Osaka creates first city-wide free Wi-Fi hotspots

Japan has its first city-wide Wi-Fi hotspot system, as Osaka responds to the nationwide series of complaints about a lack of free Wi-Fi.

Noting the results of surveys by the Japan Tourism Agency about criticism of the country for being technologically advanced but lacking Wi-Fi locations both around cities and in hotels, restaurants and tourism sites, Osaka has launched Osaka Free Wi-Fi, bringing free Wi-Fi to locations throughout the city.  Osaka tourism officials say the move will attract more visitors by offering what today’s society considers an essential public service.

To use the free Wi-Fi in Osaka, users must simply provide a valid email address for access.  The service is compatible with Apple, Android and Windows devices, allowing 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi.  Officials emphasize there’s no limit on the number of times users can log in to use the service, although they do note that a few locations initially will have only a ‘lite’ version of the service providing up to an hour’s connectivity each day in 15-minute increments.

Included in the Osaka program are the Nankai, Kintetsu and Keihan railways, major tourist attractions, and a number of hotels, restaurants and shops/stores.  Osaka tourism officials say all locations are easily accessed by the average Wi-Fi user.  A complete list of locations is on the website http://www.osaka-info.jp/en/wifi.