A large number of Brits visit Japan every single year, with the vast majority of these trips made by residents aged between 25 and 54. However, the return trip is far less popular, with just 49% of Japanese people making a second visit to Britain within 10 years of their first (as opposed to 63% of Brits who regularly make the trip east).
Japan travel tech tips
This underlines the unique appeal and fascinating that Japan holds as a tourist destination, as it combines world-class amenities with the type of unusual cultural experience that’s unusually reserved for the world’s most remote locations. So, whether you’re traveling to Japan for business or pleasure, there’s plenty to see and do during the day and the night. To make the most of this, however, you’ll also need to understand a few technology hacks that can overcome some of the challenges associated with traveling through Japan. Here’s just a few to help you on your way!
Rent a SIM Card or Hotspot for Internet Access
Whilst some mobile networks offer international roaming and data, the terms and costs associated with this can be considerable. If you look at T-Mobile, for example, they typically offer unlimited text messages and data but the latter is often throttled down to 2G speeds. You’ll also need to pay a premium for voice calls when in Japan, and this is typical of most networks when traveling throughout Asia. Whilst you can negate this by collecting a temporary SIM card at the airport when you land, this will most likely be data only. In this respect, renting a 4G hotspot often offers a more affordable solution over time, whilst we’d also recommend that you invest in an additional memory chip from RS Components for your other hardware.
Download the Travel Japan Wi-Fi App
Our first hack may have come as something of a surprise, particularly if you consider Japan to as a futurescape of hyper-connectivity and technological innovation. After, whilst there’s some truth to this description, it doesn’t extend to cheap and accessible Wi-Fi in Tokyo and similar city locations. In fact, the lack of available Wi-Fi connectivity often comes as a huge surprise to visitors, but fortunately, there’s another viable option that helps to circumvent this issue.
This exists in the form of the Travel Japan Wi-Fi app, which is currently available to non-Japanese iTunes and Google Play accounts and offers comprehensive (and reliable) coverage nationwide. Most importantly, this innovative app connects over 200,000 individual hotpots throughout the country, whilst also showing local area navigation and detailed tourist information. It even offers discounts in key tourist destinations, so you can plan out our activities online whilst also saving your hard-earned cash!
Rent a Phone
If you’re traveling for the purpose of business in Japan and need an affordable point of contact, you should consider renting a phone. There are several Japanese companies that allow you to rent phones by the day or by the week, for example, whilst these can be combined with SIM cards that carry a local number and are able to process incoming and outgoing calls. Similar to instances when you rent a 4G hotspot, make sure that you order your phone before you travel and take time to compare the market for the best possible deal.
Source a Power Converter
When you visit Japan, you’ll notice that the country is home to the same two-pin plugs that you’ll find in the States. This means that you’ll need a similar adaptor to convert the three-pin plugs on your own hardware, as this will enable you to use your laptop and charge your smartphone wherever you are. Japanese power outlets also carry 100 volts, which is slightly slower than the sockets that you’ll find in the UK. This won’t be an issue when charging your devices, but it may pose a safety hazard when connecting devices that generate significant heat and power. Many people don’t take this into consideration when thinking about Japan travel tech tips before their trip.
Consider Getting a Suica Smart Card for Purchases
You’ll notice several cultural and social differences when visiting Japan, with the way in which spend particularly unusual in the modern age. This is because cash remains king in most Japanese cities and jurisdictions, as while credit cards may be accepted at most major retailers they’re not commonly used for everyday purchases. However, you’ll rarely find cash denominations smaller than 1,000 JPY (or $10 USD), and this can leave you carrying out a large number of 100 and 500 yen coins when out and about in the city.
With this in mind, accessing a Suica or PASMO smart card may offer a viable solution. Both of these cards are identical in terms of their functionality, whilst these prepaid cards include chips that allow you to make small purchases with a single tap. These cards are also accepted in most stores and retailers, and they provide a convenient and tech-savvy way of spending your cash every day whilst visiting Japan.