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Products Travel Gear

Where do I find a cover for my JR Pass

Where do you find a Japan Rail Pass cover? You’ve travelled to Japan, you’ve exchanged your voucher and there you are, carrying your brand new Japan Rail Pass. Thinking: Where am I going to keep this thing?

The Japan Rail Pass has a rather inconvenient size so it doesn’t really fit into anything you have. The pass is 15,5 x 10 cm, also known as the “A6” format. It doesn’t easily fit into your pocket. It doesn’t fit into a standard passport cover. It doesn’t quite fit into the cheap passport covers you can hang from your neck. Or it does – just about – fit, but so tight that it will get damaged during your trip. And maybe you want to keep your lovely JR Pass as a souvenir. When you are travelling by train, you need to be able to show it to the guards when you go through the Shinkansen gates. So you need to have it where you can get to it easily. With your trolley bag or your pack on your back or in your hands, you’d prefer to hang it around your neck. You’d think the vendors of the Japan Rail Pass would grab this chance to close this gap in the market. But they don’t. None of them offer any kind of solution.

JR Rail Pass cover from Daiso

Daiso A6 JR Rail Pass hoesje

You can buy A6 format plastic covers for conference badges on eBay and from stationary shops. But they often only supply in large quantities, so that’s no option. But on the website JPrail.com I found a tip for an A6 cover you can buy for 100 yen from Daiso in Japan. Daiso is a store you’ll find all over Japan. You can buy 1001 things from them, for the small price of 100 Yen (0.80 euro). They are what is known in England as a pound shop, but they’re the uncrowned king of pound shops, they’re next level. They have a lot of very useful covers, clear sheets and gadget cases. For photographers and gadget lovers, Daiso has great and cheap neoprene covers for your gear.

Where to find a Daiso store

Daiso Logo

You’ll find Daiso stores all over Japan, in many cities and in between. Their pink and white logo is easily recognisable, often using ‘our’ alphabet to spell their brand name. Find a bigger store. The smaller ones such as the well known one on Takashitadori (Harajuku) do not have the office supplies you are looking for. You’ll find bigger Daiso stores at the Funabashi and Kinshicho stations in Tokyo, and at Decks in Odaiba.

For your Japan Rail Pass cover you need to go to the office supplies and find their “insurance card and pocketbook medicine cover with sticker stopper” among their plastic covers. It’s a long name for an A6 format sleeve that has a number of pockets. At the top of the cover you’ll find a hole to fit a lanyard through. That way, you can hang it around your neck. Problem solved! And if you don’t have a lanyard… No worries, Daiso sells them too.

Japan Rail Pass hoesje en lanyard

Good luck finding this nifty cover for your  JR Rail Pass. And don’t put too many things into your Daiso shopping basket or you’ll end up having to buy an extra bag…

Categories
Tips Travel Gear

Renting a pocket wifi in Japan

In my article “My seven tips for your first trip to Japan“, renting a 4G – LTE pocket wifi also known as portable wifi came in second place. It is one of the most practical things you can do before you embark on your journey. I usually order one the same time I order my JR Pass.

Some people opt to buy a sim card, but I always rent a pocket wifi because you can connect multiple devices to it. Your own mobile phone and laptop and your travel buddies’ devices.

What is a pocket wifi

A pocket wifi, MiFi or portable wifi router is like your internet hub at home, but portable. It contains a sim card and creates a private network that can connect up to 10 devices concurrently. They are super convenient and easy to work with. Connecting to them is just like connecting to your own or public wifi network. The connection can be very fast: 4G/LTE. The batteries of recent models of pocket wifi devices lasts about 10 hours.

Why rent one

Apart from being able to connect multiple devices at the same time, a pocket wifi is convenient because it can be difficult to find a free, open wifi network in Japan. You’ll find some, but logging on to them can be complicated – often you are required to hand over your email address. Some Shinkansen trains now offer wifi, but local trains don’t.

What does renting a pocket wifi in Japan cost

Take care choosing your vendor. Prices vary. Sometimes you are charged per day at around 70 euros for 2 weeks, but some companies charge double that amount. There are various different types of plans with different speeds, coverage and data limits. Compare before you choose.

How do I order one for Japan

Some travel agents can arrange your device for you, and you can order one while booking your JR Pass from some vendors. I have been using the services of Japan-Wireless for the last four years. They provide 4G – LTE, unlimited data and (a maximum of) 187Mbps speed. Fill in their form, you’ll receive email confirmation and instructions.

Delivery

Japan-Wireless has various options for delivery. I’ve made use of two of them and they have never failed me. You can have your order delivered to your hotel. They’ll make sure it’s there the day before you arrive.

Tip: It’s a good idea to let your hotel know in advance that a package will be arriving in your name.

Or you can have it delivered to the post office at the airport you’re arriving at. At Narita, the post office is easy to find: from the arrivals hall take the elevator to the 4th floor. Staff at the post office will hand you your package without fault. The envelope looks like this:

Envelope containing pocket wifi, ordered in Japan and delivered to your hotel room

What do you get when you rent a pocket wifi

In the envelop you’ll find:

  • a case containing:
    • your pocket wifi device
    • a power bank
    • USB cable and AC adapter (plug-in)
    • instructions
  • a stamped and addressed envelop

The device is about as big as a packet of cigarettes and will easily fit on your pocket. It will arrive pre-charged. Using the pocket wifi is a matter of switching it on and connecting to it with your device (mobile phone, tablet, laptop). In your device’s wifi settings choose your pocket wifi’s network. It’s name is listed on a sticker on the device (“SSID”).

LTE pocket wifi

Problems with your device

I’ve never had any problems. These newer 4G – LTE versions are super fast, sometimes faster than the connection I have at home. You can easily download large files. The great thing about 4G in Japan is the connectivity: even on the fast bullet trains, the connection is almost continuous. It may drop while you’re going through tunnels, but unlike in Europe where providers tell tall tales about trains going too fast for them to be able to guarantee network coverage, in Japan telecom companies don’t seem to have that problem.

If you use the device for extended periods, sometimes your pocket wifi will fail, and you’ll have to reset it. The instructions on how to do that are in the package you received, at least that’s what japan-wireless does.

Because I make a lot of use of the internet when I travel, after a while I’ll get a message on the screen (in Japanese) that I’ve used too much data, but that’s never had any consequences. The connection does not get any slower and I’ve never been charged any extra fees.

Order your pocket wifi
After clicking this link you will land on the Japan-Wireless.com website. This is not a sponsored link. For now.