Before our first trip to Japan I started looking into how we could access the internet from our smart phones. We had free wifi at the hotel, so that was good, but I really wanted to be able to use the internet wherever I was in Tokyo. I started to look up how it was with free wifi hot-spots but I gave up in the end. Sure you can go to Apple Store to use in store wifi and a lot of cafes have wifi, but I needed internet on the go while I was in Tokyo.
The main reason I needed internet on the go was so I could use some of the apps on my smart phone, like Google maps, since I always get lost while in Tokyo, and transport information apps, and of course I wanted to be able to use Facebook and check-in whenever and where I was and also be able to use Skype to so I could call home if needed.
So first I looked into buying a sim card for our phones, the pay-and-go sort, so we could top it up with some yen and use it as needed. Thats when I hit a problem. Its sort of a pain to get one in Japan. It wasnt as easy as going into the local 7 Elven convenient store and just picking one up. There are services that you can rent a sim card from but you cant keep it in the end of your trip. Its not impossible, but it seemed to be not as easy as some other places can be.
So what we ended up doing in the end that worked out better for us was to rent a 3G wifi modem. This was good because we did not need to have to get any sim cards, all we needed to do was to connect our phones to the 3G wifi modem and we were online!
How it works: To get hold of one there are many sites online that rent them out. You pre-order online before your travels. We also ordered an extra battery since we could be out all day sometimes and the regular battery would die out and need to be recharged. Anyway, back to ordering! When you order you tell them which airport you are landing at and what time and then you can either pick up from the company pickup point or even the post-office at the airport or have it sent to your hotel. Once you are finshed with it at the end of your holiday you get a pre-paid envelope to send it back in. So all you need to do is find a post box.
The company we use every time we visit Tokyo has always worked out for us. The speed is great and the coverage over greater Tokyo was good. The link to the company we used is at the bottom here, but there are others on the net, so just use Google to compare them.
If you have any better and cheaper ways of getting online while in Japan please share in the comments!