Free wifi in Tokyo can still be hard to find. Most first-time visitors are shocked at how scarce it is. After all, this is one of the world’s most modern cities, right? Here’s a quick list of free wifi cafes in Tokyo to make grabbing a cup of coffee and some online connectivity a little easier.
Tokyo has no shortage of great cafes, but free wifi isn’t as standard as you might be used to elsewhere, and it’s still pretty unusual to see Japanese people working from their laptops while out and about. As a tourist, your hotel/hostel will more than likely have wifi, and most Airbnb rooms come with it in a fixed or portable setup. The most reliable way to ensure connectivity on the move, though, is by buying a prepaid SIM card or renting a wifi router.
Finding free wifi while out exploring can be a trying experience if you don’t know where to look. Some neighborhoods and train stations do offer public wifi, but you can’t exactly pull out your laptop on the street … or can you? Assuming you would rather sit somewhere nice with a table and possibly even a plug socket, read on for tips on how to get connected while you get your caffeine hit.
Things to keep in mind before you set out:
- Charge before you go: Not all cafes have outlets, and some might frown upon charging your device—so try to charge before you go.
- Smoking happens: Smoking is still big in Japan, so be forewarned that you may encounter it in some of these cafes.
- Avoid peak hours: It goes without saying that Tokyo is crowded, which means that coffee shops can fill up on weekends and during lunch/dinner times. Try to avoid these times for a more relaxed experience. Mornings are the best time.
- Lone nomad: “Digital nomad” culture is still fairly unusual here, so don’t be surprised if you’re the only one breaking out your laptop.
- “Fake” wifi: Many coffee shops (e.g. Doutor) offer wifi that will only work if you have a contract with a certain domestic mobile carrier—indicated by DoCoMo, Softbank and similar wifi stickers on doors.
Useful Japanese phrases for wifi:
- Wifi arimasu ka? (Do you have wifi?)
- Pasokon o tsukatte mo ii desu ka? (Is it OK to use a laptop/computer?)
- Konsento arimasu ka? (Do you have outlets?)
List of free wifi cafes in Tokyo
This is not an exhaustive list of all the free wifi cafes in Tokyo—just a few of our favorite spots.
Downstairs Coffee – Mercedes Benz Connection
A reasonably priced cafe—surprisingly located on the ground floor of a Mercedes Benz dealership. It’s on Gaien Higashi Dori on the left if walking from Midtown towards Nogizaka Station. For wifi access, just ask the staff for a card and you’ll be online in no time.
Located in the same building as Liquidroom, this is a good alternative to the many Starbucks locations in Ebisu. The place has a bustling atmosphere with plenty of people and is popular for informal meetings, but early on in the day it can be quite peaceful. Drinks start from ¥500 and food from ¥550.
Shimokitazawa Tag Cafe
Tag has wifi and power sockets at every table, which is great if you’re planning to stay a while. The lunch sets are very reasonable at ¥850 and drinks start at ¥500. The tagline (see what we did there) is that you can play alone anytime, so they seem to encourage the laptop crowd rather than resent them, which is always nice.
There are certain times in the year that can make your visit to Tokyo less than idea.
Don’t turn up before noon and try to avoid the one annoying person in the place who lights up a cigarette.
Cafe Stay Happy
Run by a friendly English-speaking couple, this is a great place to get some work done in a relaxed and—yes—happy environment. There are hammocks, kotatsu and shared tables, so you’ll be spoilt for choice in finding your perfect working spot. The food options use organic veg and everything is sourced as locally as possible; prices start from ¥500 for drinks and ¥650 for food.”]
The “Sign” brand of coffee shops has three locations in Tokyo. It’s a chain, but it still has more local flavor than Starbucks, so is a good alternative. With early opening hours, this is a nice spot if you’re jetlagged or trying to work on international time zones (or just really want to Instagram stuff).
Station: Daikanyama | Address: Daikanyama Station Building, 19-4 Shibuya, Tokyo
Hours: Mon – Fri: 11am – 11pm, Weekends & Holidays: 9am – 11pm
Phone: 03-5474-5040 | Website (Japanese): http://www.transit-web.com/shop/sign-gotandar/
Alpha Beta Coffee Club
A third-generation coffee spot, this place was originally a subscription coffee service, and is now a subscription cafe. You can still go without a membership though, don’t worry. Designed as a cafe/workspace, there’s wifi, sockets and plenty of good desks, as well as impressively good coffee and craft beers too. There’s a terrace for the warmer days, and a nice calm atmosphere. Have a read about them here if you’re interested in becoming a member.
While it may seem counterintuitive to take your laptop to a book-themed cafe, this place is all about encouraging technology. There are iPads on every shelf and you can enjoy reading e-books as well as the real thing. This is handy if you’re traveling without technology, or you can just plug in your own and get going. Coffees start from ¥350 for an Americano and lunch sets are really reasonable at ¥900. Hamacho is an infrequently-visited area of Tokyo, east of Nihonbashi. There are some good old shops around here for those who like getting off the beaten track.
Address: 2-35-4 Nihonbashihamacho, Chuo, Tokyo
Hours: Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 9pm, Saturdays: 10am – 6pm | Closed Sundays
Phone: 03-5614-0241 | Website (Japanese): http://www.bookshelfcafe.jp/
Cafest is a pretty smart location and would be great if you needed to meet someone for a semi-formal meeting in town. They have regular tables and comfy chairs, with drip-coffee from ¥430 and food limited to a few sandwiches from ¥500, plus desserts. Ningyocho—”doll town”—is also a great old part of Tokyo with some excellent old shops for perusing pre- or post-work.
Station: Ningyocho | Address: 1-5-10 Nihonbashiningyocho, Chuo, Tokyo
Hours: Mon-Fri: 10am – 7pm, Sat – Sun: 11am – 6pm
Website (Japanese): http://www.cafest.net
Paper Back Cafe
Jimbocho is Tokyo’s old book town, so of course this cafe is located inside a bookshop. A great place to get distracted with coffee, books and Hokkaido cheesecake, it’s non-smoking too which is a great bonus. From ¥200 for a small black coffee, sandwiches from ¥380 and sets from ¥560, you cannot go wrong at this place.
Station: Jimbocho | Address: 1-17 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda, Tokyo
Hours: 10am – 6pm
Phone: 03-3291-5181 | Website (Japanese): http://www.tokyodo-web.co.jp/cafe/
Filled with swinging hammock chairs, offering power sockets, wifi and iPads as well as Twitter screens and famous souffle hotcakes, this place is pretty amazing. Aiming to create a space where geeks, foreigners and salaried workers can mix, it has everything covered and is a great place to work. Coffee starts at ¥380, tea at ¥300 and lunch starts at ¥900, with hotcakes from ¥980. Okachimachi is not far from Ueno, making this one of the only cafes on this list located in this key part of town.
Station: Suehirocho Station (4 min) or Okachimachi (7 min) | Address: 5-9-9 Higashiueno, Taito, Tokyo
Hours: 11.30am – 6pm (winter hours) | Closed Wednesdays
Phone: 03-6803-0502 | Website (Japanese): http://www.cafeasan.jp
Tokyo People’s Cafe
People’s Cafe is a community-based cafe where you can relax and take it slow. This is a great place to work during the day, and like many of these cafes, it can get lively in the evenings. There’s a decent food menu with dishes starting at ¥860 and coffee from ¥400. There’s also a dog menu if you’re looking to take a four-legged-friend to work for the day.
Station: Komazawa-Daigaku | Address: (B1F) 3-18-11 Kamiuma, Setagaya, Tokyo
Hours: 10am – 11pm
Phone: 03-5779-8564 | Website (Japanese): http://www.cafecompany.co.jp/brands/tokyopeoples/index.html
Niko and … Tokyo
This strangely named cafe on Meiji Dori between Meijijingu-mae and Shibuya Stations has free wifi and espresso-based coffees for ¥380. It’s also smoke-free and there are power outlets everywhere.
Go to Streamer first for the coffee and second for the wifi. Not that there’s anything wrong with the wifi, just that the coffee is excellent! There are four Tokyo locations, but the Harajuku one is pretty small, so not much good for working.
Station: Shibuya Address: 1-20-28 Shibuya, Tokyo
Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am – 6pm, Sat-Sun 10am – 6pm
TEL: 03-6427-3705 | Website: http://streamercoffee.com/
Lattest (sister cafe to Streamer) is a great place to get some work done. Standing desks, awesome coffee (try the ‘lattest’ espresso) and almost no one there in the mornings, so you get the entire wifi connection to yourself. Drinks start from ¥350 and the quality is high—they also do personalized latte art, so that’s nice.
Really good coffee by day, and cocktails by night! Fuglen Tokyo is (rightfully so) a popular coffee spot in central Tokyo, located in the quieter backstreets about 15 min walk from Shibuya Station. It’s actually closest to Yoyogi Koen Station though, and is a short walk from Yoyogi Park, if you want to combine a visit with a trip to the park.
While not our favorite option, this article would not be complete without a mention of Starbucks (or “Staba,” as it’s known here). Starbucks is ubiquitous in Tokyo, and it’s a good option in case you’re in need of a quick wifi fix. There’s one catch: you need to sign up before you go. You can’t just show up and log on. To sign up, you’ll need Internet. You can register here. After signing up, you’ll get an email with a confirmation link. Click to confirm and make sure you write down your username and password—you’ll need these to log on the next time you visit Starbucks.
Note: Shop details, including hours, prices and the availability of wifi, are subject to change.
This post was first published in January, 2014. Last updated in March, 2018.
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