YI 2

Yokohama, being Japan’s second-largest city, has a little something for everyone. Its romantic harbor is lined with parks and backed by a breathtaking skyline. History buffs can see numerous centuries-old structures inside Sankeien Garden. The Ramen Museum and Chinatown are great foodie destinations, and the Noge and Kannai districts are filled with enough cocktail bars and brewpubs give your liver a serious workout.

Unfortunately, many overseas travelers are unaware of all Yokohama has to offer, and skip right by the city on their way between Tokyo and Kyoto. In an effort to help get the word out on Yokohama’s numerous attractions, the city has teamed up with telecommunications giant NTT to provide free Internet access to foreign tourists.

Since July 19, Yokohama and NTT East Japan’s Kanagawa Division have been distributing ID/PASS cards to visitors from overseas which provide 14 days of free Wi-Fi access at selected points throughout the city.

The initiative is the result of a partnership formed last April to promote international tourism to Yokohama, which was in turn prompted by a survey done last year with foreign visitors to the city. When asked what would have made their stay more pleasant, their number one response was better information on the availability of free, public Wi-Fi.

▼ Sankeien Garden

YI 3

“Overseas travelers have a particularly strong need for this kind of service,” said Keiko Aoki, head of tourism promotions at the Yokohama Culture and Tourism Bureau. “We will be continuing to expand our efforts to provide tourists with the information they require.”

▼ Yokohama Ramen Museum

YI 5

An impressive 20,000 cards will be issued in the promotion’s initial batch. Travelers can pick one up at tourist information centers near major points of entry to the city such as Yokohama, Minato Mirai, and Shin Yokohama Stations, as well as the International Passenger Terminal at Osambashi Pier. Cards can also be obtained at attractions such as the Yokohama Doll Museum and Takashimaya department store.

▼ Access point sticker

YI 1

Cardholders can currently access the network at any of 536 locations, including Building 2 of the Akarenga Red Brick Warehouse shopping and dining complex and the waterfront Zo no Hana Park’s terrace. NTT’s planned expansion will bring coverage the Ramen Museum, Porta underground shopping center, and Yokohama City Air Terminal, with a target of 2,000 access points by April of 2014. The promotion is scheduled to run until March 31, 2016.

Source: Yokohama Keizai Shimbun
Top image: Yahoo! Japan
Insert images: Caffe Appassionato, Eve and Eve, NTT East