For a nation that prides itself on high technology, Japan is notorious for not having free Wi-Fi. But that’s about to change.
Japan’s largest telecommunications firm, NTT Docomo, launched a new program that would give foreign travelers free access to wireless Internet in 45,000 hot spots across eastern Japan.
Tourists just need to present their passports at the airport or several other locations around Japan to register for a Wi-Fi card. They will be able to access free Internet from various spots around eastern Japan, including Tokyo, Hakone, Mt. Fuji, Yokohama, Nagano, Nikko, Kusatsu, Tohoku, Hokkaido and Fukushima.
Travelers to Japan can also download the iOS or Android version of the NAVITIME for Japan Travel app and obtain an ID and password before arriving in the country. The app also offers an augmented reality mode that lets users see “Street-View” style images of locations where Wi-Fi spots are available.
The program is part of efforts by the Japanese government to boost tourism, although the service is designed for short stays of up to 14 days only. The program began earlier this year and will test run until September 2014.
A Nikkei report says the government plans to use the initiative to enable Wi-Fi access in more buildings around the country.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: “#4643 latest model tram, close-up” by Nemo’s great uncle/Flickr