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Two things our research told us about Japan; Wifi access hadn’t been common for other travelers in the past and the cell network is one of the most advanced in the world. Part of this trip was to try out our technology before we transition to a more nomadic work lifestyle and being connected is a necessity.
We currently don’t own a device that would allow for data tethering via a cell phone so we needed another way to stay connected. To the interwebs for a solution!
Because Japan sees many business travelers, there are several companies that will arrange a temporary local cell phone, smart phone or data device for short term visits. Pick up can be arranged for the airports or major hotels when one arrives in the country, and returning is as simple as dropping it off at an airport office or in the post. Prices vary significantly.
We decided to work with Rentafone Japan because they offered a broadband device at the best pricing for the length of our trip. Unless your employer is picking up the tab, it does pay to do your research. Most of the companies offered unlimited data usage.
A package was waiting at the Narita terminal 1, 4th floor post office. A quick flash of the passport and we had the URoad-SS10 in our hands. Rentafone provided the MiFi device, a charger, easy to follow instructions, a padded travel case, some plastic bags to help protect the device and a return envelope with the address and postal paid.
The URoad-SS10 has been performing well for us. We have been using an iPad and MacBook Air and speeds are what we would expect from broadband. Regular surfing with a background audio stream and some HD video streaming have been no problem while we hang around our apartments in Tokyo and Kyoto.
For some quick fact checking and location assistance while out in the cities, it worked well with the iPad and is very portable at 86 grams. It claims a 9 hour continuous usage battery life with 250 hours in sleep mode (for a faster ‘on’ cycle). There are no worries about nursing usage to preserve battery life.
If you are looking for more than occasional internet access while in Japan and your home provider will bankrupt you with international roaming charges, I would recommend checking out Rentafone Japan for your next trip.
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There are a couple of different options; we chose the faster, and slightly more expensive version. A flat rate of 6900 Yen is charged for up to one week of usage and then a daily fee of 300 Yen is levied. We were in Japan for 27 days for a total of 12900 Yen; roughly $168 CAD.
Averaged out to about $6.25/day we thought it to be cheap considering how much we use the internet to plan and execute our travels (and to fuel our social media addiction!). Prices vary according to device and whether you also rent a phone.