Japan Sim Cards in 2023
All the reasons why tourists love Japan would make a long and detailed list. From religion to art, architecture to history, beaches to mountains, and rivers to food, this lively country seems to have everything for everyone. The entire country is packed to the brim with the most fascinating and picturesque places that tourists love to visit. Expectedly then, it’s no surprise that millions of tourists from all over the world visit Japan every year. While you take a stroll in the historic streets in Japan, don’t forget to buy the Japan sim card for tourists.
Why Do You Need to Buy a Sim Card in Japan?
It’s no secret that sim cards hold paramount importance for travelers. In this technology-driven era, sim cards have become quite ubiquitous. Since you are away from home and you want to stay in touch with your loved ones overseas, a sim card is more important to you than ever before.
Needless to say that if you don’t have a sim card while traveling to other countries, you won’t be able to place phone calls, use mobile data, or send text messages unless you have wifi, of course.
If you are planning to visit Japan, consider buying a sim card. Your trip to Japan can get a lot easier by staying connected to the internet. Whether you need to translate a menu or check a train timetable, you would always require the internet
Types of Sim Cards for Tourists:
Like most countries, you get two options to choose from when traveling to Japan. You can either buy a local sim card or an international sim card. Let’s delve further and see what they have to offer.
International Sim Card:
As the name suggests, an international sim card is a special kind of sim card that you can use all over the world. With an international sim card, you can easily switch to a new number. It’s programmed in such a way that when you travel to another country, it will generate a local number for you, offering you a seamless communicating experience. Like traditional sim cards, the incoming calls and text messages on this sim card are usually free.
As far as safety is concerned, you can rest assured knowing that it’s as safe as local sim cards. Like local sim cards, they come with all the features to ensure safety, like location area identity, and PIN code. If you happen to be an avid traveler who gets to travel a lot, you can’t go wrong with the international sim card.
Local Sim Card:
As opposed to the international sim card, the local sim card is the one which you can use in a specific country only. It allows you to make phone calls, send text messages, and perform other day-to-day functions within a specific country. No matter whether you are on a short trip or plan to live in Japan for an extended period, you can always benefit from the local japan sim card. These sim cards tend to be cheaper than their international counterparts.
eSIMS in Japan:
eSIMS are a new cool and have scored massive popularity in recent times, and for good reasons. You no longer need to use a physical sim on your phone. It goes without saying that the tiny size of physical sim cards means that you can lose them quite easily and you’d be at your wits’ end while finding them. An eSIM saves you from the headaches of losing your sim card.
Like traditional sims, there are two kinds of eSIMS. The global eSIMS could be used worldwide, whereas the domestic carrier eSIMS tend to be specific to the country. As things stand, domestic carrier eSIMS are not available for tourists planning short trips. They are available for long-term contracts only, which might turn out to be a bit pricey for tourists.
For students who intend to stay in Japan for an extended period, buying the domestic carrier eSIMS might be a great option, but for a tourist who is in Japan for a few weeks only, those packages can cost an arm and a leg.
Do Hotels in Japan Have WiFi?
Although WiFi is common in Japan in hotels, offices, guesthouses, coffee shops, etc, it might not be available everywhere. so it is mandatory to have your own internet connection. Getting a hold of a local SIM can give you a simpler and less stressful experience especially if you are in smaller towns.
It is not really difficult to buy a local SIM in Japan but you might find yourself scratching your head since there are dozens of vendors and a few unusual quirks in the process. Japan is loosening up about SIM cards. You can either get them online or over the counter as soon as you are in Tokyo.
Things to Know Before Buying a SIM Card:
It is best to buy a SIM card that meets all of your needs for your trip to Japan. You must consider the following factors before making a choice:
- The tenure of your stay in Japan
- The usage of data allowance
- The frequency of data usage
- Do you need SMS and voice services or only data?
The data plans that sync with Skype or WhatsApp are usually more suitable for visitors. You can get a Skype number and make communication possible with the people you love.
Now you might be wondering whether 3G and 4G networks are available in Japan or not. Well, it turns out that you can easily use the 3G and 4G networks in Japan. If you have an old phone that cannot withstand those speeds, consider buying a traveler’s phone.
To get a voice-enabled SIM card in Japan, there is an alien registration process that has to be completed. This offer is not available for tourists as it only applies to people residing in the country. However, if you are a student and you have a temporary visa, you can register yourself and get benefited. There is a downside to the tourist visa that it lasts for only 90 days.
Where to Get a Japan SIM Card for Tourists?
Here are a few places to buy sim cards in Japan.
Buying SIM Cards at Tokyo’s Airports:
An airport is a convenient place to buy a SIM card in Japan. There are sales points at Narita and Haneda airports of Tokyo where travelers can purchase a SIM card. Tokyo airport SIM stalls have fluent English speakers on hand, therefore, this option is helpful for tourists who don’t know Japanese language. However, you might have to pay more for the SIM cards at the airport than you would elsewhere.
Having arrived at Narita or Osaka airports, you can get a hold of a Japan 4G SIM card that provides unlimited data with Klook. It is the simplest option as the staff at the airport also helps you configure your device.
Ordering SIM online:
You don’t have WiFi? No problem. Find a cafe and get free access to the internet. Now open a Mobal website and order a SIM card there. You have to pick that up in person on the same day. The collection points are in Asakusa, Shinjuku or Shibuya. There are pick-up points in Osaka too.
Services like FaceTime and Skype can help you make voice calls with data-only SIMs. Travelers can also rent pocket wifi. An example of such a mobile router is Ninja WiFi Router. Your tourist visa can also come in handy and get you voice/data SIMs in Japan.
What You Will Need:
Get an unlocked smartphone or device where you can put your prepaid SIM. The APN settings are simple and you can configure them by yourself. However, there is a different case for buyers who are getting their SIM at Bic Camera. These shops are everywhere in Japan and they are very helpful. The installation is done by Bic Camera and they set up for Y480.
Best Japan Prepaid SIM Cards
There are a few companies that offer data at different prices and packages. They have great coverage all around Japan and they provide access to WiFi hotspots in the city.
Japan Wireless is offering its services to more than 35,000 users all over the world. With this competitive pocket WiFi rental and SIM card sales company, you can choose the data plans as per your need and connect to the internet right away.
- Having a population coverage rate of more than 99.9%, there are three SIM card plans for the internet of 7GB, 10 GB, and 25 GB. These plans go with the reliable NTT DoCoMo’s 4G/LTE network.
- It lets you use domestic calls without any charges. It doesn’t offer you packages for international calls but you can make communication with the help of apps like Skype and Zoom, etc.
- All in all, Japan Wireless is not the cheap option but the services it offers are of the highest quality.
B Mobile Visitor SIM:
B Mobile Visitor SIM is another wonderful option for visitors in Japan.
- If purchased online, you can get it at the rate of Y3980. It gives you 1GB of internet for two weeks.
- You can either get this SIM card online or from the shops in Japan. Buying it online is easy and hassle-free as they ship the SIM card to your hotel or to a post office. They keep the SIM until you arrive and pick it up.
Run-on the NTT DoCoMo network, Smash Mobile sells its SIM cards on its website. They are usually sold at cheaper rates on events like Christmas or Thanksgiving, etc. Some of the offers provided by Smash Mobile are enlisted as under. (1009 JPY = 9.20 USD)
- 2000 JPY: 1 GB data/7 days
- 2800 JPY: 3 GB data/15 days
- 4000 JPY: 6 GB data/30 days
- 5500 JPY: Unlimited data/31 days
- 10000 JPY: Unlimited data/60 days
- 14000 JPY: Unlimited data/90 days
The above plans are mentioned excluding 10% tax.
Yolo Mobile is another option for international people in Japan to get a domestic phone number with SIM cards.
- This foreigner-friendly mobile service provides 4 SIM Card plans for 3 GB, 6 GB, 12 GB, and 20 GB internet per month.
- The customer service of Yolo Mobile lets you communicate in both English and Chinese language.
- However, it doesn’t provide international calling. You can make overseas communication by apps like Zoom or Skype, etc.
Mobal was founded in the United Kingdom in 1989 and it has earned its name ever since. It is one of the fastest-growing SIM sales companies in Japan. Services of the company were originally limited to the USA and Uk only. However, it has expanded its wings in Japan recently. Check out further information about Mobal as under:
- Tourists can select several SIM card options as per the tenure of their stay.
- This SIM card is usually an ideal option for visitors who are intending to stay for long periods of time. Students and ex-pats can benefit the most from it.
- There is no need for a contract or residence visa.
- Different options, both long-term and short-term, ranging from 8 days to 90 days are available.
- The Global SIM card lets you voice call and text on a domestic and international level with the 4G LTE network.
- It gives you unlimited data of 7GB per month at 4G speed. The speed is inversely related to data usage. It drops to 128 Kbps if you use more data.
- The usage policy is fair and user-friendly.
- The incoming calls and texts are free. You can also make free calls to other MOBAL Japan sims users every day but only between the hours, 1 am and 9 pm.
- In addition to this, it also introduces a pocket WiFi router for home and travel.
- You also get a SIM card adapter kit that can be used with nano, micro, and standard SIM card slots.
GTN Mobile is an ideal SIM card service for visitors who need budget-friendly card plans. GTN Mobile gets its name from a Japanese network company Global Trust Network which has been managing it since 2015. A number of SIM card plans by GTN Mobile are available for foreign travelers and stayers in Japan.
- The lite plan of GTN Mobile is divided into 2 contracts of 3 GB and 10 GB internet data. The 4G network is made available to visitors at the cheapest rate in Japan.
- There is another data plan, called The GTN Mobile Advance 5G plan which consists of three contracts of 3 GB, 10 GB, and 17 GB internet data.
- However, the high-speed 5G network has to be unlocked in a specific area.
- The SIM card plans of GTN Mobile let you call and text domestically as well as internationally.
The IijMio sim card is quite popular among tourists. With its wallet-friendly packages, it has made its name in the Japanese market.
- These SIM cards are available at Bic Camera shops that are almost everywhere in Japan.
- The two major Japanese carriers, NTTdocomo and KDDI allow you to select three data SIM card plans in Iij Mio. The first of them is Minimum Start Plan for 3GB, the second one is called Light Start Plan for 6GB and the last one is Family Share Plan for 12 GB, shared by 3 SIM cards.
- Both domestic and international calling and texting are offered on Iij Mio. People already using apps like Zoom, Skype and Messenger, etc can choose a different plan with only data and SMS that is cheaper.
- You can purchase an Iij Mio SIM card from any Bic Camera shop in Japan. Visitors arriving at Tokyo Station can get to the Yurakucho Branch in about a 10-minute walk from the station. You can look for a convenient branch by using the Bic Camera store locator. On the ground floor of the branch, you will see the signs that say ‘Bic SIM’. You can easily find someone there who can communicate with you in English and help you. They will charge you Y480 for installing the SIM and doing APN settings for you.
- Also, you don’t have to show your ID while buying this SIM card.
Sakura started its services in in 2014 and it has been helping the Japan tourists with WiFi rental and SIM card sales ever since.
Some of its cool features are mentioned as under:
- It is a good option for visitors who are going to stay in Japan for 30 days or less.
- Not only does it offer a SIM card with the reliable NTT Docomo network but also a pocket WiFi router.
- It doesn’t need any activation of the SIM card as it is pre-activated. You just have to insert your SIM in the phone and go.
- This SIM card offers unlimited data with no cut-off or additional charges. Just stay connected to the internet all the way along your trip.
- You get a wide range of pick-up options such as airport delivery and free worldwide shipping.
- It has two plans including 4GB and 25GB internet per month.
- The domestic and international texts, as well as calls, are available for the customers.
- In addition to the result size, this SIM card is also available in nano and micro sizes and thus works in any unlocked device.
Holafly Japan Prepaid SIM Card
Holafly SIM Card works with Softbank. It can be ordered online as well. It offers the following packages:
- There is an option of getting 1.5 GB of internet for 7 days.
- You can also get 16 GB for 8 days.
- If you want more data, there is also an offer that provides 30 GB of internet for 15 days.
Japan Pocket WiFi (Mobile Router) Rental
Visitors in Japan can also rent a pocket WiFi unit. It saves you the trouble of changing SIM cards and gives you a data connection as soon as you land in Japan. You must go through all the details and coverages before making a choice.
- This option is in the best interest of those who do not want to mess with APN settings and have their devices locked.
- It is also a suitable choice for people traveling in groups as one device lets several people log on.
- You get unlimited internet and it is never disconnected.
- Besides the unlimited data they offer, these units are also very fast and efficient.
- You can log in to Voyagin and rent a Ninja WiFi Router online. As soon as you reach the airport, it will be waiting for you.
- In addition to the unlimited data, you also get the connection to 14 devices. When you have to leave, you just drop the unit off at the airport.
- The internet speed cuts short to 256Kbs if you use more than 1GB of data in a day. However, the connection speed is normal the very next day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which SIM cards can I buy in Japan?
SIM cards that can be bought on the ground in Japan include Mobal, Rakuten, and prepaid OCN. You can also buy BIC Camera SIMs and IIjmio’s Japan travel SIMs.
How Do I Activate a Japan SIM Card?
The exact steps of activating a SIM card depend on the provider but it is not a hard task. You just have to follow simple guidelines after you insert the SIM card into your phone. It is not a time taking process. You can start using it right away.
Whether it’s Japan or some other country, the packages SIM cards, WiFi and rentals keep changing now and then. So, there could be different circumstances by the time you read this article. Therefore, it is a good rule of thumb to do thorough and updated research before making a deal.