Traveling to a country where we can not read a single character and where it is difficult to find a person that speaks English fluently can be a challenge. But nowadays the internet saves us from everything! In order to move from one place to another, Google Maps would always tell us which transport to take and, more importantly, what´s the price of each option. If we wanted to communicate something in a restaurant, Google Translate could help us. And of course, to share the latest photos on instagram and communicate to our parents that we were fine!
Being warned about this issue, we decided to always book airbnb’s that offered portable wifi. The experience was not the best because sometimes they ran out of batteries in the middle of the day – resolvable with a power bank – one of the times it did not work at all (the two nights in Osaka) and obviously when we wanted to divide the group it was a drama to decide who was keeping the modem. And on the days when we checked out in the morning and only got to the new Airbnb at night, we would spend all day without internet.
We also considered renting a second portable wifi at the airport, but we were travelling cheap and preferred not to. If you go in a group that will always be together, and now that I see from the perspective of already been there, I think it is a good option.
Fortunately we found another solution while we were already looking for a place to rent a portable wifi in downtown Tokyo. A free SIM card from Trip Free that offered 500MB of data for 7 days. If we wanted more data or more time, we would have to pay, depending on the amount of extra data we wanted. And obviously it is necessary to have an unlocked mobile phone, which accepts the Japanese card. We were offered the card at the tourist information office of the Kitte building, right next to Tokyo station, but through the site it seems that is possible to order it online. Then you only have to return it by post before leaving Japan without any associated cost.
Of the two options, an extra portable modem is more suitable if you are looking for unlimited data usage, and the Trip Free card is more suitable if you are looking for cost containment and if you are only going to use the data to orient yourself in the city, because then you have wifi at home, which was our case.
If you know of any other option, please share it with us!