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best sim card japan

The 8 Best Japan SIM Cards in 2022

Author: Anthony Lee

Phone & Tablet Expert

best japan sim card

Traveling to Japan and looking for a Prepaid SIM Card? We will tell you how good the coverage in Japan is, which providers you can choose from and where you can buy the cheapest SIM card in Japan.

Even abroad, everybody wants to be always reachable anywhere you go. But a quick call or a quick look at Facebook and other social media platforms can be expensive at the end of the month. So-called roaming charges apply if you want to use your smartphone abroad.

A SIM card for Japan is worthwhile for anyone who wants to stay in the Asian country for a long time. As in other western countries, there are high fees for using your current local SIM card in Asia & Japan. Fortunately, there is the possibility to buy a SIM Card before you leave for your trip. A quick online comparison provides an overview of the best offers. 

Here are our favorite Prepaid SIM Cards for Japan.

AIS SIM2FLY - Non-Stop Mobile Internet in Japan

The mobile provider AIS from Thailand has expanding aggressively in the last few years and is now providing an excellent internet service in Japan. They have committed themselves to provide convenient service to the customer with a reliable network on top.

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TrueMove - Travel Asia SIM for Japan

TrueMove H is Thailand’s number 1 mobile provider for 4G, 3G, & WiFi. With its excellent customer service, great data packages deals and the ever-expanding network coverage, you can enjoy mobile internet everywhere in Japan. You will not have to sign any contract and you are guaranteed to not pay any additional roaming charges.

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China Unicom - Unlimited Data SIM Card for Japan

China Unicom is the leading mobile internet provider from China offering its service across borders. With the vast variety of SIM Card offers for different countries, China Unicom has established itself as a reliable mobile internet provider. The Japan SIM Card provided by Cuniq does not need to be registered, no contract is required and you pay only a fixed price.

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Docomo - Data Sim for Japan

Docomo is the leading mobile internet provider in Japan. The translation of Docomo means “do communications over the mobile network everywhere”. It is Japan’s largest telecommunication provider by subscribers. Travelers can enjoy their Prepaid SIM Card offers which do not need to be registered and work as soon as SIM Card is inserted into the smartphone.

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OneSimCard - International SIM Card for Japan

When it comes to international SIM Cards, we definitely cannot overlook OneSimCard. This international mobile service providers offered Prepaid SIM Cards for more than 200 countries worldwide. They allow free incoming calls from 162 countries. So if you need to enjoy mobile data service in Japan and would like to be able to receive calls, then OneSimCard is the right choice for you!

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KeepGo - Roaming SIM Card for Japan

You may have not heard about KeepGo before but this company is an official partner of Vodafone, Telefonica and AT&T.  The SIM Card provided by KeepGo is valid forever – without any contract! If you need to use internet in Japan, you simply upload some credit and off you go. It is the most convenient option available if you are traveling to Japan several times per year.

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Mobal - Japan Sim for Calls & Texts

Mobal was founded by an international traveler who became frustrated by the insane roaming costs abroad. Their focus is providing service to American travelers going to Europe. Nonetheless, they offer a wide range of Talk & Text only SIM cards that allow you to connect to the mobile internet in Japan.

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FAQ - SIM Card for Japan

Smartphone Requirements for a Japan SIM Card

If you want to use your smartphone in Japan, you need to make sure that it is UMTS-compatible. In Japan the GSM technology is not existing anymore. This type of data transmission uses a different frequency which makes it impossible to use if your smartphone only supports GSM. You can ask your internet service provider if your phone supports UMTS or GSM or do a quick online research.

In addition, the your phone must be unlocked. If you bought your mobile phone with a contract, you may only be able to use SIM cards from your current provider.

However, the required SIM card size is not a problem: Most SIM Cards available today come in the different sizes standard, micro and nano. You can easily adapt the SIM Card to fit your smartphone.

Special Features of Japan SIM Cards

If you do not have a UMTS-compatible smartphone, you can use rental models in Japan or buy prepaid cards that allow you to make calls, write text messages and browse the Internet. However, these cards are only issued to visitors in Japan after a stay of at least three months. If you then want to purchase a SIM card, you must identify yourself with a resident card (Japanese residence permit).

However, the purchase of a data-only SIM Card is available for everyone. Such SIM Cards are easily accessible in SIM card slot machine in Tokyo. The disadvantage is that the Prepaid SIM Cards can usually only be used for a week or two. If you stay in the country for a longer period of time and want to be reachable by phone for Japanese business partners, these offers might not be enough for you.

The Perfect SIM Card for Japan

Anyone who travels to Japan frequently for business trips or regularly vacation trips should look out for a suitable SIM card before leaving for the trip. There are SIM Card offers that allow you to be reachable by phone and text message even if you are staying in Japan for less than three months.

For example, there are cards where an incoming call or receiving an SMS within Japan is free of charge on weekdays. Ideally, such a SIM card has a European number to be able to make calls to Europe relatively cheaper. This is worthwhile for everyone who wants to be easily accessible not only within Japan, but also for their contacts in Europe.

These SIM Cards can easily be topped up over the Internet. This means that users have no limited data volume, no limited number of SMS messages and still have absolute cost control. The cost of a megabyte, a text message or a minute’s call depends of course on the provider – however, the costs are always lower than the roaming fee charges that would apply with your local SIM Card.

Especially those who travel to Japan frequently should make sure that the SIM Card can be used for a longer time. Frequent travelers save costs if the card does not need to be topped up within the year. The best case would that the SIM Card is valid for lifetime (see KeepGo offer).

How to Active the SIM Card in Japan?

You may have to change the settings on your smartphone so that the SIM card works without problems in Japan. It is often necessary to change the APN (Access Point Name), but this can be done in just a few steps. Often the SIM card comes with a description that explains how to change the APN. You can use your hotel’s WiFi for this process or other freely accessible WiFi if you face any problems.

What happens to my mobile phone contract?

Most mobile service providers outside of Japan can no longer fulfill their service in Japan. In addition, you may face expensive roaming charges in Japan. So it makes no sense to continue your existing contract. You can better save that money and invest in sightseeing tours around Japan.

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Last product update on 2022-09-29 | Source: Amazon Affiliate