JR East to offer free public wireless LAN service for overseas visitors


To meet the need among overseas visitors in Japan for Internet access via mobile devices, East Japan Railway Co (JR East) will start free public wireless LAN service intended for foreign customers from Oct 1.

Registration can be done in English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. The service will be available at JR EAST Japan Travel Service Center at Tokyo Station and 13 stations on the Yamanote line.

You can access the Internet via PC or smartphone at the JR EAST Travel Service Center or near access points located in the station. You need to register your e-mail address to use the service.

Access points

JR EAST Travel Service Center at Tokyo Station (opens on Oct 1), Narita Airport Station, Airport Terminal 2 Station, Haneda Airport International Terminal Station (Tokyo Monorail).

Other stations are Hamamatsucho, Tamachi, Shibuya, Harajuku, Yoyogi, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Ueno, Okamachi, Akihabara, Kanda and Maihama.

When using service

○ SSID is “JR-EAST_FREE_Wi-Fi”. ○ You may access the Internet multiple times a day. (Each connection is up to 3 hours.) ○ In the event of major disaster, Internet access will be available to all without the need to register.

For more info, click here.

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Why not offer to everyone?!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I didn't know that Wi-Fi can identify phones/devices that are from other countries. @jojo... - For the same reason Japan has fallen 3 years behind the mobile market compared to other countries. They keep trying to find ways to control everything which forces them to reduce resources into development into other areas. They focused on MD and Apple beat them to digital. They focused on how to control the net and other countries are raking in advertising money on free Wi-Fi almost everywhere.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Finding a free hot spot in central Tokyo is only slightly less harder than striking oil.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Eh! A small step, now the rest of us?!?!?!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Free wifi/wimax across major city's would encourage tourism. There was talk about turning vending m/c's into wifi points?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Why not offer to everyone?!

I was thinking the same thing. Internet access is not that expensive, so why not make it free for everyone. I also think they should put aerials in all trains (especially in Shinkansen and other long haul express trains)...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This summer I travelled to Manila, Vancouver BC and Hong Kong. In all three cities you are hardly ever far from excellent wi-fi. In Kyoto, where I live, it's almost impossible to find, even on a major downtown shopping street which grandly proclaims free wi-fi! Come on, Japan!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Would they even know if a resident used this service? I'm going to try anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

movieguySep. 26, 2012 - 08:18AM JST

I didn't know that Wi-Fi can identify phones/devices that are from other countries.

They can't, especially since you can spoof your MAC address (only thing that can tell them where it is from) really easily on your computer (and possible on a rooted phone).

All you need is a .com address or similar, and if you have a throwaway address you can keep changing your MAC and email and keep getting free access.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

No Japanese? Strange, public wifi is easily hacked to get around any payment or registration via DNS tunneling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

service intended for foreign customers


0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am not a whiz on this stuff, but I would have thought that JR would have had a system where the visitor enters his phone number and then gets an SMS with a password for the free system. As long as the phone number did not start with +81, the phone would be considered a visitor's phone. There could be a few people who travel a lot with an offshore phone, but that percentage is probably so low as to not to have an impact.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TokyoGasSep. 26, 2012 - 10:30AM JST

I am not a whiz on this stuff, but I would have thought that JR would have had a system where the visitor enters his phone number and then gets an SMS with a password for the free system.

I agree with you on your first statement. Nobody would bother with international roaming rates for cellphone texts, and Japan doesn't even have a unified SMS system! The fact of the matter is that there is no way to ensure only foreigners use it unless you check passports before login

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Scarcity of free public wifi in Japan reminds me of the scarcity of ATMs in the early- and mid-90s, and how the few that you could find only worked during regular banking hours (!). Europeans and Americans were used to seeing 24/7/365 ATM's on every corner.

I think I get some kind of public wifi service with my Softbank iPhone data plan, but I'm never able to get it to work.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with you guys. Why can't it be free for everyone?!

Why can't we just connect to it without a password? Isn't that the true meaning of free public wi-fi?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No need to wait until October first.

There's already free wi-fi service right next to Tokyo Station - for ANYONE.

There's a corporate (insurance company?) public space - a large and quiet room with chairs and tables and a drink machine and TV news and wi-fi - free - for anyone to use, in the basement corridor that connects Tokyo station to the Oazo Building. (Marunouchi side, north end of Tokyo Station)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yes, it's free. If you register. And if you are content to stand near the Wifi router. And if it's a full moon and the planets are aligned. Why does everything have to be controlled and difficult? Let the free market rule, baby!

Note that you can get free and fast wifi easier around Manila and HCMC -- still "developing" nations than you can around Tokyo. Yabba Dabba Doooooo!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are many options for both wifi and wimax. If you live here, the best option is one of the pocket wifi/wimax services which are very cheap.

You can sign up for wifi services by day too.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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