Whether you want to surf the internet for business or pleasure it is one of the things you will probably want to get set up as soon as possible. You will need to choose an ISP (Internet Service Provider), and what type of connection you would like to use.
Other than dial-up, ISDN connection, or wireless PC Cards (which are very expensive and slow), there are basically three ways to connect: ADSL, Cable, and Hikari Fibre.
ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) is similar to DSL in the US and is by far the most widely used service in Japan. ADSL is relatively cheap when compared with other services, and faster than both Dial-up and ISDN. ADSL services come in many speed offerings – from 1.5mb/s to the speedy 50mb/s.
How to Apply for ADSL
- Contact your provider and ask for an ADSL application form or use an online form.
- Choose your desired speed and send the application form back online, by fax, or regular mail. The provider will then send you a password and ID by post.
- The provider will send you a modem
- The provider will send you the date that your internet service will start. On that date you simply connect the modem to your PC, (see diagram below)
Note: this process usually takes about 2 weeks depending on the provider.
Initial fee to get ADSL
¥5,000 – ¥14,000
ADSL Internet package
¥4.000 – ¥8,000/month
Pros: Relatively cheap, speedy, with lots of different providers to choose from.
Cons: Very sensitive to noise, (static), resulting in inconsistent speeds. Connection can be confusing since there are multiple providers (ISPs and phone companies)
Note: Speeds varies slightly based on your proximity to a telephone exchange NTT Center (generally speaking the further away the slower).
Cable Internet service can be very fast depending on which network you are connected to. The speeds vary from 3mb to 30mb/s. Cable modems are great for streaming content, such as video or net-radio as they are quite stable. It can be cheaper if you buy a package with cable TV and internet bundled together. When having your cable internet installed you will need to specify which room or rooms you want to have connected for not all jacks in your apartment will necessarily be an internet connection unless requested.
How to Apply for Cable Internet
If your building is already wired for internet cable service, (most newer buildings are), getting the service is quite easy. You need only contact your local cable company, fill out an application, and wait for installation.
Note: If your building already has this service this process usually takes a few days to one week.
Initial fees to get cable internet
¥8,000 and up
Initial fee to get cable TV and internet
¥10,000 – ¥16,000
Cable internet package
¥3.500 – ¥6,000 /month
Cable internet and TV package
Pros: Somewhat speedy, more stable than ADSL, can be quite easy to apply for and offers packages with cable TV and internet at a slight discount.
Cons:Slightly more expensive than ADSL with less providers to choose from.
Fiber-optic or “Hikari-Fiber” as it’s known in Japan, is the current speed king. Having a fiber-optic system installed in your home will require that you contact your building owner, and a Hikari provider to see if your area has access to the service. Where as Dial-up, ADSL and Cable use existing lines, Hikari-Fiber is a relatively new system and one that has not been implemented widely. The fiber-optic network for this service is provided by TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company). One great benefit of using Hikari fiber is that your line will nearly always be stable. You can expect consistent transfer times, and incredibly fast loading times of up to 100mb/s on the internet.
How to Apply for Hikari-Fiber
Basically the setup process is very similar to ADSL and Cable but you will need to check with your building management and a provider first to see if this service is available in your building.
Note: Many of the newest buildings in central Tokyo already have this network and service available so getting setup is quite easy. If your building already has this service this process usually takes about one month to have installed.
Initial fees to get Hikari-Fiber
Up to approx. ¥30,000
Hikari-Fiber internet package
Approx. ¥3.000 – ¥5,000 /month
Hikari-Fiber internet and TV package
Approx. ¥7.000 – ¥10,000 /month
Pros: Fastest Speeds, and the most stable, depending on your distance from the trunk line. Thanks to recent campaigns this service has become as cheap or cheaper than ADSL and Cable and includes TV packages at discounted rates.
Cons: Unless your building is already “wired” with fiber-optic lines then this service is very difficult and expensive to have installed.
ADSL Internet Service Providers
Fusion GOL (English Site)
GOL is a fully bilingual internet service provider based in Tokyo with access throughout Japan.
Yahoo B.B. (English Site)
BBapply is an English application website for Yahoo!BB
Asahi Net Inc. (English Site)
ASAHI Net is a bilingual internet service provider based in Tokyo offering broadband connection throughout Japan.
AT&T,Japan (English Site)
OCN – Open Computer Network (English Site)
ODN (English Site)
NTT (English Site)
eAccess (English Site)
Cable Internet Providers
Minato Cable TV (English site)
0120-371-049 (Toll-Free in English)
ITS Communications(English site)
Setagaya-Ku, Shinagawa-Ku (part), Ota-Ku (part)
0120-109-199 (Toll-Free in Japanese)
Cable TV Shinagawa(Japanese only)
Ota Cable TV – Ota-Ku (part)(Japanese only)
JCOM (English site)
Fiber Optic Service Providers
Asahi Net Inc. (English site)
Au One Net (Japanese Site)
Fusion GOL (English site)
Usen Gyao Hikari (Japanese Site)