Japanese Mobile Network Operators
According to opensignal.com – reports, NTT DoCoMo provides the fastest download speeds, best availability, and consistency. Softbank triumphs in consistency, video and voice app experience while Rakuten has the best upload speed and voice app experience.
MVNOs in Japan are companies that do not own the network infrastructure, but instead buy network services from one or multiple mobile network operators then resell those services under their own brand name, and set retail prices independently.
Mobile Data/ Call/ SIM Options
Most Japanese mobile service providers do not offer voice plans for tourists visiting the country except for Mobal (mobal.com – Japanese SIM at about USD57 for 30 days of unlimited data). Mobal uses the Softbank Network.
Tourists can still use data plans through prepaid SIM cards, but voice plans require proof of residency.
*For Unlimited Data – Your connection speed can be slowed if you exceed the fair use policy (FUP) data usage limit.
eSIM allows users to switch between mobile carriers or plans without having to physically change the SIM card. It can be activated remotely instantly, making it easier and quicker to start using a new device or plan. Make sure your device supports eSIM before purchasing the plan.
Airalo Moshi Moshi eSIM
With eSIMs from Airalo, download and install the airalo app, choose your destination package, install and activate eSIM and be connected the second you land in Japan. The price is cheaper than the usual data roaming charges. 10GB with a validity of 30 days costs USD18 (JPY2300).
NETWORK: NTT DOCOMO, Rakuten, KDDI (au)
PLAN TYPE: Data Only
ACTIVATION POLICY: The validity period starts when the eSIM connects to any supported network/s.
eKYC (IDENTITY VERIFICATION): Not Required
TOP-UP OPTION: Available
However if you mobile phone is not eSIM enabled, then you can opt for a physical SIM card.
Buy Online or from Stores
You can purchase the SIM card online before your trip, have it delivered to their dedicated pick-up locations such as airport or to your accommodation in Japan.
B-mobile – VISITOR SIM 7GB/21days Prepaid at USD23 (JPY2970). B-mobile provides data on NTT Docomo’s 3G/4G network
Nippon SIM – Many options for 30 days use or more, Docomo or Softbank network
- 10GB for 30 days at JPY2,780 using Softbank network
- 15GB for 180 days at JPY3,280 using Docomo network
Which Stores in Japan Sell Japanese SIM
Yodobashi Camera (IIJmio Japan Travel SIM, Comst T-SIM, B-mobile, Nippon SIM), BIC Camera, AEON, Yamada Denki, selected international airports, convenience stores and electronic shops
Online Only – Pick Up or Ship to You
mobal.com – Short Term SIM at about USD57 (JPY7500) for 30 days of unlimited data. Mobal uses the Softbank network. Free shipping to many countries internationally. Data + Voice
Sakura Mobile Tourist SIM card – JPY4,950 ～ tax included for 8 Days of Unlimited data. Operates under DOCOMO’s 4G/LTE network.
You can buy a prepaid SIM card for Japan before arriving in the country online. Some online retailers offer international shipping (Mobal.com, simcardgeek.com or your local third party booking platform such as Klook), so you can purchase a Japanese prepaid SIM card and have it delivered to your home before your trip.
- SIMcard GEEK – Japan Data SIM Card 7GB Data for 30 Days at JPY4,980. FREE WORLDWIDE DELIVERY. Works on Japan’s Docomo network.
Compared to other data plans for mobile phones, Pocket Wifi can be more affordable, especially for those who need data for multiple devices. However you need to carry the pocket wifi wherever you go to remain connected and have to return it at the end of the rental period. Locked mobile phones that are unable to use a Japanese SIM can opt for pocket wifi instead.
Sakura Mobile Pocket Wifi – JPY329 /DAY～, tax incl, operates under DOCOMO’s 4G/LTE network. Unlimited data.
- Place order at least 3 days prior to your pick up date.
- You can pick it up at various places in Japan including Airport / hotel / local post offices / residential addresses.
- To return, simply drop the package into mailboxes. Package includes prepaid return envelope. Drop it before midnight of your return date.
These days you can purchase Data Roaming Add-ons at much more competitive prices, depending on which country you are from. It is simpler to setup and there’s no need to physically swap the SIM card.