Jul 6, 2018
It seems to be known around the world that Starbucks offers free wi-fi at their locations. You can log in with Facebook or Gmail and it connects easily. A couple years ago we had to go to one of two Starbucks in town for the wi-fi until ours was set up. Now it seems to be catching on.
Train stations, Tully's, Joyfull, Gusto, and several other places in our city have started offering free wi-fi. They're closer and less crowded so that was helpful when we changed our internet provider and had a gap without internet at home early this year. I've had limited success getting the Travel Japan wi-fi app to work .
I wish our libraries were connected, but sadly they aren't at this point. Is the library where you live an option?
If you have a free (unlimited) data plan for your smartphone, this probably isn't a concern. It might only be useful for when you're setting up internet for your place. For visitors, information on where to find free wi-fi might be invaluable.
I have a haunch that Japan is getting wired in preparation for the 2020 Olympics, to convenience the huge number of tourists who are likely to need the internet to help. With maps, translation apps, sharing photos and videos, or just checking your email or chats, free wi-fi will help out those who don't want to borrow a SIM card or pay extra for roaming fees. The expense of visiting Japan is already high, so if you can get online at your accommodation plus at several hotspots outside, it might be okay to skip spending more to get connected.
Plus a recent discovery is that 7Spot at every 7-11 is free!
It seems that it's been available for years, but used to require registration. Now it's super easy to connect and there's no need to register on the Japanese interface. I'm not sure how long this has been going on, but I only figured it out in June. A couple weeks later I was sitting in a restaurant across the street from a 7-11 and the wi-fi worked from there. (This might be a good strategy to avoid setting up wi-fi at home if you live near a 7-11? )
Where are your favorite hotspots in Japan?