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WIFI available, Tokyo, Japan FI

One of the worst things about world travel is that feeling of being held incommunicado. You have no phone, you have no wi-fi access, you have no way of getting in touch with anyone. And if you get lost…well, you won’t stay that way, but it sure won’t be fun trying to find your way back to familiar surroundings.

If you travel frequently, you already know that you don’t dare use your own phone beyond the direst of emergencies. Unfortunately, this also means that you can’t make or receive phone calls, use Google Maps to find places, coordinate meetings with acquaintances, or do any of the dozens of other useful things that have made our phones an indispensable part of our daily lives.

Y Mobile Phone Tokyo Japan

 

But what can you do? Wait until you return to the hotel to check your email? Not update Facebook with pictures of what you are eating? Leave notes with the concierge and plan ahead? Like some sort of pre-technological savage?

No way! Here at Enable Japan, we have put together this guide to help you keep you connected via cell and the internet to the rest of your life back home.

BUYING AND RENTING A PHONE IN TOKYO

Softbank Store Phone Wifi Tokyo Japan

Rental Phones (1 week or less): If you are coming to Tokyo for the short term, such as for a vacation or a business trip, renting a phone might be the way to go. By using one of the websites below, you can have a phone delivered to you at the airport, to your hotel, or any other place you might need one. Or, if you know where you are going, you can also pick up a rental at any of their convenient locations. Rates and phone types vary, so be sure to check out all of the options before deciding.

Softbank Phone Rental

Rentafone Japan

Pupuru

JAL ABC

Prepaid Phones (1 week to 30 days or more): If you are planning on staying in Tokyo for a longer period of time, a prepaid phone may turn out to be a less expensive than renting. Prepaid phones are purchased from vendors and then filled with credit (via a prepaid phone card), and can later be refilled at by purchasing additional prepaid cards from places such as kiosks and convenience stores. Prepaid phone vendors offer prepaid phones from ¥6,500 and up, depending on the phone, but it is possible to get no-frills models for as low as ¥2000.

Prepaid phone registration usually requires official Japanese documents (such as a residence card, health insurance card, Japanese driver’s license, etc.), so this option is best for people staying in Japan for a longer period. Some stores may be able to register you with just a hotel information and passport, so be sure to ask.

Softbank Mobile Prepaid Services

Au Prepaid Services

Pupuru Mobile Rental

Buying a Phone (1 year or more): For an extended stay, you will probably want a cell phone contract, which will allow you to buy a smart phone. Because of the duration of the contract, subscription plans are best for locals or people holding residence cards.

NTT Docomo New Subscriptions

Au How to Purchase an iPhone

Softbank Price Plans

WI-FI SERVICE IN TOKYO

Phone service is nice and all, but not everything can be done on a tiny phone screen. What about your computer or tablet?

Free Services

  • Reputable hotels usually provide free Wi-Fi services. Even better, the service extends out into the hotel’s lobby and coffee shop, which means that you won’t be stuck in your room while checking your email.
  • Major train stations (such as the Metro subway stations, the JR lines, and the Keikyu lines), buses, and convenience stores have free Wi-Fi connections that requires email registration when used for the first time. Although useful, you can’t completely rely on these networks—if there are a lot of people using the service, you may not be able to make or keep a connection.
  • Free WiFi Passport is a service provided by Softbank that allows travelers to use over 400,000 hot spots in Japan (mostly restaurant, cafe, and hotels) for up to two weeks. However, the service must be set up before you arrive in Japan. To do so, you must call *8180 with a phone that has a global roaming contract to get a password. With your phone number and password, you can connect to any network called “SSID .FREE_WI-FI_PASSPORT” for the duration of your trip.
Softbank Free Wifi Tokyo Japan

Free wi-fi Passport sign

Pocket Wi-Fi

Another common method of connecting to the Internet in Japan is by way of a Pocket Wi-Fi rental. A Pocket Wi-Fi device acts as a mobile modem that allows multiple devices to connect and is charged like a cell phone battery. A Pocket Wi-Fi device can be rented prior to your arrival in Japan, picked up at Narita or Haneda Airport, or delivered to your hotel or other location. Prices vary depending on the data plan.

In addition to the services offered under cell phones, the following providers also offer Pocket Wi-Fi devices–

Sakura Mobile

Japan Wireless

SIM Cards

If you need both phone and data services (typically for a smartphone or a cellular-connected tablet), you may want to consider renting a Japanese SIM card. Prepaid SIM cards can be bought at most large electronics stores, such as Bic Camera (Tokyo locations) and Yodobashi Camera (List of Tokyo locations at the bottom of this page),  or through one of the cell phone service providers listed above. The plans are offered in monthly increments, and vary in both cost and duration. You will likely have to change the setup on your phone or activate it from a Japanese phone, so be sure to ask the salesperson to help you set it up.

And there you have it! Now there is no reason for you to be out of touch or for you to stay lost (unintentionally). So fire up that Google Map, check out the Enable website to find someplace cool to go, and then call someone up and have them meet you there! Your (connected) adventure in Japan awaits!

March 4, 2016 0 comment
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Akihabara Electronics FI, Tokyo, Japan

Behind the bright lights and glamour of the main streets of Akihabara are a large number of tiny shops that sell specialty “junk.” These stores usually focus on one type of item,  but many have a thrift-store feel where they offer various random “junk.” Even if you aren’t one of those people who build or repair things, it’s amusing to wade through the Japanese kitsch to see entire stores dedicated to electrical wires or retro electronics or strange little key chain devices that you now suddenly can’t do without. One of my favorite stores was the light bulb shop (near the AKB48 café) that specialized in every kind of light bulb you can imagine.

Akihabara Tokyo Light Store

Light Store 2 Akihabara Tokyo
In this row of Akihabara Electronics junkyard shops, you can also buy used phones and laptops. So if you’re visiting Tokyo and something happens to your phone, a cheaper alternative might be to just visit Akihabara’s back streets and get a used iPhone (stores had a used iPhone 5 16gb priced at ¥17,800).

If you’re the kind of person that builds your own stuff, Akihabara Electronics stores on the backstreet is your best source for equipment. Here you can purchase inexpensive electric and electronic parts in order to repair your older items or to bring your mad-science projects to life. While one store might focus on electric parts, another might focus on light bulbs or radios. In addition to the electronic parts, the stores here seem to focus on various niche markets. I even found a store selling used Nintendo DS for ¥1000! I wonder if it works…and if it doesn’t maybe I can fix it with some of the parts I can buy here!

Nintendo DS Lite Akihabara Tokyo

Finding the back streets is not difficult. Simply follow a side street from the main road (Chuo Dori, away from the JR station) and follow the people into the alleys and between the buildings. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you feel like you’re in a flea market.

Akihabara Back Street Electronics Tokyo
I would recommend coming before night time, because you will need a good amount of time to look through all of the nick-knacks and doodads that crowd every part of Akihabara’s Junkyard Row.

STREET INFORMATION

Location: Akihabara. Take the Electric Town exit from the Akihabara JR station (either side). Cross the Chou Dori and go back a street or two.

Hours: Various. All stores are usually open by noon.

“Why Go?”: Replace your broken phone with a cheap substitute, buy some electronic parts, and discover weird little devices for yourself or to give as a gift.

February 25, 2016 0 comment
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Shopping in the busy district of Akihabara can be quite challenging.  There are a seemingly limitless number of electronics, specialty parts, anime, and figurine shops to sift through in your search of that perfect buy.  Luckily for many shoppers however, Akihabara offers a one-stop-shop type of solution for all of these categories.  That solution is Sofmap.
Sofmap stands six stories, filled with all types of things you’d imagine you would find in Tokyo’s “Electric Town”.  Entering the building, you are directed immediately to an escalator, which takes you to audiophile heaven; An entire floor dedicated almost entirely to earbuds and headphones.  Every brand, cable type, bass level, etc. imaginable can be found waiting to be tested and bought.  After perusing through all of the audio options, you can begin to make your way up through the rest of Sofmap.  Each floor focuses on its own unique aspect of electronics goods.  You will find floors dedicated to tablets and other mobile devices, computer parts, video games, figurines and other hobby items, as well as mobile device accessories.  Even more impressive are the floors dedicated to secondhand items in each of these categories.  Tablets line glass shelves, used collectible figurines are piled on tables and shelves, used computer parts are put on display, all at phenomenal discounted prices.
One thing is certain, you will spend plenty of time in Sofmap.  The selection is outstanding.  Within each category of electronic goods, there are numerous selections to be made.  In an impressive amount of different models, styles, colors, etc.  If you are ever interested in seeing all of the electronics that Tokyo has to offer, Sofmap is most definitely the place.  Even more convenient for any expats or visitors, the presence of English and Chinese speaking staff.  And lets not forget the fact that Sofmap is duty-free (tax-free.  Just be sure to present your passport.).
All in all, Sofmap offers everything great about Akihabara Electric Town in one great location.  While there is still so much to see in this wondrous district, Sofmap offers a great one-stop-shop experience for anyone and everyone.  Especially if the plethora of shop options in Akiba becomes too much.  Definitely a shop worth checking out.

You can see SOFMAP from the comfort of your very own Go Kart, while dressed as…well, something. You know you want to. And Voyagin can help you reserve that Go Kart and costume in Akihabara!

Address:4-1-1 Soto-Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
GPS:35.6940027, 139.75392693
Telephone:03-3253-1111

Opening Hours

Monday:10:00 – 21:00
Tuesday:10:00 – 21:00
Wednesday:10:00 – 21:00
Thursday:10:00 – 21:00
Friday:10:00 – 21:00
Saturday:11:00 – 21:00
Sunday:11:00 – 21:00
October 21, 2014 0 comment
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If you need anything electronic in the Tokyo area, forget the Radio Shack’s and Best Buy’s of your past. This is Japan and there is something on your horizon that is worlds above the electronic stores that you have experienced in the past. Introducing the Shinjuku flagship store of Yodobashi Camera where you will find anything and everything electronic, whether it be a major appliance or a cool new accessory for your smart phone. This electronic hotspot, located just off of Yasukuni-dori and just above JR’s Shinjuku station, will quickly be your go to location to keep that electronic spark in your life going strong.

This eight floor mega store (not counting their bonus basement floor) has a dizzying array of electronic goodies to satisfy the technology geek in all of us. Not only are the oddities of Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku fun to look at, Yodobashi Camera is also there to lend you a helping hand if you need one. If your Macbook, PC, or any other brand of computer or tablet is broken then there are several computer centers littered throughout Yodobashi Camera’s eight floors. Some of their diagnostic centers require an appointment to be made before you go, however, so be sure to give them a call before you bring your machine into Yodobashi Camera for a check up. If you have misplaced or damaged your power cord or some other necessary object, then Yodobashi Camera can hook you up with what you need.

Along with the practical, Yodobashi Camera is a great place to look at the wide array of playful electronics that Japan has to offer. Have you been looking for a new case for your smart phone for what seems like ages and simply have not been able to find exactly the right one? Have no fear upon entering Yodobashi Camera. No matter if you have an iPhone, Sony or Panasonic model, there is a whole half a floor of Yodobashi Camera dedicated to smart phone cases of all shapes and levels of simmer and shine as well as phone accessories for you to finally find that case you’ve been dreaming of. Yodobashi Camera also has a wide range of electronic items that apply to all aspects of your life. You can find state of the art water bottles and thermoses, various goods to make your camping more comfortable and luxurious, or even various kitchen appliances that you did not even knew existed or realized you needed until you saw it! Until that moment, you had not even thought of the existence of a UV chopstick cleaning device, but now that you mention it that might a smart thing to have.

Going to Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku is an experience in and of itself, whether you are heading over there out of necessity or curiosity. Either way, to complete your Tokyo trip, be sure to go to Yodobashi Camera and see why the world has labeled Japan as a technology capital of the world.

Address:1-11-1 Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
GPS:35.6938401, 139.70366001
Telephone:03 – 3346 – 1010
Web:http://www.yodobashi.com/ec/store/list/index.html

Opening Hours

Monday:9:30 – 22:00
Tuesday:9:30 – 22:00
Wednesday:9:30 – 22:00
Thursday:9:30 – 22:00
Friday:9:30 – 22:00
Saturday:9:30 – 22:00
Sunday:9:30 – 22:00
October 21, 2014 0 comment
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DISK UNION

The constant stream of pop idol bands and the ever growing influence of imported pop music and rap in Japan can get to be a little bit exhausting. Sometimes all that one needs for a little bit of music therapy is some good old fashioned tunes from the days of rock and roll, but this too can be hard to find at times. Good thing that there is an outlet for those old school hard rockers and new age hipsters in love with vintage vinyl records. Just head on over to Shinjuku along Yasukuni-dori to the vintage vinyl and CD heaven of Disk Union, just a short walk from JR’s Shinjuku station. There you can find just the right beat or riff that suits your individual music tastes.

The outside of Disk Union may be a little understated but do not be fooled by their cover. The inside of Disk Union is a seven floor (without including the basement floor) mecca for any kind of music genre and band that you can dream up. If you have heard it before on the radio, internet, or music streaming website then you can probably find that exact record at Disk Union as well as something new to take home and experience. Each floor of Disk Union is dedicated to a different genre or type of music accessory. For example, the entirety of the first floor is dedicated to rock music, in both vinyl and CD form. The basement floor is dedicated to Japanese rock and roll if you love that genre but are looking for something new to add to your iPod (or practice your Japanese a little bit while listening to music at the same time). What is a unique and fantastic aspect of Disk Union is that not only do they sell the vinyl for you to collect and cherish, they also sell the accessories in order to fully enjoy your vintage vinyl purchase! If you need a new needle for your record player, they have it and even if you need the full monty in order to listen to your new vinyl you can buy it right then and there at Disk Union.

Disk Union is not just well versed in the golden oldies. They also have floors dedicated to Hip Hop and R&B as well as another floor filled with House, Techno, and Trance records and CDs. If you love the underground rave scene or have a thing for going to Grateful Dead revival concerts, you will be able to satisfy your music tastes.

If you are ever in the Shinjuku area, be sure to make Disk Union one of your stops for seven floors of ultimate music variety.

Address:3-31-4 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
GPS:35.6926559, 139.7040412
Telephone:03 – 3352 – 2691
Web:http://diskunion.net/shop/ct/shinjuku_club

Opening Hours

Monday:11:00 – 21:00
Tuesday:11:00 – 21:00
Wednesday:11:00 – 21:00
Thursday:11:00 – 21:00
Friday:11:00 – 21:00
Saturday:11:00 – 21:00
Sunday:11:00 – 20:00
October 21, 2014 0 comment
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HYPER MARKET

One of the countless iPhone/iPad owners in Tokyo?  Then within the plethora of shops the streets of the world famous Omotesando lies just the store for you.  Located along one of the main roads perpendicular to Omotesando, Hyper Market carries an incredible selection of apple accessories.  Focusing primarily on cases, this specialty shop has something for every type of iPhone/iPad owner.  Bedazzled cases, football (soccer) cases, Disney cases, waterproof cases, utility cases, lens cases, and much much more.  If there is one thing Tokyo does right, it’s fun and quirky.  That’s exactly what you can expect to find while perusing the shelves of Hyper Market.

Not interested in cases?  Don’t worry, the concept shop also offers alternative accessories.  This includes items such as; arm bands for work outs, themed portable battery packs, water resistant pouches, phone chains, and stickers to name a few.

Opening its doors to Tokyo early in 2014, Hyper Market has carefully selected each of the designs for each of its cases in order to provide customers with the best and most extensive selection of quality cases and accessories.  The shop is constantly keeping up with the latest trends, cycling out older or more out of date merchandise for the next “in” thing.  Whether you are a die hard sports fan, a trendy fashionista, or a die hard Disney fan, Hyper Market is sure to cater to everyone’s needs.

Address:6-5-6, Jinguumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
GPS:35.6678127, 139.70516699999996
Telephone:03-5766-8630

Opening Hours

Monday:10:00 – 20:00
Tuesday:10:00 – 20:00
Wednesday:10:00 – 20:00
Thursday:10:00 – 20:00
Friday:10:00 – 20:00
Saturday:10:00 – 20:00
Sunday:10:00 – 20:00
October 21, 2014 0 comment
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SUPER POTATO

Nowadays gaming stores seem to fall into a very specific mold. New and used games scattered along the walls with a few classic gems showcased in glass counters. Super Potato looks to break that mold. Perhaps one of the most retro gaming store in Japan, which is saying a lot considering Japan’s role in the industry, Super Potato offers its customers an incredible and historical journey through video game history.

The retro gaming store is located in Japan’s electonics/anime district, Akihabara. Hidden away among the plethora of shops in the area, Super Potato stands only three stories tall. But its not the size of the store that matters. Its whats inside that attracts gamer’s from all over the world to its doors. Hosting perhaps the most extensive collection of video games in Japan, Super Potato’s first and second floors are riddled with games from every system imaginable: Ranging from systems such as the original PlayStation, Sega Saturn, the PCE, and many more.

But the real attraction here is the extensive collection of Famicom games. Rows upon rows of these small pieces of video game history line the shelves of Super Potato. Even more impressive are the stacks of classic Famicom (along with many others) systems sitting, just waiting to be sold.

If the extensive collection of retro games becomes too overwhelming, customers can take a quick break from shopping and visit Super Potato’s third floor retro arcade. Locals often can be found winding down after a long day with one of the many classic games hosted by this impressive arcade.

If you are a gamer, know a gamer, or just simply want to check out a piece of Japanese history, Super Potato has got you covered. It’s definitely worth visiting what many consider to be a gaming museum, hosting many of the games which helped to create the multi-billion dollar gaming industry that exists today.

Photo credit: Super Potato by Antonio Tajuelo

Address:1-11-2 Sotokanda Chiyoda, Tokyo
GPS:35.6992743, 139.7710985
Telephone:03-5289-9933

Opening Hours

Monday:11:00 – 20:00
Tuesday:11:00 – 20:00
Wednesday:11:00 – 20:00
Thursday:11:00 – 20:00
Friday:11:00 – 20:00
Saturday:10:00 – 20:00
Sunday:10:00 – 20:00
October 21, 2014 0 comment
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LAOX

Description

Standing tall at 7 stories high, LAOX is a Chinese-owned Duty Free Shop (tax-free shop) within Akihabara that specializes in selling…everything, and for excellent prices! These shops particularly cater to tourists as the prices are cheap, and many useful items are sold (such as cameras, computers, suitcases, bags, watches, medicine, and countless other items).

The great thing about LAOX is that it is extremely foreigner-friendly. The staff at this store, from what I could tell, was composed of English, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese speakers. But anyone from any country can find help in this Duty Free Shop, you only need to ask.

Outside of household and vacation necessities, LAOX carries an ample amount of souvenirs – from wall scrolls to kimonos (traditional Japanese clothing) to oriental fans… and the list goes on.

If you’re looking for “some place that sells everything”, then LAOX is just the right store for you to visit. Check it out!

Address:東京都千代田区外神田1-2-9
GPS:35.6980166, 139.770944
Telephone:03-3253-7111
Web:http://www.laox.co.jp

Opening Hours

Monday:10:00 – 19:00
Tuesday:10:00 – 19:00
Wednesday:10:00 – 19:00
Thursday:10:00 – 19:00
Friday:10:00 – 19:00
Saturday:10:00 – 19:00
Sunday:10:00 – 19:00
October 21, 2014 0 comment
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LAMMTRA ELECTRONIC WORLD AKIBA

Description

If anyone has been to Akihabara, they can surely tell you that they have visited Lammtarra! Lammtarra is a all in one store in a sense that it sells all sorts of goods ranging from anime figurines, games, anime DVDs, Blu-ray collections, anime accessories, electronics, and more.

The store is located in the middle of the busiest areas of Akihabara, next to other huge anime shops such as animate and big electronic stores such as Traders. It is a hot spot for gamers and anime enthusiast a like! Lammtarra has several floors, each floor showcasing a different selection of goods. For example, on the first floor has all the video games and latest anime releases. So each floor specializes on different goods. As most people are aware, the most popular items can be found in the first and second floor of the store. Lammtarra also has items displayed outside its store. Usually, the items that are displayed outside are prices at a discount due to varies reason (old models, promotions, etc).

Another special thing about Lammtarra is that it has events held from time to time (specific event information can be found on Lammtarra’s official website listed above*). The events will vary due to the fact that Lammtarra sells different items. Some of the events are for adults only, so please make sure the age group the event is for*

Address:外神田4-3-2 Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0021, Japan
GPS:35.7003388, 139.77198709999993
Telephone:+81 3-5209-4088
Web:https://www.lammtarrashop.com/lam_catalog/catalog/default.php
October 21, 2014 0 comment
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G-CLUB GUITAR SHOP

G-Club Guitar Shibuya Tokyo Japan

Are you ready to rock? If so, then get on over to G’ Club Shibuya and pick up your next guitar! With great organization and a vast selection of bass, acoustic, and electric guitars, G’ Club will get you ready to busk it, burn it down, or break out a Barry White croon for that special someone.

G’ Club only sells top-notch guitars, and the prices ensure that only a dedicated strummer will come out of the shop with a new axe in hand. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and conversant enough in English to answer your guitar-related questions. So come on by, check out the array of professionally-signed guitars (some of which you can buy), and test out a guitar or two! And who knows? Maybe the next guitar on the wall will be your own.

G-Club Guitar Shibuya Tokyo Japan

G’ CLUB SHIBUYA STORE INFORMATION

Website (via Google Translate)

Nearest Station: 5-minute walk from Shibuya Station Hachiko exit.

 

Hours of Operation: 11:30 am to 8:30 pm daily.

“Why Go?”: Didn’t you say you were ready to rock?

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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