just to update this space for those who’re traveling to Japan , I have tried out BMobile 1GB Data sim card and also WiFi devices , I would suggest WiFi devices for data access in Japan.

    I have rented a WiFi device from Global Advanced Communications (http://www.globaladvancedcomm.com/). It’s easy to book and pickup from airport upon reaching. Since I landed in Narita Airport , Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 post office starts operating at 0830. If you are too early , then you might want to consider the device to be sent to your hotel or anywhere you want.

    Coverages is good except some mountains area which i believe no telcos can covers as well. The devices i rented lasted at least 6 hours if i keep using it. You might want to consider bring more power bank / charging devices with Micro-USB tip for charging purposes if you travel long distance.

    About BMobile 1GB Prepaid Sim , I tried on Samsung Note 2 (N7100) and iPhone 4. For Samsung Note 2 , it seems to have a little bit problems as it detects data connection (3G and H) but after running some times, data won’t loads anymore. Of course , N7100 is not listed as the supported device.

    For iPhone 4 , it’s on 3G without any issue , but because phone display only 3G with no service (because BMobile can only have access to data) , so sometimes speed can be slow or not working. I have run speedtest and found out the ping went up to 100+ – 300+ which resulted the speed to be slow i assume.

    B-Mobile requirement:-
    -Your device must support one of the following frequency. LTE Band 1 (2100MHz), Band 19 (800MHz), Band 21 (1500MHz), W-CDMA/HSDPA/HSUPA Band 1 (2100MHz), Band 19 (800MHz)
    -Your device must be SIM Lock Free.

    There is also rules like :-
    To maintain service quality for all users, JCI reserves the right to restrict the data transmission speed for customers who have used more than 3,000,000 packets (approximately 360MB) over three consecutive days including the current day.

    So , i highly recommend WiFi devices renting for data access in Japan. Major cities like Tokyo and Hakone shouldn’t be any problem. Hope it helps you all 🙂

    1. Hi Chua,

      Thanks for sharing your info.
      Actually I;m in Japan now and using E-mobile wifi mobile route. I used same company as you, Global Advanced Communications at last time. But I changed it at this time. Because it’s 1000 yen cheaper for 4 days rental. But this company does not have any English info. So I don’t put any link here. I hope they will do it in English.

      I’m in Kinugawa onsen now. It was record breaking snow in last 24 ours in Tokyo!

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Takeshi ,

        I rented 7 days for 5,550y from Global Advanced Communications. Hope to see the service you are using to have english page soon. 🙂 it will be great to see more providers as price can be compare from provider to provider.

        Hope you’re enjoying onsen while waiting for snows to slow down in Tokyo. I have read on news that many flights has been delay due to heavy snow in Tokyo. We consider ourself lucky as the day when we left , only Tokyo starts raining and snowing.

        I will definitely go back Japan agian ~

  2. My wife and I are planning to use take the Tohoku Shinkansen, the LEX Super Hakucho, and the LEX Super Hokuto to Sapporo. Is WiFi is available on any of these trains? Will the train’s WiFi connection be available in tunnels and underground, including the underwater tunnel to Hokkaido? And will it be easy for us to connect to the train’s WiFi system, not being able to read any Japanese?

    1. Hi Jim,
      Those trains do not have any WIFI connection. WIFI is available in some trains. But mostly it require the contract with major Japanese carrier. That’s why I used rental WiMAX.
      AS far as I know, only Narita Express provide WIFI service for the foreign tourists.
      Takeshi / JP Rail

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