Travelers to Japan Will Soon Find Free WiFi at 45,000 Hotspots
Finding free Wifi and avoiding high-priced connectivity fees have long been a challenge for travelers to Japan, but a solution is in the works as the Japanese government is currently trialing a program designed to provide foreign visitors with free public Wi-Fi.
The plan is to make it real easy on visitors by issuing them a Wifi card with a user name and password to access the system. When you arrive at the airport, there will be a counter at which you present your passport to get a wifi card. This counter has yet to become permanent in many airports, so be sure to ask where it is when you arrive. There are also locations within the cities, such as department stores, that can issue the cards.
Currently, the system provides Internet access at 45,000 hot spots in eastern Japan, including Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Nagano, Hokkaido and Fukushima, and is valid for 14 days. Keep in mind that you must access a specific wifi hot spot - aka, it is not "city-wide" - and you can find maps of the wifi locations offered in the different cities here.
The trial period is scheduled to run until September, at which point any bugs the system encounters will be ironed out with the hopes of fully launching in 2016. Fingers crossed that it all goes according to plan, and, perhaps more importantly, that other countries use this as a model to create their own free wifi systems for travelers.