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Top 7 eSIMs for Traveling in Japan: How to Use, Pros, and Cons

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One of the easiest ways to access the Internet in Japan is by using an eSIM. We've compared seven eSIM services in terms of price and usability. Read on to learn to use them efficiently.


Internet Conditions in Japan and eSIM

eSIM Japan

Photo by Pixta

There are multiple ways to access the Internet while traveling in Japan, such as free Wi-Fi, SIM cards, or a portable Wi-Fi router.

The easiest method is using a SIM card. However, replacing the card and setting it up takes time and effort.

On the other hand, if you use an eSIM service, it does not require a card change, making it a lot easier to use!

This article introduces the appeals of eSIM and our recommended eSIM services in Japan. Check out the articles below for information on conventional SIM cards or portable Wi-Fi routers.

Table of Contents

1. How to Use eSIM & Learn the Pros and Cons
2. Top 7 Recommended eSIMs
3. How to Use Portable Wi-Fi Routers with eSIMs
4. FAQs

How to Use eSIM & Learn the Pros and Cons

travel SIM Japan

A conventional SIM card is time-consuming to replace. Photo by Pixta

The word eSIM is short for embedded SIM.

A conventional SIM card has to be physically removed from the handset and replaced by the user. In addition to time and effort, there is a risk of losing or damaging the SIM card in the process.

In contrast, an eSIM can be used by changing the settings on the device—with no need to remove or insert any card.

eSIM Japan

Explanation of how to set up an eSIM. Picture courtesy of eSIM Japan

While the eSIM setting varies by provider, the general procedure is as follows:

1. Apply online
2. Scan the QR code sent to your e-mail
3. Change the setting

You can use it immediately in three steps.

eSIM Japan

Screen shot of an eSIM settings on an Android smartphone. The user can choose which type to use by adjusting the setting.

While eSIM is easy to use, it has some disadvantages.

One of them is that eSIM is not compatible with older smartphone models. A list of eligible models is posted on the official websites of providers offering eSIM services. Please check them before applying.

As of August 2023, there is no eSIM with a telephone number attached. It may not matter on short trips, but those planning a longer stay in Japan should be aware of this.

Top 7 Recommended eSIMs

    Provider Price Data/Duration Features
  • eSIM Japan
  • About 1,160 yen 7 days, maximum of 500MB/day Offers cost-effective, short-term packages (1 week or less)
  • mobal
  • 3,200 yen 30GB for 8 days Ideal for people using 1 to 3GB per day
  • Sakura Mobile
  • 3,350 yen 5GB for 10 days Strong customer support
  • Klook eSIM (Softbank)
  • 1,368 yen 5 days, maximum of 500MB/day Easy to purchase
  • Japan Wireless
  • About 1,200 yen 5GB/day Offers day-to-day packages with a large amount of data
  • Holafly
  • About 2,760 yen Unlimited (*1) for 5 days Offers worldwide services
  • Airport eSIMs
  • - - Available for in-person purchase

*1: The data speed may slow down after exceeding a certain limit.

There are various providers offering eSIM services in Japan.

Most travelers in Japan use about 500MB to 1GB of data per day for a stay spanning one to two weeks.

Based on those numbers, eSIM Japan and mobal offer the most cost-effective packages (*2) as of August 2023. On the other hand, Sakura Mobile has gained popularity for its strong customer support.

*2: The approximate exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and yen as of August 2023 is 145 yen per USD.

1. eSIM Japan

eSIM Japan

Picture courtesy of eSIM Japan

WHIZ, a provider operating businesses in Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia, manages eSIM Japan.

One of the features of eSIM Japan is its wide variety of plans. Users can choose from a 3-day package with a maximum of 2GB/day for 8.99 U.S. dollars (about 1,160 yen), a 7-day package with 500MB/day for 7.99 U.S. dollars (about 1,160 yen), or a 5GB package for 15 days at 11.99 U.S. dollars (about 1,740 yen).

Those planning a short trip for about a week or comfortable using a small amount of data should consider eSIM Japan. If you need more data, there are other providers with cheaper services.

The company also features an eSIM service covering multiple regions, such as Asia, Australia, and North America.

2. mobal

eSIM Japan

Picture courtesy of mobal

Mobal is a service provided by Mobell Communications Limited, a British company established in 1989.

While mobal has several eSIM packages, a cost-effective plan would be one with large data. For instance,1GB for 8 days costs 1,920 yen and up, while 30GB for 8 days costs 3,200 yen. 50GB for 16 days costs 3,900 yen, while 50GB for 31 days costs 4,900 yen.

Mobal is suitable for travelers going on a trip longer than a week, and want to use 2 to 3GB of data per day.

This company is an easy choice for English speakers. They also donate a part of their proceeds to charities supporting people experiencing poverty in Africa.

Click Here for eSIM by mobal!

3. Sakura Mobile

eSIM Japan

Picture courtesy of Sakura Mobile

In the English-speaking community, Sakura Mobile is a popular choice among those traveling or staying long-term in Japan. The company also handles SIM cards, portable Wi-Fi routers, and sets up home Internet connections.

Although their eSIM prices vary according to the duration period, the cost for a 5GB 10-day plan was 3,350 yen, and a 10GB 30-day plan was 5,850 yen in August 2023.

While Sakura Mobile seems expensive compared to eSIM Japan, the company will respond to inquiries before making a purchase and offer trouble-shooting consultations during your trip.

If this is your first trip to Japan or your first time using eSIM, we recommend choosing Sakura Mobile.

Click Here for eSIM by Sakura Mobile!

4. Klook eSIM

eSIM Japan

Picture courtesy of Klook

Klook is a booking website for activities at sightseeing spots. However, the website also offers an eSIM service.

As of August 2023, Klook handles eSIMs provided by Softbank. A 500MB/day plan for 5 days costs 1,368 yen and up.

In case of trouble, some people might worry about customer support from a booking website. Users can contact Klook's customer service via LINE, a popular instant messaging app.

Click Here for eSIM by Klook!

5. Japan Wireless

eSIM Japan

Picture courtesy of Japan Wireless

Japan Wireless is a service managed by Inbound Platform Corp., a company that also handles rental RVs and a medical information website for overseas visitors.

The popular choice is the 30GB 30-day plan for 43.15 U.S. dollars (about 6,260 yen) package, or the 5GB/day for 8.27 U.S. dollars (about 1,200 yen) package. The unique 5GB/day plan is ideal for those who want to use a large amount of data for a short time.

6. Holafly

eeSIM Japan

Picture courtesy of Holafly

Holafly, a Spain-based company established in 2017, offers an international eSIM service.

They offer a wide variety of packages, and the standard type is 5 days with unlimited data for 19 U.S. dollars (about 2,760 yen).

Please note that SIM services offering unlimited package will have slow connection speed after using 2 to 3GB per day. This is not mentioned on the Holafly website, so users who need clarification should make an inquiry beforehand.

Please note that another disadvantage of Holafly's eSIMs is being unable to share a mobile connection by tethering.

7. Airport eSIMs

Japan Free Wi-Fi

Photo by Pixta

Stores handling eSIM services are located at most major Japanese airports.

For example, GTN Haneda Airport Garden Store offers eSIM services. A 3GB/30-day package costs 2,700 yen, and a 6GB/30-day package is priced at 3,600 yen and up. Those interested in making an in-person purchase should read the article below.

How to Use Portable Wi-Fi Routers with eSIMs

eSIM Japan

Photo by Pixta

An eSIM is very convenient for people traveling alone or in small groups.

However, those using a computer during the trip or traveling in a large group should also bring a portable Wi-Fi router.

Tethering will use up much of your smartphone's battery, so it will come in handy during these situations. Additionally, many pocket Wi-Fi routers have a large amount of usable data, making it suitable for connecting multiple devices to the Internet.

Regarding pocket Wi-Fi routers, MATCHA recommends Ninja WiFi. It handles 3GB/day and costs 770 yen/day. There is also a 20% discount for those applying via MATCHA, costing 3,080 yen for 5 days. This is a reasonable price that is similar to a SIM card.

Click Here for 20% Off Ninja WiFi!


Q1. How much data should I purchase?

It will depend on the usage. Take a look at the benchmark below.

By limiting heavy data usage, such as watching videos, you can travel with a small amount of data when connecting to free Wi-Fi spots at hotels or cafes.

But you may encounter unexpected issues during an overseas trip. Those who are not used to traveling should be equipped to use 1GB/day.

What You Can Do With 1GB in Japan!
1. Send about 2,090 e-mails (500KB/mail)
2. Watch about 4 hours and 16 minutes of video with moderate image quality
3. View about 1,432 locations on Google Map (10 minutes/view)

Courtesy of Wi-Fi Rental Dot Com (Japanese)

Q2. How can I scan the QR code sent to my smartphone?

For most eSIM services, users have to scan a QR code sent to their smartphones.

But in an ordinary situation, it's not possible to read the QR code displayed on your smartphone with the same device.

Applicants must have another smartphone ready, or use an app such as Google Lens or LINE.

Q3. There is no eSIM with a telephone number attached. Is that a concern?

There are two types of SIM cards: Voice SIM, which comes with a Japanese telephone number; and data-only SIM, which has no number. On the other hand, eSIMs do not have a phone number.

If you're embarking on a short trip, this should not be a problem.

However, there are several advantages to having a phone number. First is the ability to make emergency calls to the police or fire department. In Japan, emergency calls can be made in foreign languages, so this is a huge advantage.

Also, the applicant will be asked to file a phone number to apply for various services in Japan, such as Pay Pay: a popular electronic payment app.

Those who are planning a longer stay in Japan should consider using a Voice SIM with a telephone number. Providers such as mobal and Sakura Mobile carry this type of SIM card.

Main image by Pixta

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.