Guide to Renting the Best Pocket WiFi for Japan Travel 2023

If you’re looking for the best pocket WiFi in Japan, then I have a secret to tell you. Based on what we’ve discovered, they’re ALL the same. Japan Wireless, Sushi WiFi, Fox WiFi, PuPuRu WiFi, Ninja WiFi, Global Advanced Communication, eConnect Japan, etc. — they are ALL from Softbank. Same speed, same features, same ISP (Softbank). Literally, the only difference is the price! So we’ve narrowed down the results to the three best-priced plans.

Key Takeaways:

How to Get Wireless Internet Service in Japan

Japan has many wireless internet service providers (ISP) and the most popular are NTT DoCoMo, Softbank, and au by KDDI. These three are the local ISP giants and provide reliable internet connections throughout Japan.

However, getting an internet service directly through them is NOT possible for short-term tourists. As a result, you will need to rent a portable hotspot (known as pocket WiFi in Japan) or buy a Japanese data SIM card.

But we’re going to focus on portable hotspots because they’re extremely easy to get in Japan and don’t have phone incompatibility issues.

Booking Ahead vs On Arrival

From our experience, you should reserve your portable WiFi it at least 3 business days before your arrival in Japan. That way, it will be waiting for you at the airport or your hotel. It’s more expensive if you get it on your arrival at the airport kiosk, and there’s NO guarantee you’ll get one because they sell out, especially during peak seasons.

ABOUT “POCKET WIFI”: You may see the term “pocket WiFi” being used by negligent blogs and some WiFi rental companies in Japan. Pocket WiFi is a registered trademark of Softbank.

So any WiFi rental company using the term pocket WiFi for their portable hotspot router cannot be technically called “Pocket WiFi” if it uses an NTT DoCoMo or au by KDDI network. FYI.

Here are some tips & advice our readers and clients have found helpful for first-time travel to Japan:

Why rent a portable WiFi in Japan?

Without the internet in Japan, all of these things become MUCH more difficult:

  • Navigating to and from your hotel or accommodation.
  • Utilizing the train, bus, and subway systems.
  • Communication with Japanese locals.
  • Navigation in general (Japan has hundreds of unnamed streets).

Relying on free and unsecured public hotspots poses security risks and it’s a hassle to find them while you’re trying to enjoy your time sightseeing. If you are staying at an Airbnb, their connection is not reliable. The previous occupants may have used up all the data; which happened to us every time. So having reliable internet access while traveling in Japan is important.

Portable WiFi vs. Data SIM Cards: Which is better?

Data SIM card is cheap, but make sure your phone is unlocked and it’s compatible. SIM cards also don’t often allow you to tether to other devices such as laptops.

To help you decide, here’s a comparison:

Portable WiFi deviceData SIM Cards
UsabilityCan be connected to any device that supports WiFi.Phone and some tablets only.
BatteryNeeds to be charged to stay connected.No charging is required.
SetupCan be used right away.Needs to be set up correctly.
ShareabilityCan be shared with multiple devices.Cannot be shared or tethered.

Pickup and Return Considerations

When ordering your pocket WiFi online, consider how you want it to be picked up and returned. Most rental companies have 3 convenient pickups and return options:

  • Airport
  • Hotel delivery
  • WiFi company’s office (usually in Tokyo)

Airport and hotel pickups (recommended): Double-check the opening hours of the rental company’s kiosk at the airport and see if it aligns with your arrival time. If you’re arriving in Japan outside of the kiosk opening hours, then it’s best to choose the hotel delivery pickup option.

Office pick-up: You may encounter a rental company that has a physical office in major cities like Tokyo. You need to take note of their opening and closing hours and be at least familiar with how to get to their office. I don’t recommend this option because going to their office is going to be an additional cost for you.

Returning: If you through the airport on your departure date, you again need to check their operating hours. Or you can choose the post office box return option. In my experience, it’s more convenient to return the device through a post office box as they’re practically everywhere in Japan.

NOTE: Staying at an Airbnb? Unfortunately, WiFi rental companies will not generally deliver to an Airbnb accommodation. This is because most Airbnb hosts don’t want to deal with picking up the package and you might end up not getting it.

3-Step Guide to Choosing the Best Pocket WiFi for You

Step 1: Assess what kind of user you are.

Many WiFi rental companies in Japan like to tout their pocket WiFi by flaunting their pricing along with the term “unlimited” and “fast” data speed. But the real deal here is how much data you typically use in a day.

So which are you?

  • Heavy data user – someone who watches videos, uploads multiple photos/videos on social media, and plays online video games while traveling to Japan.
  • Casual or light data user – someone who just uses Google maps and browses information about Japan, as needed.

Heavy data users

For example, my husband is a heavy internet user (super heavy). He will probably consume 2-3 GB a day just watching Youtube videos and uploading photos on our social media account. For a user like him, a pocket WiFi with at least 10-20GB of data throughout his stay won’t fail him. However, you may need to pay considerably more for that much data.

If you have kids who watch videos to entertain themselves while traveling in Japan, you’re also on the heavy user side. Plus, since you’re a family, you are probably sharing the connection through that device.

So you’ll probably need more GB data to survive your trip.

Casual data users

If you’re like me, who’s a casual user, who only looks at my phone to use Google Maps and navigate the train, or find an interesting restaurant to eat at, or read ebooks, then you don’t need super high GB data.

You can get away with an unlimited plan or 1GB a day or even less might even work for you. And it is usually way cheaper too.

Step 2: Get the router model that suits your needs.

We created this comparison chart of common wireless routers that can be rented in Japan. Look at the specifications carefully and see which one best suits your needs.

Aria 2
Wireless Router Model601HWPocket Wi-Fi 501HWHWD11Pocket Wi-Fi 303ZTFS030WAterm-MR04LNAria 2 Freetel
Rented byNinjaPuPuRu, eConnect Japan, H.I.S, and Japan WirelessPuPuRuNinjaLightPocket and Sakura MobileGenki MobileSushi Wi-Fi
Battery capacity2,400mAh3,000mAh3000mAh2,700mAh3,060mAh2,100mAh2,300mAh
Continuous Communication Time (approx.)6-8.5 hours10 hours9 hours9 hours20 hours12 hours17 hours
Downlink / Uplink (best-effort speed)187.5Mbps / 37.5Mbps 187.5Mbps / 37.5Mbps 75Mbps / 25Mbps187.5Mbps / 37.5Mbps 150Mbps/50Mbps150Mbps/50Mbps150Mbps/50Mbps
WLAN versionIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/acIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/acIEEE 802.11 b/g/nIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/acIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/acIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/acIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Step 3: Start comparing plans and prices.

PuPuRuNinjaeConnect JapanH.I.SJapan Wireless
Plans and the router model
(excl. taxes and/or shipping fee)
Pocket Wi-Fi 501HW
501HW (SoftBank)

Unlimited: ¥500 per day

HWD11 (au by KDDI)

Unlimited: ¥900 per day
Pocket Wi-Fi 303ZT
303ZT (SoftBank)

Unlimited: ¥900 per day

¥680 per day if booked through Voyagin.

¥7,000 for 11-30 days (flat fee) if booked through Veltra.

601HW (SoftBank)

1GB/day: ¥800 per per day
Pocket Wi-Fi 501HW
501HW (SoftBank)

1GB/day: ¥980 per day

50GB: ¥5,080 per day

25GB: ¥3,350 per day
Pocket Wi-Fi 501HW
501HW (SoftBank)

Unlimited: starts at ¥2,500
minimum 3 days rent
Pocket Wi-Fi 501HW
501HW (SoftBank)

Unlimited: starts ¥4,266
minimum 2 days rent
Taxes and fees10% + Free shipping10% + Free shipping10% + ¥790 shippingTaxes incl.10% + ¥500 shipping
Simultaneous ConnectionsUp to 10 devices.Up to 5 devices.Up to 10 devices.Up to 10 devices.Up to 10 devices.
Bonus- Free battery charger
- Free 10GB on their 1GB plan
Free battery charger
Pickup and return options- Airport
- Hotel
- Post office box
- Airport
- Company office
- Airport
- Post office
- Hotel
- Company office pick up and return only- Airport
- Post office
- Hotel
LightPocketGenki MobileSushi Wi-FiSakura Mobile
Plans and the router model
FS030W (SoftBank & NTT DoCoMo)

Unlimited: starts at ¥3,350
minimum of 5 days rent

500MB/day: starts at ¥3,000
minimum of 5 days rent

350MB/day: starts at ¥2,620
minimum of 5 days rent

View all plans and customizable plans here.

1GB/day: ¥300 per day

2GB/day: ¥500 per day
Aria 2 Freetel
Aria 2 (SoftBank)

Unlimited: ¥299 per day
FS030W (SoftBank)

300MB/day: ¥3,700
minimum of 3 days rent

600MB/day: ¥4,450
minimum of 3 days rent

3G/day: ¥6,100
minimum of 3 days rent
Taxes and fees10% tax + ¥540 shipping10% tax + free shipping + ¥3,000 activation fee10% tax + ¥1,000 shipping + ¥2,999 activation fee10% tax + free shipping
Simultaneous connectionsUp to 10 devices.Up to 5 devices.Up to 10 devices.Up to 4 devices.
Bonus- Free battery charger
- + 200kbps capping after 1GB exceeded
Pickup and return options- Airport
- Hotel
- Post office box
- Airport
- Post office box
- Airport
- Post office
- Hotel
- Company office
- Airport
- Hotel
- Post office box

Bottom Line

Best for Casual Users (and affordability)


Click to Reserve PuPuRu

Click to Reserve Ninja

Based on our test, PuPuRu and Ninja WiFi connection speed were outstanding and we never experienced any downtime. But that’s because we used it casually as it’s intended it to be.

We’d like to think that their unlimited plan is still capped somehow. But, at the time of writing, both pocket WiFi rental companies, so far, are the cheapest WiFi hotspot for rent in Japan for short term stays (10 days or less).

Best for Long-Term Use (11-30 days)


Click to Reserve Ninja (for 11-30 day plan)

In terms of value for long-term use, we found that Ninja WiFi offers the cheapest plan if you’re renting the hotspot device for 11-30 days because of the flat-rate price of ¥7,000.

It says on their website that they offer unlimited data, however, based on our test and usage, the speed was average.

Best for Speed and Heavy Data Users


Click to Reserve eConnect

We like eConnect Japan’s full transparency and full disclosure of their plans and hotspot specifications. They’re the only company that does that.

Their basic 4G plan has 1GB data per day and comes with free 10GB data (11GB total) which is perfect for heavy data usage like watching videos or playing video games.

Plus, their service comes with free Power Bank mobile charger, and you can’t beat that feature set at its low price.

WiFi PlanPriceReservePickup optionsUsageGreat value for
PuPuRu WiFi¥500
per day
Check Current PriceMost airports throughout JapanCasual and unlimited1 to 10 days of travel
Ninja WiFi¥680
per day
Check Current PriceMost airports throughout JapanCasual and unlimited1 to 10 days of travel
Ninja WiFi¥7,000
flat fee
Check Current PriceMost airports throughout JapanCasual and unlimited11 to 30 days of travel

Unlimited isn’t really “unlimited”

We’re not against WiFi companies that use the term “unlimited” for their WiFi rental plans. But, if they’re going to use it, they might as well indicate the Fair Usage Policy (FUP) on their websites. After all, the internet is a shared network environment and how you use it affects other internet users.

If a provider says “unlimited,” then that doesn’t mean it’s “ultra-fast speed and unlimited all the time.” It only means that you won’t lose the connection and can use the internet in an unlimited manner. However, there will be either data capping or bandwidth throttling imposed by the network provider (bandwidth throttling is when an ISP intentionally slows down the internet connection speed of a device).

With Fair Use Policies, ISPs will significantly reduce the download and upload speeds of a user who has passed their allotted data limit to ensure that others using the same network are not affected by heavy internet users. Because of this, a wireless plan at 500MB a day might be faster than an “unlimited” plan.

Caring for your portable device

For those who like to prepare for the worst, you can consider adding gadget insurance offered by the provider during the booking process to protect yourself if the device somehow gets broken.

That said, it’s usually an additional ¥300-¥400 per day, which is quite expensive on top of your mobile WiFi cost. So it’s up to you.

If you opt to go without it, then make sure to always keep your portable WiFi in a safe place inside your bag or backpack, and package it appropriately when returning it through a post office box.

Otherwise, you have to deal with the replacement fee if you lose or damage the device, which can be around ¥25,000-¥45,000!

Lastly, don’t use too much internet…

Remind yourself that you’re in Japan!

That it is much more enjoyable to put your phone down and just savor your time and the Japanese culture around you.

Try and keep your usage to navigation and photography, rather than spending your vacation glued to your phone.

Also, using your mobile phone near priority seats inside buses and trains is actually considered rude, so don’t be that guy/gal (click to read our article about Japanese etiquette: Do’s and don’ts for first-time tourists).

18 thoughts on “Guide to Renting the Best Pocket WiFi for Japan Travel 2023”

  1. Hi,

    I still cannot choose which pocket wifi to get.
    I will landing in Haneda and stay 32 days. March 8 – April 8.
    I am also going to Kyoto and Osaka for hanabi.

    Also to Kamakura, Sagamihara, and Shonan area.
    My host may take me other places.

    I am a HEAVY user. Also, nobody seems to be mentioning that translation apps (iPhone) will be used mostly ONLINE (some have offline, but not counting it). Translation will be used CONSTANTLY.
    At night I will probably watch movies with US subscriptions, like AppleTV+.

    So I want “unlimited”, fast, and long battery.

    I also heard that Docomo is the better ISP.

    Which one should I get?


    • Hi Ted,

      Pocket Wi-Fis are not really meant for heavy data usage like movie streaming. You can, but most likely at the end of the day your speed will slow down. I think it’s best if you will stay at a business hotel that has free Wi-Fi.

  2. Do you have security concern about the Huawei devices breaching/gathering personal information? Most Japan pocket wifi seems to favor that brand name.

  3. FoxWifi – AVOID – miss leading website – un-trusted provider
    Their web site clearly state “CANCELLATION POLICY
    You can cancel your order and get refunded anytime until we actually ship your package out. (Approximately three days before the pickup date)”

    I contacted them 2 weeks previous shipping date, as my flight from Korea was canceled due to COVID-19 and they denied my reimbursement !

    As a customer you have a choice to choose a trusted provider !
    Anyone as similar experience ?

    • I am sorry this happened to you. I have not heard of FoxWifi. I checked their website I knew it immediately to not book a pocket WiFi with them, they seem to be very dodgy, they have no About us or Company Profile,

  4. WOW. I wish I had done my research. I fell into the trap of one website and ordered Japan Wireless. GOD, I regret the price knowing that there’s fare more CHEAPER WiFi in Japan! Anyway, I had the BEST time in Japan and I’m definitely visiting again! BTW, I love your blog!!

    • Hi Baby Joy,
      I am so happy you found my blog!! Oh yes, I hate those websites that are one-sided, they did great in marketing though. Now you know where to rent the next time you visit! I miss Japan so much and glad to know you had a blast!

  5. Can’t see the JPY 7,000 flat rate plan on Ninja WiFi website. Probably they have discontinued it. Their rate for unlimited plan is now JPY 900 per day, which is quite expensive compared to others.

      • Thanks a lot, Ada! There’s no option for insurance in Veltra offer. Do you know if it’s possible to insure separately?

      • Hey Alex,
        Unfortunately, the insurance option is only available on their website. I find the insurance option expensive if renting for more than 10 days (because it’s an additional 400 JPY per day for the insurance). In my experience, when I rented the Wi-Fi, I really had to take really good care of it in my bag yay!

    • Hello, I see you’re from France. The prices shown are in Japaneese Yen. If you’ll convert it with your currency, it’s actually very cheap 😉


Leave a Comment