Japan is well-known for its unique hospitality culture, which partially stems from the concept of “ichigo-ichie” (lit. “one time, one meeting”), the tea master’s philosophy that every encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime moment to be cherished.

Now, Japan is flexing its hospitality muscles in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by rolling out new services and products to help visitors and reduce the stress that comes with travelling in a country where things can sometimes get lost in translation. The latest display of impressive hospitality comes from Saitama City, where the city council is offering free SIM cards to its foreign visitors.

Saitama City, located just 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) north of central Tokyo, is offering the service to help foreign visitors in the area. Free local Wi-Fi hotspots aren’t as readily available as they are in the nation’s capital, so the city decided to hand out free SIM cards to help visitors connect to the local network, a valuable portal of information for foreign tourists.

▼ The free SIM cards can be used in tablets and smartphones, providing three gigabytes of data (internet only), to be used within 30 days.


To take advantage of the free offer, either visit Saitama in a tour group or simply stay at one of the following hotels below. To save you getting out your magnifying glass, the participating hotels are: Hotel New Saitama, Palace Hotel Omiya, Rafre Saitama, Urawa Royal Pines Hotel and Uraya Washington Hotel.


But that’s not all! You’ll also receive an original Saitama City postcard for free, packed with information on local gourmet delights and sightseeing spots.


With only limited numbers of SIM cards available, the city plans to use feedback from visitors to decide whether to continue the promotion with increased quantities in the future. If you know someone arriving at Narita or Haneda Airport, you might want to suggest they spend a night at Saitama to get a free SIM card to enjoy for the rest of their stay!

Source: Hachima Kikou
Top image: Saitama City
Insert images: Saitama Tourism and International Relations Bureau, Saitama City