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Best Japan SIM cards for tourists in 2024

Get to know the best Japan SIM Card for tourists in 2024 with an extensive guide of options and information for travelers.

Mark Robins

January 1, 2024

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Are you traveling to Japan this year? Lucky you – you can look forward to the most incredible sights from the Imperial Palace or the Nijo Castle. But can you look forward to a good internet connection? No traveler wants to be left disconnected in a foreign country, and paying for data roaming from your provider can be extremely expensive. In this article, we’ll explain how you can use your cell phone in Japan by getting reliable internet with a SIM card for Japan.

Also, we will discuss a new alternative to the physical SIM cards: The International eSIM or Digital SIM. Companies like Holafly offer virtual SIMs with unlimited data, so you’ll stay connected wherever, whenever. It’s the perfect option for working, studying, or vacationing.

Digital SIM card for Japan

Connect to the International Internet in the Land of the Rising Sun with an eSIM Japan travel, and forget expensive roaming fees! – Get 5% OFF. Code: MYESIMNOW5

Can foreigners buy SIM cards in Japan?

When traveling abroad, foreigners need to consider that it is not as easy to get a SIM card in places like Japan as it is to get one with a local carrier in your hometown. But travelers can get one; just check out the terms and conditions on how to get one from your preferred carrier.

In this case, options like the Holafly embedded SIM Card remain one of the best ways to get mobile internet when traveling due to what it offers in terms of prices and data.

Where to buy a SIM card for Japan?

As we have already mentioned, it is important to stay connected during your travels and even more so when the destinations are remote countries. Indeed, a prepaid SIM card for Japan is not the only way to stay connected to the internet, but on many occasions, it is more practical than having an extra device like a pocket Wi-Fi, paying the high cost of data roaming for Japan, or always looking for free public wifi connections in some places like cafes and restaurants.

Japan SIM card
Using a cell phone in Japan. Source: Unsplash.

For these reasons, having a prepaid SIM card for tourists on your trip can make your experience smoother by enjoying the best mobile internet in Japan. There are two main ways to buy a SIM card for Japan:

1. Buy before you travel from an online store like Holafly.

2. Buy once you arrive in Japan from local stores

But which is the best option for you? We recommend buying before travel, and let’s take a look at why.

>>You may also be interested in Best SIM card for Hong Kong<<

Buy your SIM card before you travel

You must be wondering why we recommend you buy your SIM card before your trip. Nowadays, online shopping is more than well-known by customers of all kinds of services. Telecommunications have also evolved in this trend, and nowadays, with a simple search for minutes, you can find plans and SIM cards available for your trip to Japan. Before the whole range of possibilities, we will give you some recommendations so you don’t get lost.

If you want to buy your SIM card for Japan through an online store, it is important that you check what coverage the provider you choose offers, if it has support from a good local operator, and at what speed you will be connected.

Finally, you should know the costs and payment methods. Also, confirm that you can proceed with the purchase process or if any documentation is required.

We recommend that you buy your SIM card before, which is why we want to mention the Virtual SIM card, which allows you to take full advantage of the virtual purchase without waiting for a shipment. 

Holafly: Virtual SIM card with Unlimited data

When talking about the available options to use while traveling to Japan, one of the best services for travelers comes with the Japan prepaid eSIM from Holafly. Compared to other alternatives, there’s a lot more offered by the company when compared to other alternatives available to use in Japan.

As of now, Holafly has become one of the best companies people can use to get mobile data while abroad, and with their unlimited data plans, it all gets a lot easier than expected. Overall, the process for getting a virtual SIM card for Japan from Holafly is not complicated at all, and people can buy as many as they need.

In this case, people won’t have to worry about how long it will take for this virtual SIM card to be delivered. This is due to the fact that these are sent through email with a QR code, and people simply need to scan it to start with the activation process, which by the way, requires an internet connection to be completed.

Other than this, people will get unlimited data when traveling to Japan and using the virtual SIM card. As for prices, they will vary depending on the number of days you choose, which can be between 1 and 90. Some prices are:

Days of useData PlanPrice (USD)
1 daysUnlimited data$6
5 daysUnlimited data$21
10 daysUnlimited data$37
15 daysUnlimited data$51
20 daysUnlimited data$62
30 daysUnlimited data$75
60 daysUnlimited data$107
90 daysUnlimited data$139
Table N° 1. eSIM Card rates with data for Japan from Holafly. Source: Holafly

Similar prices can be found in regional unlimited data packages such as Holafly’s eSIM for Asia. In the case of the Japan plans, any number of days you choose includes 500 MB per day for data sharing.

Pros and cons of using Holafly

But what about the pros and cons of using Holafly? Let’s talk a bit about these!

  • People must have an eSIM-compatible device, which is the main con about the service, but these devices are also quite common to see nowadays.
  • You can choose any number of days of use between 1 and 90 maximum.
  • Enjoy 500 MB per day to share with others.
  • Unlimited data plans will allow people to stay connected for as long as they want for a fair price.
  • There’s no limit on how many virtual SIM cards people can buy from Holafly when traveling to Japan.
  • High-speed connections and a wide coverage range are two main features offered by the Holafly virtual SIM card.
  • Holafly offers 24/7 customer support in different languages to all its customers.
  • No data sharing is allowed on unlimited data plans.

Pros of buying a data plan for abroad before traveling

  • Internet the moment you land

If you buy a SIM card for Japan before you travel, you will be able to access the internet as soon as you land in this country. So, you’ll be able to book a cab from the airport and let friends know you’ve arrived safely.

  • Don’t waste time

All you will have to do is insert your SIM card into your phone. Forget about lines at airport stores, long installation times, and activations. Don’t waste time looking for airport stores – start discovering Japan right away!

  • Avoid communication difficulties

If, like us, your Japanese is a little rusty, you might find communicating difficult while at shops in Japan. Online shops offer information in your language so you can be sure you know what you’re purchasing.

Buy your SIM card from a local operator in Japan

Actually, for many reasons, the best way to buy your SIM card for Japan is through an online store. However, as we said at the beginning, another way you can take it is to buy it through a local Japanese operator once you arrive at your destination. If you are not related to the local companies, we will discuss the Japanese operators you can find.

NTT Docomo

This is known as one of the largest telecommunications companies in Japan. Its reach is such that it has about nine Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) through which you can purchase their services. Among these providers, we can find Bmobile, Sakura Mobile, Mobal, and others. All of them offer prepaid SIM Card services for Japan supported by the NTT Docomo communication system. Their plans are for short and long stays and range from 8 days to 90 days of use or more, including unlimited data, but in many cases, they do not include calls or messages.

People waiting outside an NTT Docomo store. Source: The Japan Times.

As for prices, NTT Docomo offers a variety of data plans that can help users stay connected while traveling abroad. In this case, it’s important for travelers to keep in mind they won’t have access to a traveler’s SIM card, only to local SIM cards and data plans.

In this case, data plans vary from $10 to more than $30, depending on what they offer to users.

As for the pros and cons, we could mention the following:

  • NTT Docomo doesn’t offer SIM cards for travelers, only SIM cards that are mostly focused on locals.
  • Different data plans, some of them with unlimited mobile data available for use.
  • Wide coverage ranges all around Japan, and high-speed networks are available for mobile users.
  • Must have different requirements to try to purchase a SIM card as a traveler from the company.

SoftBank

This is another company with great reach in the country. SoftBank offers a Prepaid SIM card for tourists in Japan that you can purchase at SoftBank shops, consumer electronics stores, and SoftBank rental counter at the airport. This option is for data only. It includes LTE and 3G connection but no access to local calls or messages. This 3GB data package is to be consumed in 30 days. It is important to mention that at the time of purchase, you will need documentation such as a passport or ID, you must be of legal age, and payment must be processed in most cases through international credit cards (VISA/MasterCard/JCB).

Woman walking outside a SoftBank store. Source: The Japan Times.

There are many other data plans available offered by SoftBank for locals. Prices on the company vary from $33 USD for unlimited data plans to other plans that cost way less, which are the basic plans that cost around $7,50. However, the local data SIM card for travelers costs $11,50.

To get to know more about what the company offers, here are some of the pros and cons it has:

  • Available for buying by foreigners if they have all the required information to complete the purchase.
  • Network speed provides 4G connections to all its users.
  • No other data plans are available aside from the 3GB data bundle.

Sakura Mobile

Sakura Mobile is another one of the available options for travelers to get access to a SIM card when arriving in Japan. In this case, the company is focused on giving access to mobile internet for those visiting the country as well as providing access to international data plans as well.

Sakura SIM Card. Source: Sakura Mobile Website.

Sakura Mobile offers different services, including a SIM card to get mobile internet in Japan. In this case, the SIM card works with two different data plans, which offer more mobile data one from the other. As for prices, these are quite cheap; the most expensive SIM card costs $23,30 while the cheapest $16,60.

Other than this, the company works with LTE speeds and has a wide coverage range, which will help people stay connected wherever they are.

As for the pros and cons of the company, we can mention the following:

  • Offers high-speed mobile data on both of the available plans.
  • There are only two data plans available for people to use.
  • Wide coverage range that will cover most of Japan.

SIM Card Geek

Regarding staying connected in Japan with a SIM card, SIM Card Geek is an option for people traveling to the country. This is due to the fact the company offers more than one or two data plans for visitors, and that’s a huge advantage when compared to other companies in the country.

As for now, people will find that there are many options available for using SIM Card Geek. There are SIM cards with 3GB of mobile data and 8GB of mobile data, and some of these SIM cards even have unlimited data.

SIM Card Geek SIM Card. Source: SIM Card Geek Website.

As for prices, the most expensive data plan costs a bit more than $46,50, which makes it accessible for travelers who want to use a SIM card. Other data plans cost a bit more than $15, so overall, it’s an accessible company to use.

Another great thing is that people can pick up their SIM cards at the airport, which means they will have an internet connection as soon as they arrive in the country. As for the pros and cons of the company, we could mention the following:

  • SIM Card Geek offers unlimited data plans to all its customers as well as more simple data plans.
  • High-speed mobile data is offered with all the SIM cards available from the company.
  • Unlimited data plans throttle down the speed after a certain amount of data is consumed.

Mobal SIM Card

Mobal is one of the companies that people can use while in Japan. There are different types of data plans available for people to use, separated into two sections: long trips and short trips.

As for what the SIM card offers, these packages will vary depending on how much they cost and how much time people are staying in Japan. These data packages include mobile data, text messages, and phone calls, but these are only available for long trips with SIM cards. Short-trip SIM cards only work with mobile data.

Mobal SIM Card. Source: Mobal website.

As for prices, people will find data packages that cost $11,50 to more than $120, depending on how long travelers need to use their SIM cards. Overall, these are great options for travelers with a bigger budget.

As for pros and cons, there are some things to mention about the company:

  • Data packages could include text messages and phone calls depending on how long people are staying in Japan.
  • Prices are accessible for most travelers.
  • Delivery service takes longer than expected.

Can I buy a SIM card at a Japanese airport?

For people traveling abroad, it’s important for them to know where they can get a SIM card to stay connected. In this case, let’s talk a bit about how to get a SIM card at a Japanese airport, which is important for everyone to know.

For travelers, the Haneda, Osaka, and Narita airports are great places to get a SIM card from a local mobile carrier. By having this in mind, remember that the requirements to get a SIM card from any of these carriers might be different from your local carriers. Among the cons, this is the one for travelers to think the most about.

Other cons could be how limited the service is or how expensive it can be, so keep that in mind as well.

As for the pros, if you decide to wait until you get there, the good news is that you will get different options to choose from directly at the airport. There will be different data plans available for use, and you will get to use the local data networks too.

But overall, yes. Travelers have the chance to get a SIM card while traveling to Japan, but it will be a bit more complicated.

How much data do I need for 2 weeks in Japan?

In most cases, 2 to 5 GBs of mobile data will do for those two weeks, but keep in mind this might limit you a bit on what apps you can use.

To have more freedom, travelers should get a virtual SIM card that allows them to have at least 10GB of mobile data.

What is the Best SIM card for Japan?

When it comes to telling what’s the best option for people to have mobile internet in Japan, there are many options to choose from, but Holafly comes as the best service due to everything it offers to its customers.

eSIM for Japan with unlimited data
eSIM for Japan with unlimited data. Source: Holafly.

People can get access to features such as unlimited mobile data and data sharing, which is a great thing for those who want to stay connected and use social as much as they can to show how their trip is going. Furthermore, there are other main features to mention, such as the following:

  • Customer support is available 24/7, and it’s also available in many different languages.
  • There’s no limit on how many virtual SIM cards people can get, and the purchase process is done entirely online.
  • People will get unlimited data for the entirety of their trip, which is a great way to stay connected abroad.
  • There’s a super flexible guarantee for users when it comes to using the virtual SIM card from Holafly to ensure a great experience for them.

So, if you are traveling to Japan soon, take a virtual SIM card from Holafly with you and enjoy your trip!

Is it better to get a SIM card or Pocket WiFi in Japan?

Pocket WiFi devices for Japan might be a great option for travelers, but these are known for being more expensive than other alternatives available in the market. For example, a week of use with a Pocket WiFi can easily cost more than $70, depending on the company travelers are using.

On the other hand, a SIM card is a better option. And a virtual SIM card is even better to use in Japan. These are cheaper, easier to get, and offer way more data than a Pocket WiFi could offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How else can I connect to the internet in Japan?

You can activate data roaming and use data from your current domestic provider. But this will be very expensive. If you intend to use this option, expect a hefty phone bill when you return home. Alternatively, you could buy Pocket Wi-Fi (a portable device that generates WiFi for your phone and other devices). This option is also expensive, and you’ll have to carry the device everywhere. A virtual SIM card for Japan is the cheapest and most convenient way of connecting to the internet.

How much does data roaming cost in Japan?

The cost of data roaming depends on your provider, but on average, it costs $7-15 per Megabyte. So if you watched a movie on Netflix, it could cost you $100s. That’s why we recommend a virtual SIM card for Japan, which provides unlimited internet for one upfront cost!

How to choose a SIM card for Japan?

You should choose a SIM card that offers a fast internet connection at an affordable price. With no additional prices, Holafly’s virtual SIM card for Japan is the best option. In addition to including the internet from one of Japan’s fastest providers, they offer 24/7 tech support for any problems you encounter.

Is it better to get a SIM card in Japan?

If people decide to wait until they arrive in Japan to get a SIM card there, they need to know they won’t have access to the internet until they find where to buy one. Overall, the pros are that people have more options to choose from, but it’s a risky thing to do.