Wednesday
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Aug 2017

Free Wi-Fi reaches Mt. Fuji in Japan

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Tourists take a break at a mountain hut on their way to the summit of Mount Fuji - Getty Images Tourists take a break at a mountain hut on their way to the summit of Mount Fuji - Getty Images

Tokyo: Free Wi-Fi has reached a peak in Japan, the nation’s highest peak in fact. Overseas tourists conquering the summit of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain at 3,776 meters, can now use mobile devices to share their experience via social networking websites or, if so inclined, check their work emails.

Mobile carriers NTT Docomo Inc. and KDDI Corp. have both set up free Wi-Fi hotspots for foreign visitors at the highest spot in Japan. The services, launched last week, will be available until September when the climbing season ends.

Docomo’s service “is aimed at attracting more overseas visitors to Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures, home to Mount Fuji,” the company said in a statement.

Instructions for using the Docomo service are available on fliers at the mountain’s main climbing routes. The KDDI service requires the downloading of an app in advance.

Mt. Fuji is one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting over 285,000 people during the summer climbing season last year. In 2013, the volcano was placed on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage list. Depicted in famous ukiyo-e woodblock prints and referenced in countless literature, Mount Fuji is considered a symbol of Japan and has long been a site of worship.

Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile carrier, said Shizuoka and Yamanashi prefectures will distribute around 70,000 fliers containing information in English, Chinese and Korean on how to access the service.

Overseas visitors wanting to use the free KDDI service need to download the mobile provider’s Travel Japan Wi-Fi app.

Japan has been experiencing a tourism boom thanks to the weak yen and relaxation of visa requirements, but visitors have complained of limited internet connectivity, an issue that both the government and mobile carriers are working to address ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games.

- Alexander martin ( blogs.wsj.com) July 2015

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