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SIM Cards in Japan: Top 7 Services for Travelers in 2024

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Stay connected in Japan by using a SIM card! We introduce 7 Japanese SIM cards ideal for short stays along with information on eSIM and the pros and cons of using a SIM card compared to portable Wi-Fi routers.

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Stay Connected in Japan

Connect in Japan With Sakura Mobile! How to Get Cell Service and Wi-Fi

Photo by Pixta

There are several ways to access the Internet in Japan. The most inexpensive method would be to use free Wi-Fi, although its availability is limited and can expose users to vulnerabilities.

A SIM card for travelers or portable Wi-Fi router comes in handy in these situations. While the latter can handle a large amount of data, carrying the device around may require some effort.

Alternatively, a SIM card may only handle a little data and is more complicated to set up than a portable Wi-Fi. But it is far easier to carry and cheaper than a router.

This article features seven SIM cards that will support your short-term trip to Japan. We've also included information on eSIM services and inexpensive portable Wi-Fi routers that are an alternative to SIM cards.

Those planning a long-term stay in Japan should check out this MATCHA article.

Book the mobal SIM Card: No Postage Needed!

Contents

Top 7 SIM Cards in Japan: A Comparison
1. mobal
2. Sakura Mobile
3. Nippon SIM for Japan
4. IIJmio Travel SIM
5. B Mobile Visitor SIM
6. Klook
7. Vending Machines at Airports
eSIM: An Alternative to Physical SIM Cards
Low-Cost Portable Wi-Fi Routers
FAQs about SIM Cards in Japan

Top 7 SIM Cards in Japan

While there are many types of SIM cards to use when traveling in Japan, the following is a list of five recommended providers and two places to purchase them.

    Provider Price Data/Duration
  • mobal
  • 4,730 yen and up Unlimited (Data speed may be reduced after exceeding 3GB per day)/8 days and up
  • Sakura Mobile
  • 4,950 yen and up Unlimited (Data speed may be reduced after exceeding 2GB per day)/8 days and up
  • Nippon SIM for Japan
  • 1,980 yen and up 3GB/30 days and up
  • IIJmio Travel SIM
  • 2,480 yen and up 3GB/30 days and up
  • B Mobile Visitor SIM
  • 1,980 yen and up 5GB/10 days and up
  • Klook
  • N/A N/A
  • Vending Machines at Airports
  • N/A N/A

1. mobal SIM Cards

Mobal

Picture courtesy of mobal

mobal, a long-established company headquartered in the UK, handles SIM cards for travelers to Japan.

They offer various SIM card plans, the cheapest with unlimited data costing 4,730 yen for 8 days. Please note that data speed may be reduced after exceeding 3GB per day.

Mobal cards can handle about the same amount of data as pocket Wi-Fi routers. Moreover, there is no shipping fee for worldwide customers, so overseas visitors can receive the card in their home country before arriving in Japan.

The company also handles Voice SIM, which comes with a Japanese telephone number. The duration is 30 days for 7GB costing 7,920 yen and up. Also, the trending eSIM is available for 8 days for 1GB starting at 1,920 yen.

Book the mobal SIM Card: No Postage Needed!

2. Sakura Mobile SIM Card

Travel Sim japan

Picture courtesy of Sakura Mobile

Sakura Mobile is a popular service for English-speaking people who are traveling or staying in Japan for long periods.

Their SIM cards offer unlimited data (data speed may be reduced after exceeding 2GB per day) and cost 4,950 yen for 8 days. Although it may seem expensive compared to mobal, Sakura Mobile is known for its top-notch customer support.

The company will answer questions in advance and offer consultations during the trip if you have any problems. If this is your first trip to Japan or first time using a SIM card, we recommend choosing Sakura Mobile!

They also offer an eSIM service. While prices vary depending on the period of use, a 10-day package with 5GB data costs 3,350 yen as of August 2023.

Book the Sakura Mobile SIM Card: Excellent Customer Support!

3. Nippon SIM for Japan

Travel Sim japan

Picture courtesy of Nippon SIM for Japan

Nippon SIM for Japan is provided by DHA Corporation and is available on Amazon.

A 30-day plan with 3GB data costs 1,980 yen. There are other plans with a wide variety of duration and data.

Since the capacity is small, this card is suitable for those who don't use much data and looking to buy a cheap SIM card.

4. IIJmio Travel SIM

Travel Sim japan

Picture courtesy of IIJmio Travel SIM

Those planning to purchase a SIM card during their trip should look for IIJmio Travel SIM. It is sold at major electronics stores in most large cities, such as Bic Camera, Yodobashi Camera, and Kojima.

This is an open-priced item with costs varying by store. As of August 2023, a 30-day card with 3GB data is sold for 2,480 yen at Bic Camera.

IIJmio is a low-cost SIM service provider that is well-known in Japan.

5. B Mobile Visitor SIM Card

Travel Sim japan

Picture courtesy of B Mobile Visitor SIM

B Mobile Visitor SIM can also be purchased on Amazon. It is also available on the company's official website. The price is 1,980 yen for a 10-day card with 5GB of data.

Please note that B Mobile Visitor SIM has an additional postage charge. 370 yen will be added to cards sent to Japanese airports and 520 yen for cards sent to hotels.

6. SIM Cards Offered by Klook

Travel Sim japan

Residents of southeastern or eastern Asian countries should check Klook, an experience booking site.

Klook also sells various SIM cards that are suitable for a trip to Japan. Most of them can be sent to various Asian countries, so please take a look!

Book a Klook SIM Card or Portable Wi-Fi Router

7. SIM Cards at Airports

Japan Free Wi-Fi

Photo by Pixta

If you forget to purchase a SIM card in your home country, don't worry! In recent years, major Japanese airports are provided with SIM card vending machines.

For example, a 6-day SIM card with 1GB of data is sold for about 2,000 yen at vending machines in Narita Airport. Please check the official website for additional details.

eSIM: An Alternative to Physical SIM Cards

Travel Sim japan

Picture courtesy of Sakura Mobile

One of the concerns about using a SIM card is the risk of losing the SIM card when replacing it. After all, SIM cards are very small, measuring only 1 to 3 millimeters in size.

Recently, eSIM has been trending because it can be used without replacing the physical SIM card. In the U.S., the iPhone 14 series designed for eSIM use was released in 2022, and other carriers are expected to follow.

Companies in Japan are also offering this service.

As mentioned above, mobal provides this service for 1,920 yen and up (8 days with 1GB data). The price at Sakura Mobile is 3,350 yen for 10 days with 5GB of data. Nippon SIM for Japan also offers eSIM.

If you're using a smartphone that supports eSIM, please check out these other companies as well.

Book the mobal eSIM

Book the Sakura Mobile eSIM

Book the World eSIM

Low-Cost Portable Wi-Fi Routers

Portable Wi-Fi

Photo by Pixta

In most cases, a portable Wi-Fi router handling a large quantity of data will be more expensive than a SIM card. However, this is not always the case.

For instance, Ninja WiFi router costs 770 yen/day with 3 GB/day. Furthermore, there is a 20% discount via MATCHA and costs 3,080 yen for 5 days, which is a similar fee to SIM cards.

While it may be burdensome to carry a router, it allows multiple devices to access the Internet with no need to change SIM cards.

Please consider these facts when considering a portable Wi-Fi router.

Book you Ninja WiFi at a 20% Discount

FAQs about SIM Cards in Japan

Q1. Is a Voice SIM or data-only SIM a better choice?

Voice SIM comes with a Japanese telephone number while data-only SIM does not.

With WhatsApp, Messenger, and LINE becoming popular messaging apps, some may wonder why you need a Japanese phone number if you're not a resident.

But a phone number has its advantages. Firstly, users can phone the police or fire department when trouble occurs. Emergency calls can be made in other languages besides Japanese, so this is a major feature.

To apply for various services in Japan, such as the popular electronic payment app Pay Pay, users must register a phone number.

Those who are interested should check mobal, which handles Voice SIM cards suitable for short-term trips.

Q2. What does "unlimited data" mean?

In regards to data traffic, some SIM cards offer "unlimited" data usage.

Most of these types will easily handle 2 to 3 GB per day. However, exceeding this capacity will cause the speed to be reduced. While Internet accessibility remains, the flow of data will be considerably slower.

Q3. Can I change the SIM card of my smartphone?

If your smartphone is SIM-locked, the answer is no. While there are SIM-free phones in most Asian countries, some Japanese and American phones are locked.

There is a way to open these types of phones. Ask your carrier for information on how to unlock your smartphone.

Additionally, please note that some SIM cards may not be compatible with certain smartphone models. There is a compatibility list on the official websites of SIM card providers, so be sure to take a look!

Q4. How should I handle my original SIM card?

If you are going to change the SIM card in your home country, store the original in a dust-free place.

Those who plan to replace the card in Japan should bring a SIM card case. It can be purchased on Amazon and other retailers.

 

Written by

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Mizzochi

Mitoyo, Kagawa, Japan

I worked in a PR agency for corporate IR/CSR and a publisher which publishes a magazine focused on international cooperation before joining MATCHA in October 2017. 
In April 2019, I moved to Mitoyo City in Kagawa Prefecture. I write articles for tourists visiting Japan, and also contribute to regional revitalization.
My main focus is on writing about internet services, rental cars, hotels, and tourist attractions in western Japan.
The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting. Some of our articles contain affiliate links. We kindly ask our readers to exercise careful judgement when making a purchase or booking a service online.

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