Best options for internet access, SIM cards, data plans, mobile routers and WiFi in Tokyo

Internet is everything. If I could do a virtual tour of Japan I would have done so.

OK you clearly need more than just an iffy solution. There are a few options for being almost permanently connected to the grid and the matrix.

Rental smartphones

Basically you rent an entire phone, use it and try not to lose it.

Mobile Wi-Fi / Pocket Wi-Fi

This requires you to carry (and charge) and additional device. Recommended for group travels since multiple devices can use the access point.

Rental and prepaid SIM cards

Allows you to use your own phone. Tethering is often disallowed so consider a Mobile Wi-Fi if you wish to use the internet on multiple devices. Do check that the SIM sizes available (nano, micro, etc) are appropriate for your phone.

Summary of existing solutions (as of March 2016):

 Company Type  Price (yen) Limitation More info
Table compiled by
Softbank Rental SIM 970 / day Unlimited data. Call rates apply. link
Mobile Wi-Fi rental 970 / day Unlimited data. Data only.
Rental phone 260 / day Calls only. Call rates apply.
NINJA Wifi Mobile Wi-Fi rental 900 / day Unlimited data. Data only. link

For our readers, click here to get 15% off!

800 / day 1 GB per day. Data only.
Handy. A mini tablet with the internet, a Japan city guide, and coupons. 1200 / day 5 GB per day. Data only.
b-mobile Prepaid SIM 2380 / 14 days Unlimited data. Data only. link
4990 / 14 days 3 GB. Data only.
 9980 / 7 days 3 GB. 60 mins (int’l and local calls)
Yokoso SIM Prepaid SIM ~25 USD / 30 days 4 GB. Data only. link
 ~20 USD / 15 days 3.5 GB. Data only
~ 17 USD / 8 days 3 GB. Data only
Table compiled by
 IIJmio  Prepaid SIM 3790 / 90 days 2 GB. Data only. Can be charged with more data credit. link
 2900 / 30 days 1 GB. Can be charged with more data credit.
NTT Prepaid SIM 3218 / 7 days 100 MB / day. Data only link
3780 / 14 days
JAL ABC Mobile Wi-Fi rental  1290 / day Unlimited data. Data only. link
 USB dongle 980 / day  Unlimited data. Data only.
Pupuru Mobile Wi-Fi rental 700 / day Unlimited data. Data only link
900 / day Unlimited wider coverage data. Data only.

Other sites to consider:

Most of these solutions can be found at the airports but you may find better deals if you head to Akihabara or even do the purchasing online before you arrive in Japan.