Sometimes you will need internet / data plan when you traveling (especially those who still need to read map and communicate with people during the trip). Is there lot of free WiFi in Japan? Yes they have in public places, but once you travel to the remote places, nope. Thinking to buy the prepaid SIM card in Japan? It is indeed possible to buy a data-only SIM card in Japan, even if you’re on a tourist visa. You can also rent voice/data SIM cards, cell phones and pocket WiFi options that will meet your needs. The key, as always, is choosing the best-value option for your needs.
How I did last time : buy the SIM Card (data plan only, no voice… I think NTT Docomo brand) from the travel agent in Indonesia – should be available in the travel agents from your country too (because one of my travel mate come from Indonesia to Singapore before we go to Japan) for around SGD35 which give you unlimited use for 15 days (4G speed – for the first 100MB usage per day). This SIM card will be active once you’re in Japan. I put it in my phone and let my group tethering whenever they need to. It’s convenience for us because we won’t have to arrange collection of the pocket WiFi / phone / SIM Card in Japan (just activate it straight away, voila~ no need to worry where is the rental office, are they still open or closed when you reach Japan, bla bla bla), you don’t have to return it again, you don’t have to charge the battery of another device every night (just your phone as always, camera, and that’s all!), and the cost shared with your group (LOL).
The other options using pocket WiFi or rent the phone actually almost the same cost. You can always consider which one suit your needs. But if you just stay in Tokyo / Osaka, not so much traveling to many cities, I don’t think you will need data plan so bad. Almost all hostel and hotel in Japan provide free WiFi (please check before you book your hotel 😀 ), just make sure you research for the next day when you’re in the hotel 🙂
Since I never tried the pocket WiFi / rent the phone in Japan, I can’t say which one recommended if you want to take that option. You can check the review from the provider website and compare the price first 🙂