The Best Free WiFi Spots in Tokyo

Free WiFi in Tokyo can be surprisingly hard to find. With our guide, WiFi-hop your way around the capital and stay connected wherever you are.

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Photo credit: Takashi Hososhima via Flickr cc

Robots, electric toilets and selfie sticks. Just a few images that come to mind when picturing Tokyo, one of the most tech-savvy cities in the world. However, while the rest of the world is becoming a free WiFi haven, Japan, somewhat surprisingly, is lagging behind, leaving anyone without mobile data stranded. Although you may like the idea of trying to navigate the city, find the best spots and unite with friends all internet-free, the reality is it’s just not as easy or fun as it sounds.

But, never fear, there’s no need to go draining your spending money on data roaming. Using the inside knowledge of Compathy Magazine’s professional WiFi-hoppers, we have compiled a list of all the best ways to navigate the WiFi-free world of Tokyo. From the capital’s free WiFi services to the best cafés with free WiFi, our guide to free WiFi in Tokyo might just be your saving grace. 

Once you’ve found out how to stay connected for free around Tokyo, have a look at Things to Do in Tokyo for FreeTop 13 Cheap Restaurants and Where to Stay in Tokyo on a Budget.

Pocket Wifi

pocket wifi

Photo credit: Jahangir Carzon via Flickr cc

Hiring out a pocket WiFi device, also known as mobile WiFi, is the most reliable way of ensuring a decent internet connection wherever you are in Japan. However, this, of course, comes at a price. We’ve got all the details on renting these portable WiFi boxes in our guide to Pocket WiFi in Japan.

Japanese SIM Card

It is also possible to stay connected by buying a Japanese SIM card. You can read more about this here.

But if you’re not willing to dish out several thousand yen on something that’s not sushi or karaoke, there are several free alternatives listed below.

NTT East Free WiFi

NTT_company_logo.svg

Photo provided by Wikipedia

NTT, a Japanese telecommunications company, provides a service that gives you completely free access to thousands of WiFi spots around Tokyo, as well as the rest of the country, for 14 days.

How to sign up: The easiest way to sign up to NTT East Free WiFi is by downloading the app ‘Navitime for Japan Travel’, which can also be done before you arrive in Japan. Alternatively, once you arrive you can sign up at several distribution spots around Tokyo, including Narita and Haneda airports, which are marked by the orange “card pick-up” symbol on this map.

On signing up, you will receive an ID and password which you will need for signing in to the WiFi spots around the city. 

How it works: Once within reach of a WiFi spot, the network “0000FLETS-PORTAL” will pop up which you can connect to with your ID and password. Although you may happen upon some of the WiFi spots, especially around train stations and busy areas, you can also search for the WiFi hotspots with the offline map available from the app. This map acts like Google street view so you can navigate yourself to the nearest WiFi spot.

Tip: Be sure to download the WiFi hotspots map from the Navitime for Japan Travel app while you have an internet connection so that it can be used offline!

Visit the official site here.

JR East Free Wifi Service

JR East

Photo provided by logoeps.net

Trains around Tokyo are run by both Tokyo Metro and Japan Rail (JR). JR provides a free WiFi service in the majority of stations around Tokyo, including Shibuya, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Ikebukuro and Ueno. This also includes the JR East Travel Service Centers which can be found in Narita Airport, Haneda Airport and Tokyo Station. The connection is also available inside the Tohoku shinkansen

How it works: You’ll need to look for the “JR East Free WiFi” sign and connect to the network “JR-EAST_FREE_Wi-Fi”. The first time you connect, be sure to go to your browser where you’ll be asked to sign up to the service. 

When & Where? The service is unfortunately only available between 10:00 and 18:00 and involves hunting down the free WiFi spots around the station. Go to page 4 of the JR East Free WiFi information document where you’ll find exactly which spots provide the service.

Warning: These connections can be a little hard to find if you haven’t planned in advance and don’t always provide you with a strong connection.

If you’re planning on travelling around Japan, be sure to look into getting yourself a JR Rail Pass to cut down on costs. Here’s Our Guide to the Japan Rail Pass.

Tokyo Metro Free WiFi

Tokyo metro

Photo provided by Wikimedia Commons

Similar to the JR East free WiFi service, Tokyo Metro also provides a free service. 

How it works: Search your available WiFi networks for “Metro_Free_Wi-Fi” or “Toei_Subway_Free_Wi-Fi”. After clicking on the network, go to your browser to get signed up with your email address.

Free WiFi is available in the stations shown on this list. You can also download the Tokyo Subway Navigation for Tourists application which will help you to locate free WiFi spots as well as helping you get from one place to the next on the metro.

Warning: These connections can be a little hard to find if you haven’t planned in advance and don’t always provide you with a strong connection.

Japan Connected Free WiFi App

The Japan Connected Free WiFi application aims to give you access at several different spots around Japan, including several hotspots throughout Tokyo.

How it works: Before you can connect to the WiFi hotspots, there are a few things you need to do in advance while you have an internet connection. Firstly download the app and create an account. You will then be given the option to download an offline map which is important for locating the hotspots. 

Choose the Kanto area to find the different areas around Tokyo including Tokyo Station, Shinjuku and Shibuya.

Warning: Connections are often weak and not always reliable.

Convenience Stores

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Photo provided by Wikimedia Commons

Until you’ve set foot in Japan you may think of a convenience store as a place you pop to occasionally when the other stores are closed. However, one day in Tokyo and you’ll be grasping at dark memories of a Seven Eleven-free life, especially now you know it’s one of the go-to places for a top notch internet connection.

Convenience stores aren’t just convenient for an emergency onigiri (rice ball) and iced coffee, they’re also your best friend when you’re on the hunt for WiFi. Tried and tested, the Japanese winner for a reliably strong and consistent internet connection is Seven Eleven. After you’ve logged in for the first time, from then on your device will automatically connect anytime you’re near a Seven Eleven – magic!

Other convenience stores, including Family Mart and Lawson, also allow you to connect to their WiFi service for free. However, not all stores seem to provide this service and it involves signing in every time. Luckily for us, Seven Elevens aren’t usually hard to find and are even shown on Google Maps.

McDonald’s

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Photo credit: Nicky Pallas via Flickr cc

Another recognisable chain with a free WiFi service is McDonald’s which, naturally, can be found all over the city. Although you will need to sign into the WiFi every time, this is easy to do and the connection is usually good.

Free WiFi Cafes 

Whether you’re living in Tokyo or just visiting, a café with free WiFi can be your saviour when cravings for coffee and the internet kick in simultaneously. Sadly, in Tokyo, you can’t go to any old café and expect to get connected, so we’ve had a good shuffle through the capital’s wide array of coffee shops for our favourites that also provide you with free WiFi.

If you’re looking for more cafés in Tokyo, WiFi or no WiFi, don’t miss our list of The Best Cafés in the Japanese Capital.

1 – Starbucks

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Photo credit: Takayuki Miki via Flickr cc

Of course, we know that Starbucks isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and it’s not a cheap cup of tea at that, but it goes without saying that it generally isn’t hard to find when making your way around Tokyo. The only downside with Starbucks free WiFi service is that you ironically need the internet to sign up the first time. However, once you’ve signed up you can connect at any Starbucks across the country.

The main benefit to using their WiFi is that Starbucks in Japan isn’t like the coffee shops we’re used to back home. Check out Our Guide to Starbucks Japan to find out some wacky facts and take a look at their exciting only-in-Japan seasonal beverages. 

 

2 – Freeman Café (Shibuya)

Freeman Cafe

Provided by Foursquare

Take exit 13 out of Shibuya Station and look up to find the trendy Freeman Café lounging on the second floor. It’s living room vibes invite studious youths and relaxed locals for good coffee and European-style dishes. As well as your precious internet connection, you’ll find a number of iPads that can be used by customers.

Be warned that with the benefits of an attractive open space comes smoke, the smoking section not being properly separated from the main room. The central location and cozy atmosphere makes Freeman Café a popular spot, so don’t be surprised to find a queue at the door during busy periods, especially at the weekend.

Looking for fun money-saving things to do in Shibuya? Have a read of the Top 12 Free Things to Do in Shibuya.

­ 10:00 – 23:00 every day

 Shibuya Station (Exit 13)

+81-3-5766-9111

¥ 400 – 800 (Drinks Menu)

­ 1-16 Shibuya, Tokyo

 

3 – Fuglen (Harajuku)

Fuglen

Provided by Foursquare

Fuglen has that natural, quirky Norwegian style that brings all the cool kids to the yard. You’ll pay that bit extra for your drinks but they sure do know how to brew a good coffee, using beans from Honduras and Ethiopia.

Benefit from their free WiFi from dawn til dusk as this hip spot transforms from chilled café to chic cocktail bar at night.

After a relaxing coffee get ready to jump back into the streets to check out the 40 Things to Do Besides Shopping in Harajuku.

­ Mon & Tues 08:00 – 22:00

­ Weds & Thurs 08:00 – 01:00

­ Fri 08:00 – 02:00

­ Sat 10:00 – 02:00

­ Sun 10:00 – 01:00

 Harajuku or Yoyogi-koen Station

+81-3-3481-0884

¥ 500 – 800 (Drinks Menu)

­ 1-2-5 Shibuya, Tokyo

­ Official Website

 

4 – Paper Back Café (Jimbocho)

Paperbook cafe

Provided by Foursquare

Jimbocho is the go-to district for book lovers and Paper Back Café is the must-visit for those looking to combine book-reading with afternoon snacking. Found in one of Tokyo’s oldest bookstores, the café offers a number of books from many genres and in many languages for customers to read over their coffee. 

Whether studying your favourite book or swotting up on the next area to explore in Tokyo, the free WiFi connection is sure to come in handy.

This is the perfect time to take a trip to the Imperial Palace Tokyo while you’re in the area.

­ Mon – Sat 10:00 – 21:00      

 Sun 10:00 – 20:00                

 Jimbocho Station                

+81-3-3291-5181                                              

    ¥ 200 – 500 (Drinks Menu)                                 

­ 1-17 Jimbocho, Kanda, Tokyo                    

 

5 – Brooklyn Parlor (Shinjuku)

Brooklyn Parlor

Provided by Foursquare

As the name suggests, this hip café takes its inspiration from the coolest of New York’s boroughs. Happy customers snack on American-style pancakes and browse the arty books lining the walls. Luckily, their free WiFi means you can upload your photos of this stylish space directly to Instagram.

There are a million things to do in Shinjuku, but don’t miss the Top 12 Free Things to Do in Shibuya.

­ 11:30 – 23:30

 Shinjuku Station (Sanchome Exit) 

­ +81-3-6457-7763

¥ 600 – 900 (Drinks Menu)

­ 3-1-26 Shinjuku, Tokyo

­ Official Website 

 

6 – Mr. Friendly Cafe (Daikanyama)

Mr Friendly

Provided by Foursquare

Who doesn’t want Mr Friendly-shaped hot cakes with their free WiFi connection? You can even use the internet to search who Mr Friendly is! Pick up 7 mini hot cakes for just ¥300 as well as Mr Friendly merchandise in the connecting shop.

And while you’re there, discover the rest of this chic area with Our Complete Guide to Daikanyama.

­ 11:00 – 20:00

 Daikanyama (North Exit) or Ebisu Station

­ +81-3-3780-0986

¥ 300 – 500 (Drinks Menu)

­ 2-18-186 Ebisu, Tokyo

­ Official Website 

 

7 – Tag Café (Shimokitazawa)

Tag Cafe

Provided by Foursquare

As one of the most hipster-dense areas of Tokyo, Shimokitazawa is most definitely not lacking in cool cafés overflowing with turtle necked and mom jean-clad Japanese youths. But, you guessed it, the majority of the cafés aren’t happy to share their WiFi with you.

Hunt down Tag Café, just a short walk from the station’s south exit, which has it all; trendy vibes, good music and a fast internet connection. On top of all that, it stays open til midnight every day of the week!

We think Shimokitazawa is one of the capital’s best districts so have a read of Our Guide to the Hippest Part of Tokyo.

­ 12:00 – 00:00

 Shimokitazawa Station (South Exit) 

+81-3-6450-7253

¥ 450 – 700 (Drinks Menu)

­ 2-12-10 Shimokitazawa, Tokyo

­ Official Website 

 

8 – Café Asan (Ueno)

Cafe Asan

Provided by Foursquare

While it is generally frowned upon to rock up at a café and start plugging in your devices willy-nilly, Café Asan doesn’t just offer free WiFi but also power sockets at every seat to recharge after a day of photo-taking. Unlike any urban café we’ve seen before, you can also recharge your own batteries in one of their all too comfy looking hammocks. 

­ 11:30 – 19:00

 Suehirocho or Okachimachi Station

+81-3-6803-0502

¥ 350 – 700 (Drinks Menu)

­ 3-5-10 Ueno, Tokyo

 

9 – Nyafe Melange Cat Café (Ebisu)

Cat cafe

Provided by Foursquare

There is no place that feels quite as much like home as Nyafe Melange Cafe. Lounge around on a comfy sofa while checking your Facebook and petting a cat. 

Hanging out with cats (as well as other animals) in a cafe is a full-blown phenomenon in Japan. Check out more Cat Cafés and Other Animal Cafés in Tokyo for the lowdown. 

­ Sun – Thurs 12:00 – 20:00

Fri & Sat 12:00 – 21:00

 Ebisu Station (Exit 1)

­ 090-3333-5555

¥ 600 – 1200 entrance fee

Drinks from ¥100

­ 1-7-13 Ebisu, Tokyo

­ Official Website

 

10 – Sekai Cafe (Asakusa)

Sekai

Provided by Foursquare

Sekai Café, previously known as Smile Infinity, is a free-spirited café that aims to bring people from all walks of life into one space in Asakusa, the cultural heart of Tokyo. The friendly atmosphere is provided by staff speaking a number of different languages and a mouth-watering spread of organic, halal food that caters for vegetarians and people with allergies.

If you’re wanting to experience culture and tradition on your trip to Japan, why not stay in Asakusa? Here’s our guide on Where to Stay in Asakusa.

­ March – May 09:00 – 21:00

June – February 09:00 – 18:00

Asakusa Station (Exit 1)

­ +31 3-6802-7300

¥ 400 – 800 (Drinks Menu) 

­ 1-18-8 Asakusa, Tokyo

­ Official Website

 

11 – Design Festa Gallery (Harajuku)

Design

Photo provided by Foursquare

One of the cheapest places to grab a coffee in the Harajuku area is Design Festa Gallery. After enjoying a drink in the greenery-filled courtyard check out the gallery and adjoining okonomiyaki restaurant. WiFi is available throughout the building but be prepared to search a bit for the best spot to get a strong connection.

­ 11:00 – 23:00

 Harajuku or Meiji Jingu-mae Station

­ +31-3-3479-0839

¥ 200 – 500 (Drinks Menu) 

­ 3-20-18, Jingu-mae, Tokyo

­ Official Website

Tokyo Travel

Want more from Tokyo? What to see, what to do, what to eat and all the vital info? Compathy Magazine has everything you need and more:

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