We discovered that we can receive free and reliable wifi signals when we are at the entry gates of JR stations!
1. Select for example, JR East when you switch on your device’s wifi.
2. Open an Internet browser and try to go to any webpage
3. There will be a prompt page with terms and conditions that you have to agree to
4. Each session is 30 minutes, with auto log out after. However, there are unlimited logins allowed per day.
The upside is that it really helps a lot when you are commuting and need to check on information or just to catch up on emails. Unlike some other free wifi services, you don’t need a Japan registered phone in order to use this service.
However, the wifi range is not super wide and often there isn’t a cafe where you can sit comfortably to use this free wifi. We were sitting on the stair steps and just standing around 🙂
We also tried another free wifi service called freespot. It requires you to log in with your email address using their issued password. Question is how do you retrieve your password when you don’t have Internet service in the first place? So it worked when we logged in using JR’s free wifi to retrieve the password. It can be a backup option when you are not at the JR station.
In various cities, there may also be other free wifi options for tourists. Look for the wifi signal stickers and instructions on tourist maps! For example, there is a free 3-hour wifi service in Kyoto.
Good luck and happy surfing!