It's the stuff of dreams for most modern Tokyoites: Fukuoka, the largest city on the island of Kyushu and the seventh largest in Japan as a whole, is getting the country's 'biggest wifi street'. The entirely free service debuted on September 1, and is open to anyone using the downtown 'Chikagai' shopping area.
Sometimes nicknamed 'Tenchika' by the locals, the subterranean mall is a faux-Parisian promenade that runs beneath the Tenjin area of the city, stretching between the Tenjin and Tenjin-Minami subway stations, and it all turns 35 years old on September 10. To mark the occasion – and, possibly, to try and lure back customers who've had their heads turned by the new Amu Plaza shopping mall at Hakata Station – wifi users will be able to surf the net entirely for free. No sign up fees, no login requests, just pure, free wifi.
Now, if they could just see their way to installing some benches while they're at it, they might have a free wifi service that people actually want to sit and use...
Tenchika free wifi is now available in the Tenjin Chikagai from 5.30am to 12.30am daily
Since this article was written, it has been brought to our attention that a free wifi service launched in Shibuya last year called ConnectFree. The service is available from Shibuya Crossing and extends back as far as Shidax, taking in landmark shops such as Parco, Marui, Tower Records and Lumine. Unusually for so-called free wifi services in Tokyo, it is genuinely free to connect to, without the hassles of signing up for anything. Furthermore, anyone choosing to connect is able to make use of digital vouchers at the stores listed on the site.