These days we’re all used to being connected to the internet when out and about. When you go to Japan, unless you want to face megabucks overseas data roming charges, the chances are you plan to turn off your mobile phone data services, and rely on guidebooks and internet cafes.
Mobile internet rental in Japan
Thanks to recent moves by Japanese mobile companies to offer unlimited mobile internet packages, you can now easily and pretty cheaply rent unlimited internet devices right from the airport (Narita, Haneda, Kansai, Nagoya and Fukuoka all have rental booths) that let you and all the members in your party connect up to the internet through 1 device using a Mifi or similar device for between ¥1200-1500 per day.
Why bother with mobile rental?
From maps to translations services to timetable information, having mobile internet in Japan is essential and can completely transform your trip with a Japan Rail Pass. It’s perfect for checking up on interesting restaurant ideas through foursquare, or even just checking where the heck you are! We rented a unit on our last trip to Japan and can’t imagine going back to Japan without one.
Will they work on the Bullet Train with my Japan Rail Pass?
Mobile internet totally revolutionises the experience. Using mobile internet and the GPS in your phone, you can see yourself hurtling across Japan on google maps, and can easily identify what towns and mountains you are looking at. You can also time that view of Mount Fuji down to a tee, and check how far away from your destination you are. You can also spend your time on the train productively, booking hostels, researching your next town, and posting envy inducing photos to Facebook :D .
I get the message – How can I rent one and and how much would it cost?
It will depend on the company you decide to rent from, but there are kiosks that allow you to pickup your device at all the major airports including Narita, Haneda, Kansai, Nagoya Centrair and Fukuoka.
You should make sure you place your order in advance so your unit is waiting – 3 days in advance is generally fine. Most companies will also give you an envelope you can use to post the unit back to the rental company from any 7-11 convenience store.
The jrpass.com team has rented from the following companies in the past, and have had a completely problem free experience:
This great post by Joseph Tame also has more information on the subject
Totally random image of Darth Vader made possible through tenuous inclusion of Japanese people with mobile phones. yay!
Unlimited travel on the Japan Rail network from $270.00 for 7 days