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Osaka becomes first Japanese city to embrace free Wi-Fi

31 Comments

Despite its image as a sleek, technologically advanced society, Japan really sucks when it comes to free Wi-Fi hotspots. In fact, when the Japan Tourism Agency surveyed tourists about difficulties traveling in the country, a lack of free Internet access was far and away the number one answer.

One city has finally taken note and begun offering better connectivity for visitors. Osaka has just announced the launch of Osaka Free Wi-Fi, a program that brings free Wi-Fi to locations throughout the city, as part of its effort to position itself as an international gateway to rival Tokyo.

Users only have to provide a valid email address to use the service, which is compatible with Apple, Android and Windows devices. Logging in will get you 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi and there is no limit on the number of times you can log in. However, some locations only offer a “lite” version of the service, which gives you 15 minutes of Wi-Fi for up to an hour per day.

Participants in the program include the Nankai, Kintetsu and Keihan railways, major tourist attractions, and a handful of hotels, shops and restaurants, all easily accessible for the average tourist. A complete list is available on the website. One assumes if the program proves popular, the number of available locations will also increase.

Source: Osaka Government Tourism Bureau

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Beware the Dangers of Free Wi-Fi -- City of Yokohama offering 14 days of free Wi-Fi to overseas tourists -- Thank god: New app rewards prayer with free Wi-Fi

© RocketNews24

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31 Comments
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Better than nothing.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Good to hear............ Could we have free WiFi as well on the Shinkansen too.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

30 mins... WOW.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Japan... You are cheap.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

30 mins... WOW.

well it says you can log in again. maybe they just want to prevent people from sitting there downloading large files.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

30 mins free is standard in city-wide free wifi. You can usually just re-log in after a while anyway.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@ Eric Mc Millen:

Amazes me how many people are offered something for free and are outraged that they don't get even more. Eric, it's not Japan that is cheap, it's people like you who feel everyone deserves everything for free.

10 ( +13 / -4 )

First city? What a joke Fukuoka has had it for over a year.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

A complete list is available on the website.

What website?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ Extra Virgin Palm Oil:

Here is a list of the free Wi-Fi spots in Osaka. http://www.osaka-info.jp/jp/wifi/pdf/20140129wifi.pdf

And some other info here: https://www.osaka-info.jp/en/wifi/index.html

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good but limited and we need to see free wifi in all cities. Last year, there was an article about turning vending machines into wifi hotspots?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Not the first city in Japan. Fukuoka City Wifi has been in place for a while and already covers all subway station http://www.city.fukuoka.lg.jp/wi-fi/english/index.html

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Hmmm I wonder why not the midosuji and the kyoto line which are by far the most uses lines for tourists in Osaka and between Kyoto and Osaka. Anyway

0 ( +0 / -0 )

still seems that the GAC pocket wifi will still be needed on any future trips

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a pity Tokyo didn't roll this out too. The number of tourists and travellers with their own mobiles (myself included) who can't use them in Japan because of the roaming costs involved would benefit hugely from wi-fi being freely available. My hotel has it, but only if you are in the dining area. As soon as you leave the building - phut! Off it goes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Eric McMillen, why do you think that "millionaire" program disappeared. These are the kinds of programs that Japanese are hesitant to copy because they involve money. And also programs where they involve showing feelings. And the lottery is a ridiculous amount compared to prizes in the US, yet the lowest ticket is 300 yen vs. the $1.00 in the US.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

What would be nice is if the phone companies would allow foreigners to easily buy pre-paid SIM cards. In the UK you can walk into a phone shop and buy one over the counter that will have calls and internet included, and you can top it up easily in any shop. You don’t need to register it or anything, simply buy and plug in.

The lack of good internet for tourists is a major inconvenience. Data roaming charges are extortionate.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Naha's (Okinawa) offered free Wi-Fi for some time now...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan really sucks when it comes to free Wi-Fi hotspots.

Context: - Japan ahead of mobile data curve for ages.

Consequence - sparse WiFi

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Family Mart convenience stores provides good free wifi's and it's nationwide.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

compare to other less rich and developed countries, and YES, japan is bottom of the barrel stingy. and besides, just 30 minutes at a time for letting the j-gov spy on me and sell my info to the nsa? really?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Good job Osaka. And honestly if you're a traveler on the go then 30 minutes in one area is more than enough time to pop on, download your mail, answer the important ones and enjoy a cup of coffee or something.

... now if only hotels in Japan would stop providing ridiculous network cables and wifi that is so spotty that unless you're in the room situated DIRECTLY next to the transmitter you can't get a decent signal (but the walls are so thin that you can hear the people two rooms away doing the horizontal mambo).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

An excellent initiative. I think some people are too quick to criticise anything they do not think is perfect. I'm sure the network of hotspots will expand in time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Welcome to the year 2008 Osaka, but only for 30 minutes.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Just got back from Vietnam, which had free unlimited wifi in all my hotels and coffee shops throughout the country. And there was never any government program needed to push this.

This stark difference reflects the contrasting attitudes/mindsets between the two countries.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think Mito will be the last city for wifi : ((

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks for adding the helpful hyperlink to the word "website", JAPANTODAY.

(My thanks to 2yen2 as well.)

I'm sure that everyone can find the information a lot more easily now.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Starbucks and some JR stations in Tokyo offer free wifi, but you have to provide a valid email.

Some cafes and bars provide you with the SSID and password.

But many poorer countries in Asia have it everywhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First city? What a joke Fukuoka has had it for over a year.

It doesn't work, though. Even checking emails is intolerably slow. It takes too much time to sign up for it. You really need to keep your phone handy if you want to access the internet.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Travelling in Korea was so much easier thanks to being able to buy cheap access to olleh wifi for a day at any 7-11. They had hot spots all over the place so checking maps or locations of places I wanted to go was always accessible. It's too bad that Japan doesn't have something similar, but this seems to be a step in the right direction.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OMG! Those people without contentment, why just say thank you for the free wi-fi that you can use. This is a big help especially for the tourists in Japan. Thank you and I Love You OSAKA... Suki yanen

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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