Travelers to Japan who have noted a difficulty in finding a WiFi hotspot to connect to will soon be able to get free WiFi access just by showing off their passports. Mashable reports that NTT launched a new program to serve foreign tourists, allowing them to register for a WiFi card by presenting their passports at the airport. The new service provides free WiFi coverage through 45,000 hot spots across eastern Japan, which includes Tokyo, Hakone, Mt. Fuji, Yokohama, Nagano, and Hokkaido, among others. Travelers to Japan can also download an iOS or Android app called NAVITIME for Japan Travel, allowing them to pick up an ID and password ahead of time.
Although Japan is renowned for having some of the best customer service on the planet, for various reasons, including language and cultural hurdles, it isn’t known as the most tourist-friendly destination. Some of those hurdles also extend into the tech arena, namely, Wi-Fi. Although sidling up to a café in Europe or North America and grabbing a bit of free Wi-Fi for your mobile device is common, finding such wireless access in tech-centric Japan’s major cities remains notoriously difficult. But that’s about to change. A new program launched by NTT (Japan’s largest telecom), is designed to serve foreign tourists on the hunt for Wi-Fi. For those who haven’t traveled to Japan, the program might seem behind the times, but for anyone familiar with attempting to find Wi-Fi in Japan, this is huge news. (YouTube is littered with video commentary from frustrated travelers marveling at the lack of Wi-Fi access in such a technologically advanced country as Japan.)