Setting up Internet in your Tokyo Apartment / ISPs with English support

Modern life without the internet is like no life at all.  🙂   It’s one of the things we recommend you set up, as soon as you pass your apartment screening.  Setting up internet in Tokyo, can take anywhere from 2-4+ weeks, so this really is a step we highly recommend acting quickly on. This article will help you understand the basics of what types of internet are available and the providers with English support.


Types of internet services in Tokyo

There are three main types of internet services available: Cable, Fiber-optic (Hikari), and ADSL.

Cable  runs through your cable TV line.

Fiber optic (known as Hikari in Japan) is the fastest and most common with newer apartments.

ADSL runs through a landline with a fast connection, quick installation, but slower speed than fiber optic – may not be the best if you stream lots of HD video.


Apartment Buildings with Pre-Existing Internet Contracts

Some buildings have contracts already in place for the entire building and require you to use their contracted company. We will inform you of which internet types are possible/available for your building. Buildings with pre-existing internet contracts are usually to your benefit, because having a contract for more than one unit in a building typically comes at a good value.


Un-bundled internet?

You might have read that internet here comes un-bundled, meaning you will need a hardware company to set up the lines and then an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to run your internet. You can contact them separately, but most of the ISP companies these days will hire an internet hardware company for you.

So the easiest step is to contact the ISP first. If your apartment building already has this setup, you won’t need to worry about it.


Mobile Phone Company Bundles

The easiest option for many expats is to make a contract deal with their mobile phone carrier. Most phone companies will have a package deal for both internet and phone service (au, Softbank, docomo, etc.) and will offer you a plan when you get your phone set up. The benefit of going with your phone provider is simply convenience and some savings, as well as getting only one bill for both phone and internet service.


Japanese ISPs with English Support

We get asked quite often about Sonet’s 2GB (Nuro), which is the fastest service around. Although this sounds enticing, it’s impossible to set up without high Japanese ability, and get ready to wait about two months before you can even use it!

We recommend these ISP companies that have English support and also take less time to get set up. We also recommend going with Fiber-optic (Hikari) – if you can (if apartment supports it)- as it is the most widely used, fastest, and best value.


1) Asahi Net (fiber optic)


fiber optic up to 1 GB


2) Assist Solutions (fiber optic)


fiber optic up to 1 GB – Assist Solutions also can work with cable internet through their partners, so if you contact them, they will be able to find you suitable internet service, regardless of where you live. They are known for their robust service and solid English support.


3) Rakuten Broadband (ADSL)


ADSL w/ IP phone up to 47 Mbps or Fiber optic w/ IP phone up to 1 GB


4) SpinNet (ADSL)


ADSL up to 47 Mbps or fiber optic up to 1 GB


5) SoftBank Air (pocket wi-fi)


Pocket wi-fi up to 481 Mbps


6) JCOM (cable internet)


Cable up to 1 GB (initial call is in Japanese and then they will return your call with an English speaking representative)


7) iTSCOM (cable internet)


Cable up to 1 GB (initial call is in Japanese and then they will return your call with an English speaking representative)


7) Mobile Phone Carrier Bundle

(check with your carrier)



Give Them A Call

For the above internet service providers, it’s best to give them a call and compare prices for your apartment (costs can change depending on location and building type). If many units in your building are using the same ISP, the pricing can be cheaper (If you feel up to it, ask your neighbors what ISP they are using).


Contract Lengths and Saving on Costs

Internet contracts in Tokyo can be from 1 year, 2 years, or 2.5 years. You can ask about shorter contracts, but they will cost more. The longer contracts don’t seem to make much difference in pricing, but there are often deals for signing up to longer contracts. Make sure to also ask about cancellation fees, as these can be high if not canceled within the contract agreement period.

The main way to save money on setting up your internet, is if a company is doing a campaign where they might waiver the One Time Set-Up fee, or sometimes if you are fortunate, they might be doing a cashback promotion. Again, another great reason to give them a call- ask about promotions.

If playing the ‘Let’s Make A Deal’ game doesn’t appeal to you, signing up with your mobile phone carrier is the easiest and possibly least stressful option.


Pocket Wi-Fi internet

Another great alternative for internet are pocket wi-fi services, such as Softbank Air.  All you need to do is plug in the pocket wi-fi, and you are ready to go. Apply online or by phone, and they will send you the Softbank Air. This is the easiest option, but it does come with higher price overall –device cost, high cancellation fees, etc., and possibly lower speed depending on your location and from high usage during peak hours.

Japan Web Magazine did a nice article on pocket wi-fi options–


May you have smooth and speedy internet! 🙂

Once you know which internet type is available in your building and what works best for you, all you need to do is contact the ISP’s above and choose which one will best suit you. The faster you want the internet available in your home, the sooner you should contact them. In busy seasons it can take much longer to set up- possibly six weeks!

May your internet setup be smooth, and internet speeds blazing. You are beginning to see the finish line of getting a home set up in Tokyo- and the start line to where this new daily journey begins! 🙂


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