Those who use the Internet for work and travel a lot will want to be able to use the Internet smoothly for business contacts and work while on the road, and the most time-consuming part of the trip is probably the ride on the Shinkansen from one city to another. If you’re traveling to Japan, you’ll want to be able to connect to the internet smoothly on the Shinkansen and share the sights and fun things you see and do on your trip with people on the internet.
Did you know that there are free WiFis on some of the Shinkansen? How to connect and how to use these free WiFis?
Free Wi-Fi is available on the Shinkansen
Tokaido, Sanyo and Kyushu Shinkansen: Shinkansen Free Wi-Fi
If you want to go from Tokyo to Kagoshima in the Kyushu area by Shinkansen, how can you get there?
The answer is very simple: take the bullet train, Shinkansen “Nozomi” and you can get there on one train without transfer to another train.
However, did you know that although you don’t have to change trains, you will pass through the jurisdiction of three JR companies: JR Tokai (Tokaido Shinkansen, Tokyo-Osaka area), JR West (Sanyo Shinkansen, Osaka-Fukuoka area), and JR Kyushu (Kyushu Shinkansen, Fukuoka-Kagoshima area)? There used to be free WiFi on the train, but since only JR Tokai offers it, it will be automatically disconnected after Shin-Osaka.
Also, if you want to use the free WiFi provided by JR Tokai between Tokyo and Osaka, you have to sign up with Docomo WiFi, NTT FLET’S PORT, HOTSPOT, BB Mobile Point, or UQ WiFi in advance.
In July 2018, the Tokaido, Sanyo, and Kyushu Shinkansen lines jointly launched a new free WiFi service called Shinkansen Free Wi-Fi. If you search for and connect to the WiFi signal with the SSID “Shinkansen Free Wi-Fi” on your cellphone or computer, and register with your email address (authentication via SNS is also possible), you can now use WiFi for free on the entire line from Tokyo to Kagoshima.
There is also no need to sign up in advance.
Until March 2020, this service will only be available on some trains and sections, but after March 2020, Shinkansen Free Wi-Fi will be available on all lines. This will also be the first free WiFi on the Sanyo Shinkansen and Kyushu Shinkansen.
If you are planning to take the Shinkansen in this area, look for stickers like this one on the doors of the trains.
Hokuriku Shinkansen E7 Series, Yamagata, Akita, Joetsu, Tohoku and Hokkaido Shinkansen: JR-EAST FREE Wi-Fi
JR East is not to be outdone: all JR East Shinkansen trains are equipped with free WiFi, JR-EAST FREE WiFi, which will be fully operational in 2019.
Initially, JR-EAST FREE Wi-Fi was a service for foreign visitors to Japan. However, both Japanese and foreigners can easily register and use the service with their own e-mail addresses.
The Hokuriku Shinkansen is under the jurisdiction of JR East (between Tokyo and Joetsu Myoko) and JR West (between Joetsu Myoko and Kanazawa), so the trains are divided into JR East E7 and JR West W7.
JR EAST E7 provides “JR-EAST FREE Wi-Fi”.
However, you do not need to know which type of train you are in to determine the type of free WiFi. As with the Shinkansen Free Wi-Fi, JR-EAST Free Wi-Fi has its own sticker.
You can find out which WiFi you can connect to by checking the stickers on the doors of the trains.
Hokuriku Shinkansen Series W7: JR-WEST FREE Wi-Fi
The train provided by JR West on Hokuriku Shinkansen is the W7 type, and the free WiFi provided in this type of train is called “JR-WEST FREE Wi-Fi”. All you need to do is check the sticker on the door of the train to see which type of WiFi is being offered.
Here is the “JR-WEST FREE Wi-Fi” sticker.
How to use the free Wi-Fi
Follow the steps below to use the free Wi-Fi conveniently.
- Turn on the WiFi switch on your phone or computer.
- Select a network name such as “Shinkansen Free Wi-Fi”, “JR-EAST Free Wi-Fi”, or “JR-WEST Free Wi-Fi” from the network list.
- Select “Connect to the Internet”.
- Register by your e-mail address or use SNS for authentication (“JR-EAST FREE Wi-Fi” does not support SNS).
Points to note when using the free Wi-Fi
Each registration has a validity period
Each registration is valid for a certain period of time, after which you will need to register again.
The expiration dates for the three types of free Wi-Fi are as follows:
- Shinkansen Free Wi-Fi: 21 days
- JR-EAST FREE Wi-Fi”: 21 days
- JR-WEST FREE Wi-Fi: 8 days
Time limit for each connection to the network
Each time you connect to the network, there is a time limit on how long you can stay connected. After the time limit expires, you will need to connect again.
The three types of free WiFi have the following time limits.
- Shinkansen Free Wi-Fi: 30 minutes
- JR-EAST FREE Wi-Fi”: 3 hours
- JR-WEST FREE Wi-Fi”: still unknown
Internet is not always available
Free WiFi uses radio waves for cell phones, so if the communication network is in poor condition, the communication speed may be affected. For example, communication may be interrupted when passing through tunnels or remote areas.
Limited use for a short period of time
Since free Wi-Fi is a public resource, in order to allow more people to use it, communication may be interrupted for those who make large amounts of communication in a short period of time, such as downloading applications.
Pocket WiFi for those who want stable Wi-Fi on the Shinkansen
Although free WiFi is now available on the Shinkansen, it may be slow or the connection may be poor, which may be a problem if you need to access the Internet while traveling.
In such cases, we suggest using pocket WiFi. The speed and other stability are much better than free WiFi.
- Connect anywhere in Japan with unlimited WiFi
- No strings attached for 2 or 3 years
- Short-term contract available (from 1 month)
- Flexible extension of the contract period
- No troublesome initial setup
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