Majestic mountains and legendary creatures, gleaming robots and even more radiant samurai; journeying through Japan with a backpack is an enchanting adventure. Over 70% of Japan boasts impressive volcanic ridges and peaks crowned with snow. These mountains, deeply embedded in religious and cultural reverence, are a haven for adventure enthusiasts.

During my backpacking adventure in Japan, I constantly felt safe but there were challenges and frustrations to overcome…

Are you planning your dream trip to Japan? Good on you but my words, there is a lot to prepare for. From deciding which iconic temples to visit, ensuring you have sunscreen for those hot summer days, to exchanging your currency for yen – there’s a lot to remember and a lot to do.

But have you given a thought to getting your Sim Card for Japan ready? Well overlooking this little detail could mean your regular SIM card doesn’t function or could even rack up unexpected expenses. Fret not though! We’re here to assist you with this definitive guide on choosing the best SIM Card for Japan.

Product
Description
GigSky Japan
GigSky Japan

GigSky Japan

  • Price > From $0.00
Jetpac Japan
Jetpac Japan

Jetpac Japan

  • Price > From $13.00
SimOptions eSIM Japan
SimOptions eSIM Japan

SimOptions eSIM Japan

  • Price > From $4.90
Sim Local eSIM Japan
Sim Local eSIM Japan

Sim Local eSIM Japan

  • Price > From $4.97
Shiretoko National Park mountain views
Stunning views from Shiretoko National Park

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you. Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more.

Why Buy a SIM Card For Japan?

In today’s age, a smartphone is an essential travel companion. It helps you translate that tricky kanji on a menu, navigate through Tokyo’s bustling streets, find a local date or instantly share your trip highlights on Instagram. 

Views from Nachi Falls, Japan, cascading down a mountainside
Nature showing off in Nachi Falls Japan

But, relying on your native SIM to get online in Japan could mean inconsistent service or excessive charges. This is why getting a SIM Card for Japan is crucial.

Unlock Our GREATEST Travel Secrets!

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best travel tips delivered right to your inbox.










    Buying a SIM Card For Japan – Things To Consider

    But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing the right SIM cards for travelling Japan. Let’s delve into the vital considerations for choosing a SIM card in Japan.

    Price

    While everyone loves a good deal, don’t let a cheap initial package fool you. Sometimes, the initial cost might be low, but the subsequent top-ups might burn a hole in your pocket. For instance, some providers may offer a SIM for just ¥1000, but data top-ups could cost a lot more.

    Data

    Monitor your daily data usage before your trip and consider that you might well use a lot more while travelling. For instance, streaming the cherry blossom festivals might use more data than you anticipate, as will having to translate more or less every conversation…

    Coverage

    Japan is a surreal mix of urban cities and rural landscapes. While Tokyo might have impeccable internet coverage, the remote villages in Kyoto might not. Research is pivotal here so know precisely where you will be staying in Japan, and try to find a provider who offers a good level of courage across all of these areas and regions.

    Bureaucracy

    Acquiring a SIM in Japan is usually a seamless process, but always be ready with your identification just in case.

    Expiration

    Always check the SIM’s lifespan. If you’re in Japan for a 3-month internship, ensure your SIM doesn’t expire before that. Many tourist-friendly SIMs have a 7, 14, or 28-day lifespan on them.

    The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
    mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

    A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

    An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

    Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

    Grab an eSIM!

    Where To Buy a SIM Card For Japan?

    You may already know that Japan is something of a capitalist, consumerist mecca, and there is no shortage of places to buy things. As such, Japan offers an abundance of places to purchase a tourist-friendly SIM card:

    A top view from Osaka Castle Japan

    eSIM

    In case you don’t know what an eSIM is, it’s an electronic, non-physical SIM; a SIM card without a SIM card. Instead of opening up your phone, and slotting in a new tiny little plastic SIM, you simply download the e-SIM package onto your phone just as you would an app or piece of software.

    Pre-flight purchases is a great advantage, and for this reason, we LOVE eSIM. However, be sure that your device is eSIM compatible.

    In The Airport

    A classic option for buying a travel SIM is to buy it at the airport as soon as you land. Most modern airports have SIMs and phone kiosks sat just outside of the baggage reclaim sections offering instant, easy SIM access to travellers. Often, the staff here speak some English and will get you connected right away.

    However, everything for sale in an airport is at a jacked-up price including airport SIMs. You can usually get a much better SIM deal from a wider offering of Japanese SIM providers once you get away from the airport into the city.

    Furthermore, if you land at a peak time the airport SIM kiosks can be mega-busy.

    At a Store

    There are cell phone stores across Japan and you can find at least one in every neighbourhood inside of a major city. Then electronic stores like Bic Camera, or Yodobashi offer a wide variety of SIM cards, and some convenience stores like Seven-Eleven (7/11) sell SIM cards too. However, if you want to buy in a store do ensure that you have your passport ready for verification.

    kimono Kyoto Japan

    Vending Machines

    Japan’s efficiency is evident with its tech-savvy vending machines, even offering SIM cards in certain locations. These vending machines in Japan have some very strange things on sale which we would rather not go into here…

    Online

    Purchasing online before your trip ensures you’re prepared and ready to get online upon arrival as soon as you switch your phone back on. While many Japanese-specific SIMs might not be available internationally, global providers like Jetpac are and can be bought at home.

    Best Japan SIM Card Providers

    There’s a diverse array of SIM card options in Japan, from the best international providers to specialized carriers exclusive to the country.

    Here are some top Japan SIM card picks:

    GigSky

    Gigsky simcard

    Established in 2010 and based in Palo Alto, California, GigSky is a mobile technology firm that specialises in providing e-SIM and SIM card data services to travellers across the globe. Distinguishing itself from the majority of eSIM providers, GigSky operates as an independent Network Operator, collaborating with over 400 carriers worldwide.

    GigSky offers a range of packages for Japan including a tasty ‘try before you buy’ deal that gives you 100MB of data for 7 days.

    • 1GB – $5.49 – 7 Days
    • 3 GB – $15.49 – 15 Days
    • 5 GB – $25.99 – 30 Days
    • 10 GB – $49.99 – 30 Days

    Jetpac

    Jetpac eSim
    Jetpac eSim

    As our world gets smaller, staying connected while travelling becomes not just a luxury but an absolute necessity. Enter Jetpac, a cutting-edge travel eSIM provider promising seamless connectivity at low costs, across the globe.

    Based out of Singapore Jetpac offers packages, designed primarily for travellers and Digital Nomads. They offer various data plans that can be used across many countries, and the service includes features like free airport lounge access if your flight is delayed.

    Good news, Jetpac eSIMs are compatible with a range of devices, including many models from Apple, Samsung, and Google. If technology isn’t your strong point, don’t panic, it’s simple and straightforward to activate a Jetpac eSIM. Users need to sign up on the Jetpac website or app, choose a plan that fits their travel needs, and then scan a QR code to install the eSIM on their device.

    We love Jetpac for its ease of setup and reliable connectivity. JetPac makes it a handy tool for international travel, ensuring continuous access to mobile data across multiple destinations. While they don’t offer local numbers, we love that most of their packs last for 30 days by default so you can just concentrate on how much data you need.

    Sim Options

    Homepage of SimOptions website
    SimOptions

    SimOptions is a reputable global marketplace that specialises in offering high-quality prepaid eSIMs for travellers in over 200 destinations worldwide. The platform has been dedicated to providing the best possible eSIM and international sim options at the most competitive rates for travellers since 2018. They rigorously test and select eSIMs to ensure that you receive the best connectivity and service wherever you travel.

    As well as effectively acting as a broker from a number of other eSIM providers, SimOptions also offer their own eSIM products too.

    Basically, SimOptions is kind of like a market comparison website for eSIMs. You simply type in your destination and they bring up the different eSIM options from a wide number of prospective providers and suppliers

    Sim Local

    sim local homepage
    Sim Local

    Irish based Sim Local specialise in providing eSIM services, primarily targeted at global travellers to help them stay connected without incurring expensive roaming charges. Based in Dublin and London, Sim Local sells local SIM cards and eSIM profiles through their retail outlets, vending machines, and online platforms.

    Sim Local offers a variety of eSIM plans that can be activated instantly and are designed to provide a convenient and secure way to stay connected in numerous countries. Their services are beneficial for those who travel frequently, as they provide the option to switch between multiple eSIM profiles on a single device, depending on the user’s location and needs.

    They also offer pretty comprehensive customer support and a range of payment options, including Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, all processed securely via Stripe.

    HolaFly

    HolaFly Japan

    HolaFly is an eSIM provider based in Spain and headquartered in the very hip and trendy city of Valencia. They offer affordable, generous eSIM packages in over 120 destinations by partnering with local carriers worldwide to ensure reliable and accessible data packages for travellers.

    To explore, and purchase HolaFly’s eSIM packages, travellers can visit their website or download the HolaFly app, and search for their destination. It covers a bunch of destinations if you’re travelling further into Asia and presents all the relevant information, including pricing, data amount, and expiry periods, in a clear and easy-to-understand format.

    Let’s look at the perks of HolaFly’s Japan SIM Packages;

    • Unlimited cellular data connection in Japan.
    • Receive your QR code and activate it instantly.
    • Easy to set up. No registrations or subscriptions.
    • Keep your WhatsApp number on your cellphone.

    The package types are simple. All offer unlimited data over a specified period of days. The 5-day package costs $19.00 and the $90.00 package costs $99.00

    Mobal

    Mobal Mobile offers a variety of plans, including data-only SIM cards, voice + data SIM cards, eSim, and even pocket Wi-Fi devices. This makes them a very versatile choice for different types of users of travellers.

    Let’s take a look at some of their top Japan travel SIM card packages;

    • 8 days $30 25 GB
    • 16 days $41 50 GB
    • 31 days $47 50 GB

    IIJMIO

    IIJmio offers a variety of prepaid data-only plans as well as voice plans. Crucially though, IIJmio offers short-term data SIM cards for tourists or visitors including their 1GB per day for 30 days package at $30.00.

    Of course, 1GB of data is simply not going to be enough for some of you out there.

    What is The Best SIM card in Japan for Tourists?

    Sim Card in Japan
    PackagePrice (basic sim)Top Ups Allowed?Expiration
    OneSimCard eSIM World$13.00YNA
    OneSim eSIM Asiana$29.99YNA
    HolaFly Japan eSim$19.00Y5 days
    Nomad Japan eSim$9Y1 day
    Sakura Mobile$41N8 days
    IIJMIO$30.00Y30 days

    Final Thoughts on Getting a SIM Card For Japan

    Japan, with its mix of traditional, and ultra-modern attractions, offers an experience like no other. There is so much to see, do, experience, and eat. And it is guaranteed to prove to be a trip of a lifetime.

    To get the most out of your Japanese journey, just be sure to equip yourself with a reliable SIM card before you go. Whichever provider you select, we’re eager to hear about your experiences in the Land of the Rising Sun.

    Oh, one more thing. Make sure you can actually use your phone by keeping it charged with a Japanese travel adapter!

    Did you find this post helpful? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

    japan
    Google translate got me here.
    Photo: @themanwiththetinyguitar