Heading to the land of the rising sun? You might think that travelling to such a technologically advanced country would mean you have no problems getting connected. But Japan can present some difficulties for short term visitors, keep reading to find the best SIM card for Japan.
By law, visitors on a tourist visa are not allowed to buy voice SIM cards, so your only option is to buy a prepaid data only SIM, and then use VOIP apps if you need to make calls. On this page I look at the options for buying different tourist data only sims and then look at another option of renting a voice SIM.
Where to Buy?
Some airports have vending machines, and some have 7-11 stores where you can purchase SIMs. You can also head to an electronic store. Yodobashi Camera and BIC Camera stores will stock these SIM cards and can be found in the centre of all major towns and cities. These SIMs are not triple cut and the Nano, Micro and full size SIMs come in different packaging; so make sure you pick the right one.
Alternatively, you can order a SIM online, and have it delivered either internationally to your home, or to your hotel to pick-up on arrival.
Japan has three major phone networks, and has no GSM network but widespread 3G and 4G/LTE. So if your device is not 3G/4G, then it will not work.
Phone / Wireless Hotspot Mifi rental
If you really need to make phone calls, and can’t use VOIP services like Skype; then renting a phone is another option.To get around the SIM laws, companies offer rental of phones and wifi hotspots. These can be sent to your hotel, or picked up from electronics stores and at the airport. Try: https://www.rentafonejapan.com/
If your phone is locked and you cannot fit a data SIM card, you can also rent a wifi hotspot from this company. Alternatively you could place your data SIM in your own mifi.
There is a growing number of free Wifi hotspots, in shops, stations, hotels and trains etc.
Can’t be bothered with buying a local SIM in Japan? Want to buy before you fly?
- 8-Day Non-stop roaming data with 4 GB at full speed then drop to 128 kbps in 12 top Asian destinations. (Current Stock will expire on 30 Sep 2018, Please aware this before purchase!!!)
- This SIM can be used in Cambodia, China, HK, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan.
- APN is normally set automatically except on iPhone/iPad, you need to remove all Profile before inserting sim (Settings>General>Profile).
- Use your SIM to browse Google, Facebook and Twitter, all available in Mainland China. To using this SIM in China. Your phone must be able to use LTE Band 39, 40 and 41 which is not common for US phone model. If not, you will get only EDGE (iPhone 7 or later model only if you want to get 4G in China).
- English manual is uploaded as picture in this product. Please read and download it before start using.
Can’t be bothered with buying a local SIM in Italy? Want to buy before you fly?
OneSIM offer an international SIM card that lets you save up to 85% in roaming fees in 200+ countries.
It can be sent out ahead of time so you hit the ground running. Find out more here.
So, which is the best SIM Card for Japan Visitors?
For most purposes we would recommend the Iijmio tourist SIM, as it is a great all-rounder and traveller friendly!
If you are more concerned about accessing data, check out the offerings by eConnect.