Please, note that this information is given as a service and was correct at the time of writing. Because things like this change all the time, we cannot, however, guaranty that the information will be either up to date or even correct at the time you read this. We highly recommend you to check it out as much as you can before coming to the city.
Note also that we do not have any relationship with the various companies or sites mentioned. This is for information purpose only.
“TRAVEL JAPAN Wi-Fi” is a convenient smartphone application that can be used all around Japan. There are over 200,000 access points in the country, and the application also includes a function that provides you with local recommendations based on your location. While we have not used it, we have heard good things about this.
You can download the App and get more information here: https://japanfreewifi.com/
Another recent option is to buy a pass from Wi2 300 and get internet access from over 200,000 spots across Japan! Find out the detail here: http://wi2.co.jp/en/300/
In addition, Kyoto city is pushing forward with further development and maintenance of the “Kyoto Wi-Fi” public wireless network, in order to create an environment in which tourists and resident alike can conveniently connect to the internet. Please read the following points and start surfing! On your device, look for the KYOTO Wi-Fi access point, Accept the terms and conditions displayed on the login
screen and connect to the internet. Note that you will have to verify your login details every 30min.
A few chains of convenience stores offer free internet access
Simply go to a Seven-Eleven or Lawson’s convenience store — they do provide Wi-Fi.Look for their access point and fill in the required info.
If you are at Kyoto Station during the day, you can go to the Kyoto Tourist Information Center “KYO NAVI” on the 2nd Floor of the Kyoto Station Building. It is one floor up from the central exit, on the west side up the escalators. The information counter is open from 8:30 to 19:00 every day, and it has free Wi-Fi as well as paid internet access.
Providers with free Wi-Fi include Kyoto City Tourism. This is mainly confined to the main roads in Central Kyoto, offering free 24-hour periods of Wi-Fi. You can use this Wi-Fi at most subway station platforms between Kyoto and Karasuma Oike, where they have a special Wi-Fi sign showing availability, as well as at major bus stops. Get more info and check out the map of the access points on their site: HERE in English or 这里 中国语文.
Then there is always Starbucks. The ubiquitous green café is present in most parts of Central Kyoto. Wi-Fi is why many people go there. There are over 20 Starbucks cafes around the city of Kyoto.
Next, there is the JR West Free Wi-Fi service, which is limited to the Kyoto Railway Station area, though they also offer it in Osaka and Kobe. To use the service, you must send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then you will obtain a guest code (ID), along with detailed instructions which are in English and Japanese. You can then use it for up to 8 days at selected stations. It is best if you send the email before you get to the train station, as it may be difficult to find a free Wi-Fi spot amongst the crowds. It was tested by sending an email from Australia, and a reply was immediately received from WIRE AND WIRELESS Co.,ltd. The 8-day period doesn’t start until you enter the guest code. All the information is available here.
Occasionally when you are strolling, you may come across the SSID for Wire and Wireless (Wi2) “Wi2 300”. They offer a one-day wireless plan for free for Visa cardholders, with discounted pricing after that. This service is spasmodic, but it can come in handy as it does cover some cafes and public areas, so in central Kyoto you may get coverage a few times a day as you move around.
Generally speaking, Wi-Fi is not available in most sightseeing spots, like Kinkakuji, Ryoanji or other world heritage sites, so if you are planning to use Wi-Fi as a backup phone/ email to meet your friends, it is probably easier to meet at a café or Lawson’s store.
Another website that has comprehensive maps of Free Wi-Fi spots is Freespot.com, which includes listings in both the city and country areas.
Another option is to rent a device, called a Pocket Wi-Fi or Mobile Wi-Fi. You’ll find more information on the respective website of the following companies (simply click on their logos):
Please, note that we have not tried these services and cannot comment on them. If you do decide to get one of these and need an address where to have the device sent, let us know and we’ll provide you with the address of our office next to Kyoto station where you can have it sent to. We’re also curious to know more about your experience with these.