You are traveling to Japan, a nation with more than 6,800 islands, and you will need Google Maps, search for that sushi restaurant or find your reservations. For all this, you need a SIM card to have an internet connection when you land in Japan. As you know, you can find a variety of options but which one to choose?
Remember that using roaming with your operator will cost you an arm and a leg: up to 15$ per MB downloaded. Unthinkable! So then, which card should you buy? If you want to know which is the best data SIM card for Japan and remain connected to the internet, we talk about the best alternatives: advantages and disadvantages, where to buy them, and some travel tips to keep in mind.
You can also keep your local line with a digital eSIM for Japan if you have a compatible cell phone. They work very well!
Where to buy a SIM card for Japan?
This destination could easily be the mecca of technology, and Japan has become one of the pioneer countries in innovation. Thanks to all the advances nowadays, buying a prepaid SIM card from home is very easy before you even start your trip. Online stores all over the world offer international SIm cards for destinations like this one. This solution has improved other more expensive services such as roaming or pocket wifi.
Although virtual solutions have greatly improved the market, you can also buy local SIM cards for tourists from operators in Japan. In the country, one main operator and nine other companies operate as MVNOs, from which you can buy services for tourists. We recommend that you buy your SIM card before arriving in Japan, but we will tell you a little about all your alternatives.
(You may be interested in Best eSIM for Asia)
Easy to buy
As we already mentioned now, prepaid SIM cards are very easy to buy even before your trip starts. This is thanks to the great variety and quantity of online stores where you can find remote SIM cards for Japan. You usually find more offers for tourists in these stores than in Japanese operators. And, of course, most of the online stores have English websites as opposed to how to buy a SIM card if your Japanese is not polished.
However, you can also buy your local SIM card through a physical store or distributor in Japan. You can find options as soon as you arrive in the country, including some at international airports and small retailers around the country. Always keep in mind that it requires more processing on your part to purchase a SIM card this way.
Buy before you travel.
If you don’t want to worry and spend extra time, the best option is to buy your international SIM card from an online store. This way, you will have already figured out how to get mobile internet in Japan before you arrive. The websites of these stores are very easy to use for any kind of user, having several means of communication at your disposal. Also, it will not be difficult to find a plan that suits you because they have a wider variety of plans for tourists.
Another positive point of buying a SIM card this way is the cost you can save compared to other solutions. Before choosing a provider and making the purchase, we would like to recommend you check a couple of points. The first one is that you should take into account if your phone uses the same frequencies as the local networks in Japan. The second is that you should take into account that the SIM card, even if purchased remotely, uses one of these networks. For this reason, you should choose one that connects to a network in Japan with good coverage and speed within the cities you plan to visit.
Buy upon arrival
This is the way that we could consider as traditional but nowadays less efficient, and that is to wait to arrive in Japan to solve your communication. In this sense, there are not many surprises; once you get off the plane, you should look for a physical store to buy a SIM card. You must take into account all the above about compatibility and networks; if you didn’t do it before arriving, it might be more difficult once you get there. Also, don’t expect to find many English-speaking stores, so most will be in the local language.
Now that you know how to buy a local SIM card in Japan, you should know what the local operators are. There is one main network operating in the country, and that is SoftBank Japan. Other companies also sell services for tourists, but they all use the SoftBank network. Some of these are NTT Docomo, Comst, and Bmobile Japan. All of them have outlets all over the country.
(You may be interested in Best eSIM for Thailand)
SoftBank, NTT Docomo, and Comst Stores in Japan.
There is a big operator called SoftBank, which has the infrastructure of the only telecommunication network in Japan. Along with this company, there are nine other MVNOs from which you can buy local SIM cards for tourists. Thanks to the country’s many offers, it is easy to find physical stores in many places. In the most important cities, in international airports, malls, 7-eleven and more, there are stores of these operators for you.
Don’t forget that language can be a challenging issue in Japan, so we recommend buying your prepaid SIM card before your trip. Otherwise, you will have to use one of the local stores and go through the registration process for your SIM card once you buy it.
How much does a SIM card cost to travel to Japan?
One of the good news is that if you can get through all the hurdles of buying a local SIM card for Japan, you will find that they have low costs. You can find options from $10 and up, considering a base package of 1GB of browsing. Of course, more complete packages are more expensive, but if you want one that doesn’t offer so much data, you can have that reference. Still, if you want the combination of good service, good prices, and affordable for everyone are the virtual SIM cards from Holafly for Japan that we will present to you now.
eSIM card for Japan, the new alternative
Among the options you have to be communicated before your trip to Japan are the embedded SIM card or eSIM that Holafly has for this destination and many others. In a nutshell, eSIMs are the virtual movement of the physical SIM cards we already know, with the same features as before but with more versatility now. By this, we mean that being virtual, you can buy and install them in just minutes and from anywhere. No physical installation is required, so activation is immediate!
Also, Holafly has regional options such as eSIM for Asia, with which you will have coverage in Japan and other destinations on the continent. With the number of plans the store offers, it won’t take long to find one ideal for your trip.
There are many positive features of eSIMs, but before you buy one, you should consider the following.
- The first thing is to verify if your mobile phone is compatible because, as a new technology, not all devices can access them.
- It is important to have internet access and a valid email address.
- The activation process requires an internet connection, and you will receive an email with a QR code to scan and install your virtual SIM card.
- Finally, to be able to make the purchase in the Holafly store, you must have one of the payment methods, such as a credit or debit card, Paypal, Google Pay, or Apple Pay.
Holafly online store
First, we told you about their eSIM for Japan service, but now we want to introduce you to their store. On Holafly’s website, you will find virtual SIM cards for more than 150 destinations around the world and with access to the site in more than five languages. There is no doubt that this company has taken its customers seriously and offers 24-hour customer service.
Many of Holafly’s embedded SIM cards come with unlimited data packages and the ability to top up in case you need the service for longer. With these eSIMs, you can use your local SIM card at the same time, so you will not lose the WhatsApp number you had at home.
They are ideal for keeping you always communicating with your family and friends. You will never be without an internet connection because you have no data limit. You can pay using a variety of payment methods, and you won’t have to install a new eSIM. In case you want to buy another service, you simply top up, and it will be activated immediately.
Disadvantages of Holafly’s eSIM card
One of the points against Holafly’s virtual SIM card is that if they offer unlimited data, you will not be able to share data with other devices. You will not have a limit on how many eSIMs you can buy, but always remember this in case you plan to carry only one.
How can I shop at Holafly?
The purchase process is easier than you might think; first, it is choosing your destination on the Holafly website. Once there, you will see the available plans and select one to take to the shopping cart. When you decide to checkout, you will see all the available payment methods. After payment, you will be sent a QR code to your email to scan and a brief guide on how to activate your eSIM. Finally, you will be ready to arrive in Japan and connect to an excellent mobile internet network.
How much does the eSIM for Japan cost?
Below, you can see all the prices and offers that Holafly has with its virtual SIM card for Japan. As you can see, it is a much more economical solution than others like international roaming and also a green alternative to physical SIM cards.
Japan eSIM card, with coverage in the whole country
|Days of use||Amount of cellular data||Price (USD)|
|5 days||Unlimited data||$19|
|7 days||Unlimited data||$27|
|10 days||Unlimited data||$34|
|15 days||Unlimited data||$47|
|20 days||Unlimited data||$54|
|30 days||Unlimited data||$64|
|60 days||Unlimited data||$84|
|90 days||Unlimited data||$99|
Asia eSIM card, with coverage in Japan and ten more countries.
|Days of use||Amount of mobile data||Price (USD)|
Frequently asked questions about the Internet and SIM card for Japan
It is very good all over Japan. However, it can become more limited in mountainous and rural areas.
This depends a lot on the provider you use and the plan you sign up for. But you can expect to find 10, 15, and even 30-day options.
Normally in the case of this card, it only works in Japan. If you need a SIM card for another country, you must purchase a new one. You can always count on Holafly’s Asia virtual SIM cards with coverage in Japan and other destinations on the continent.
If you use a remote provider, it is common that it does not include a local Japanese number. In this case, the local operators in the country do offer it but with reduced plans for tourists.
No, you don’t. Once you have used your SIM card, you can throw it away. It will not be necessary to return it as it will be unusable once you have used up the data for the days you bought it.