Despite its image as a sleek, technologically advanced society, Japan really sucks when it comes to free wi-fi hotspots. In fact, when the Japan Tourism Agency surveyed tourists about difficulties traveling in the country, a lack of free Internet access was far and away the number one answer.

One major city has finally taken note and begun offering better connectivity for visitors. Osaka has just announced the launch of Osaka Free Wi-fi, a program that brings free wi-fi to locations throughout the city, as part of its effort to position itself as an international gateway to rival Tokyo.

Users only have to provide a valid email address to use the service, which is compatible with Apple, Android and Windows devices. Logging in will get you 30 minutes of free wi-fi and there is no limit on the number of times you can log in. However, some locations only offer a “lite” version of the service, which gives you 15 minutes of wi-fi for up to an hour per day.

Participants in the program include the Nankai, Kintetsu and Keihan railways, major tourist attractions, and a handful of hotels, shops and restaurants, all easily accessible for the average tourist. A complete list is available on the website. One assumes if the program proves popular, the number of available locations will also increase.

As frequent travelers will attest, the ease of internet access can make or break a trip, so kudos to Osaka for giving tourists another reason to love it!

*Edited: Title changed to reflect the fact that, as our savvy readers pointed out, Fukuoka and Kyoto have similar wi-fi programs in place, so Osaka wasn’t the first. But hopefully not the last!

Source and image: Osaka Government Tourism Bureau