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Best Tourist Sim Cards in Japan in 2024

Choosing a sim card is hard. We've analysed the best tourist sim cards in Japan across pricing, coverage and data. Find out the best pick!

When traveling in Japan, having a sim card is essential for easy navigation and staying connected.

Access to the internet allows you to find the best restaurants, directions to your accommodation, book a taxi, and share memorable photos with your family on the go.

While roaming is an option, the international fees can quickly escalate, so we recommend getting either an eSim or a local sim card to take advantage of local phone rates.

The good news is that obtaining either option in Japan is incredibly simple, but it’s useful to know which one suits your needs best.

This comprehensive guide provides all the information you need to know about purchasing a sim card in Japan, including current pricing and the most suitable sim card for your specific requirements.

Table of Contents

Best Sim Card in Japan for Tourists

Due to the high price of physical sim cards in Japan, I highly recommend purchasing an eSim instead. There are various eSim providers available in Japan, however, I recommend the Airalo Moshi Moshi eSim which offers a variety of data packages at various prices (from 627 JPY for 1GB to 3,600 JPY for 20GB). This allows you to select exactly the amount of data and the duration you require for your specific trip.

I consider purchasing an eSim to be much more convenient than buying a physical sim card when visiting Japan. If you must purchase a sim card in person, for example if your mobile device isn’t eSim compatible, then I would recommend any of SoftBank, B Mobile or Mobal. All three operators are fantastic and have near perfect coverage throughout Japan.

Japan Sim Card Prices

A Tourist Sim Card in Japan costs between 1,650 JPY and 16,500 JPY in June 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.

Alternatively, an eSim in Japan will cost between $4.50 USD and $26 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.

I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Japan which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $11.50 USD.

Japan Sim Card Providers

In Japan, there are several main SIM card providers that offer different services and plans to cater to the diverse needs of consumers. One prominent provider is SoftBank, known for its reliable network coverage and wide range of data plans. They offer competitive rates and various add-ons to suit individual preferences. Another popular option is JapanBmobile, which offers flexible plans that include unlimited data and voice calls, making it a convenient choice for travelers and expats. Lastly, there is Mobal, a reputable provider with an emphasis on simplicity. They offer straightforward plans with no hidden fees and provide bilingual customer support. Overall, these three providers are among the leading choices for reliable and convenient SIM card services in Japan.

SoftBank Japan Tourist Sim

SoftBank Japan is a renowned telecommunications company that offers reliable tourist sim cards in Japan. With convenient access to high-speed internet, travelers can easily navigate through Japan’s vibrant cities and explore hidden gems. SoftBank’s sim cards provide unlimited data usage and nationwide coverage, enabling tourists to stay connected with friends and family, use navigation apps, and share memorable moments on social media platforms. These sim cards can be purchased at designated stores or conveniently rented at airports, making them an essential companion for an unforgettable trip in Japan.

SoftBank Japan Japan Tourist Sim Price

The price of a SoftBank Japan tourist sim card in Japan is 1,650 JPY.

The plan offered by SoftBank Japan stores includes 3GB valid for 31 days.

Bmobile Japan Tourist Sim

Bmobile Japan offers convenient and affordable tourist SIM cards for travelers visiting Japan. Their SIM cards provide unlimited 4G/LTE data and coverage across the country, ensuring fast internet access throughout your trip. With easy activation and no need for a Japanese address, Bmobile’s SIM cards are hassle-free and suitable for short-term visitors. Stay connected and navigate with ease using Bmobile Japan’s reliable tourist SIM cards.

Bmobile Japan Japan Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Bmobile Japan tourist sim card in Japan is either 1,980 JPY or 2,970 JPY depending on duration and data required.

The plan offered by Bmobile Japan stores offers 5GB and 7GB data valid for 10 or 21 days.

Mobal Tourist Sim

Mobal is a well-known provider of tourist SIM cards in Japan. Their SIM cards offer reliable and fast internet connection, allowing visitors to stay connected during their travels. With excellent coverage throughout Japan, including major cities and rural areas, Mobal ensures uninterrupted communication. These SIM cards also include generous data allowances for browsing, social media sharing, and streaming. Mobal’s customer support team is available to assist with any queries or technical issues, ensuring a hassle-free experience for tourists.

Mobal Japan Tourist Sim Price

The price of a Mobal tourist sim card in Japan is between 3,990 JPY and 16,500 JPY..

The plan offered by Mobal stores includes Unlimited data valid for 8 to 90 days.

How to Get a Sim Card in Japan

Identify mobile providers: SoftBank Japan, Bmobile Japan and Mobal are your best options in Japan.

Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.

Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.

Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.

Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.

Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.

Where to Get a Sim Card in Japan

At the Airport

Buying a prepaid sim card for Japan at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.

However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.

In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.

If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Japan then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Japan have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.

In Stores

If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.

I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as SoftBank Japan, Bmobile Japan and Mobal. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Japan are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.

Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.

Online

If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Japan with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.

The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.

The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!

Japan eSim

An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.

We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Japan. The Airalo Japan eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.

In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $11.50 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Japan without having to venture outside.

Airalo Japan

Our preferred eSim provider in Japan is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Japan and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.

Airalo’s Japan eSim uses the AU Japan by KDDI and SoftBank Japan networks to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the AU Japan by KDDI and SoftBank Japan networksnetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Japan.

Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Japan eSim:

1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $4.50 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $6.50 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $8.50 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $11.5 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $18 USD
20GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $26 USD

For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $11.50 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.

Holafly Japan

An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.

Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Japan eSims offer unlimited data.

Holafly’s Japan eSim uses the KDDInetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Japan

Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Japan eSim:

Unlimited data valid for 5 days – Price: $19 USD
Unlimited data valid for 7 days – Price: $27 USD
Unlimited data valid for 10 days – Price: $34 USD
Unlimited data valid for 15 days – Price: $47 USD
Unlimited data valid for 20 days – Price: $54 USD
Unlimited data valid for 30 days – Price: $64 USD
Unlimited data valid for 60 days – Price: $87 USD

What is an eSim?

The eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a digital replacement for physical SIM cards found in devices like smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. Unlike traditional SIM cards, the eSIM is built into the device and does not require physical insertion or removal.

Instead, the eSIM is seamlessly integrated within the device’s hardware and can be remotely activated and programmed by a mobile network operator. This allows users to easily switch between different mobile networks or plans without the need to physically swap out SIM cards.

The eSIM technology offers numerous benefits, such as convenience, flexibility, and user-friendliness, particularly for frequent travelers or individuals who regularly switch mobile networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the hassle of purchasing and inserting physical SIM cards, making it more convenient to manage multiple mobile connections on a single device.

To activate an eSIM, users can either scan a QR code provided by their mobile network operator or manually input the activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the chosen mobile network and access voice, data, and messaging services, just like with a traditional SIM card.

Why Use an eSim?

There are several reasons why using an eSIM can be beneficial. Firstly, it provides convenience by eliminating the need to physically insert or remove a SIM card when switching networks or plans. This is especially useful for frequent travelers who may need to use different SIM cards in different countries.

Secondly, eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality, meaning you can have two active mobile numbers on the same device. This is great for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.

Additionally, eSIMs save space as they are embedded within the device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot. This allows manufacturers to make devices smaller or use the extra space for other components.

Furthermore, eSIMs enable remote provisioning, allowing for activation and management of mobile plans over the air. This means you can switch to a new plan without needing a physical SIM card or visiting a store, offering greater flexibility and convenience.

Lastly, by using an eSIM-compatible device, you ensure future-proofing as more mobile networks and service providers support eSIMs. This allows you to take advantage of new services and offerings as they become available.

Overall, eSIM technology provides flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it a compelling choice for many users.

eSim Supported Phones

eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:

Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.

Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.

Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.

OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.

Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.

These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.

How to Use an eSim

Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!

Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:

Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.

Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.

Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.

Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.

Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.

Mitchell

Mitchell

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. I've travelled all around the world, using and testing countless travel sim cards along the way. I'm the founder of and writer for Travel Sim Expert where I write guides to help travellers stay connected all around the world.

Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is. 

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