Best Prepaid Data Sim Card in Japan for Tourists in 2018 and 2019

Best Prepaid Data Sim Card in Japan for Tourists

A Japan travel sim card is a great option for easy and convenient access to the internet without going through the hassle of finding free wifi hotspots and the associated security concerns. It’s common for your accommodation provider to offer wifi for guests but once you step outside you won’t be able to use it anymore.

Access to the internet is even more important as a traveller – uploading photos, using social media, and finding your way around with Google Maps and public transport information are just a few examples of when you will need it. Here’s another article on some of the apps we have found useful when travelling to Japan.

It’s not possible to buy sim cards directly through the major Japanese telcos such as NTT Docomo and SoftBank. You need to purchase through virtual network operators such as Sakura Mobile or from online travel agencies such as Klook, or buy Japan travel sim cards in stores such as Bic Camera. We have done the research for you to allow you to quickly compare a range of sim card options available through Sakura Mobile, Mobal, Klook, Get Your Guide and Amazon. Between the different providers there are a wide range of pick-up options available.

Before getting into the details about the different Japan tourist sim card options, a pro tip is to pre-order your sim card at least one week before you depart. This reduces stress by knowing you will have ready access to the internet almost straight away and ensures you will be able to get a sim card in Japan, even during peak travel times. Make sure you also double check the pick-up options in advance particularly if you are on an early or late flight.

If you are relocating to Japan as a student or expatriate worker, we have also provided information on two options to easily purchase a data plus voice plus SMS sim card on a monthly plan.

Disclaimer:  This article contains affiliate links.  If you book after clicking on one of these links then we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

You are also welcome to join our Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group – it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Japan!

Japan Travel Sim Card Compared With Japan Portable Pocket Wifi Rental – Pros and Cons

When my family travels overseas, we have used both travel sim cards and portable wifi units and over time have learnt the pros and cons for both. Here are my thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of both.

It can be a bit of a hassle to install a sim card in Japan for tourist usage such as accessing your phone apps, but once you have put the sim card in it can be more convenient than a wifi unit. Firstly, you don’t need to be mindful of turning your phone on and off to save battery life unlike with a portable wifi. You also don’t need to return it at the end of your stay in Japan and you will have one less device to carry around. It’s also easy to use your phone as a mobile hot spot if you have a generous data allowance.

If you are going to use your phone and a prepaid sim in Japan you will want to check that your phone is unlocked and is compatible with the Japanese network you will be using through Will My Phone Work. Also, make sure your phone settings are correct to avoid additional charges. If you use a major network such as SoftBank and Docomo you should have reasonable network coverage in both urban and rural areas.  Regardless of whether you use a data sim card or pocket wifi, if you plan to travel to areas which are a distance from a town centre you may not have network coverage.

Pocket wifi units make it very easy to connect multiple devices which make them very useful if you are going to travel with a group of people that all require internet access. In this situation you would want a pocket wifi device with a generous data allowance as it is common practice for speed to be reduced when you exceed your data allowance. For many portable wifi routers battery life is about 6-9 hours, so you will either need to conserve your battery life, recharge the unit, or use an external power bank.

If you prefer to rent a portable pocket wifi I suggest you check out our Best Online Pocket Wifi Rental In Japan For Tourists article to assist you to choose the option which will suit you best.

Japanese Prepaid Data Sim Card Options

What sim card will best suit your needs for your trip to Japan? The answer to this question depends on your individual needs with considerations such as:

  • How long you will be travelling
  • What will you be using the data allowance for
  • How often you will need to use data
  • Whether you require voice and SMS services or data only

This article provides an overview of the features and costs for various travel sim card options in Japan from Klook and Sakura Mobile.

Data only plans along with apps such as Skype or Whatsapp should suit most people. Think about setting up a Skype number so you can easily call people and they can easily call you.

Costs are accurate as at 22 October 2018, but prices may go up or down depending on product pricing, exchange rate changes and various promotions offered by the different providers.  This article will be periodically updated to reflect the latest prices.

 

Japan Sim Card Data only – Short Term Travel

Below is a comparison table of the data only SIM card options for Japan travel for 30 days or less. These are the most common types of sim card available for tourists. Click on the links to check out further information and to make your booking. The details for pick-up locations can be found at the end of the article.

Providers Features Cost
Sakura Mobile

Click here to pre-book through Sakura Mobile

Network provider: NTT Docomo

Flexible rental period

Wide range of delivery and pick-up options

Speed throttled to 200Kbps beyond data allowance

Nano sim card + size adapter. Sim card size can also be specified

Card is pre-activated

Regular shipping for 3 days or more in advance, otherwise express

Top-up data is available online from $US13.70 per GB

3GB Sim Card: $US31 +  $US0.46 rental per day

5GB Sim Card: $US40 + $US0.46 rental per day

10GB Sim Card:  $US62 + $US0.46 rental per day

30GB Sim Card:  $US177 + $US0.46 rental per day

Mobal

Click here to pre-book through Mobal

Network Provider: Softbank

Works for 30 days from date of first usage or until data allowance is used up.

Card is pre-activated

Multi-size SIM works in any unlocked device.

Free standard (5-10 business days) worldwide shipping. Expedited shipping also available.

Various pickup locations in Tokyo, Osaka, Sendai or Singapore

3GB Sim Card: $US31

10GB Sim Card: $US53

SIM Card Geek

Click here to pre-book through SIM Card Geek

NOTE: Mobal SIM cards are also available through this link.

Unlimited Japan Data SIM

Network Provider: NTT Docomo

Unlimited 4G LTE data, speed may be throttled if use is excessive

Card is pre-activated

Multi-size SIM card. SIM adapters and ejector included

Free worldwide 5-12 day shipping included. 2-3 day shipping is available from $US13

If you order more than a few weeks in advance, SIM card won’t be shipped immediately. It will be shipped a few weeks before you travel.

You can also arrange for your card to be picked up from post offices located within airports.

Unlimited Japan Data SIM

8 days – $US35

16 days – $US53

31 days – $US67

Klook

Click here to pre-book through Klook

Network provider: NTT Docomo

Speed throttled to 200Kbps beyond data allowance

Nano or micro sim card

1GB 6 days – $US9.49

3GB 8 days – $US12.89

Unlimited 8 days – $US19.55 (Speed reduced to 3G speed after data usage exceeds 30GB)

Amazon

Click here to book through Amazon

Multi-country AIS sim card

Provides access to data in 14 countries including:

  • Japan, South Korea, Singapore,
  • Malaysia, Hong Kong, Laos,
  • India, Taiwan, Macao,
  • Philippines, Cambodia, Myanmar,
  • Nepal and Australia

Data throttled to 128Kbps after 4GB of use.

8 days 4G Unlimited data

Pricing as detailed in the Amazon box on the left hand side

Delivery to your home before you depart

Amazon

Click here to book through Amazon

eConnect Japan Only Prepaid SIM Card

High Speed Internet under Docomo 4G/LTE Network

No Daily Limit, No Fair Usage Policy, No Speed Restriction

Make Top Ups & Check Data Balance with eConnect Mobile App (iOS, Android)

3-in-1 type for all SIM Sizes (nano, micro and mini)

1GB Data for up to 15 days

Pricing as detailed in the Amazon box on the left hand side

Delivery to your home before you depart

International Delivery from the Amazon USA store

Get Your Guide

Click here to pre-book through Get Your Guide

Nano sim

Uses NTT Docomo network

Book at least 7 days in advance to secure booking

7 days – $US26.82

15 days – $US39.53

Unlimited LTE data speed for both

 

Japan Sim Card – Data + Voice + SMS 

Below is a comparison table of the data plus voice plus SMS SIM card options for Japan.  These are available primarily for foreigners staying in Japan for longer periods, such as students and expats.  Note that Mobal sim cards can also be used by tourists as they offer set periods of 30, 60 or 90 days.  A 30-day card can be used for less than 30 days.

Click on the links to check out further information and to make your booking. The details for pick-up locations can be found at the end of the article.

Providers Features Cost
Mobal

Click here to pre-book through Mobal

Network Provider: Softbank

Activitate for 30/60/90 days or an ongoing monthly service.

No contract and no residence visa required.

Unlimited data (7GB per month at 4G speed. Speed reduces to 128 Kbps if you use more than that).

Unlimited free incoming calls and texts. Free calls to other MOBAL Japan sims.

Comes with SIM card adapter kit for use with nano, micro and standard SIM card slots

Free worldwide shipping or various pickup locations in Tokyo, Osaka, Sendai or Singapore

SIM Purchase Price – $US27 +

$US40 per month for data + voice + SMS plan.

US 25 cents per minute for domestic calls. US 57 cents per minute for international calls to 26 countries (inc. Australia, Canada, US, UK, etc). $US1.77 per minute for other countries.

Domestic texts are US 10.5 cents per text and international texts are $US1.24 per text.

Sakura Mobile

Click here to pre-book through Sakura Mobile

Network Provider: NTT Docomo

No contract, for 90 days or more as an ongoing monthly service, can cancel at any time

30 or more free minutes (can be used for domestic or international calls)

Unlimited free incoming calls and texts.

Your temporary data only sim card can be picked up at the airport.  Once your residence card process has been completed and your address in Japan has been confirmed, your voice sim card will be delivered to your residential address.

Initial Fee – $US44

3GB – $US26 per month

5GB – $US35 per month

7GB – $US44 per month

10GB – $US59 per month

US 35 cents per minute for domestic calls. International calls from US 27 cents per minute.

 

Japan Data Only Sim Cards – Pick-Up in Bangkok and Hong Kong

Klook also has a variety of options to purchase sim cards for pick-up outside of Japan, including from Bangkok and Hong Kong.

Providers Features Cost
Klook – Bangkok Pick-up

Click here to book through Klook

Pick-up at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) – Klook Counter, B Floor, RC6 (beside Airport Rail-Link Station). Pick up between 8am and 11pm daily.

Multi-country AIS sim card – Provides coverage in up to 40 countries (15 day plan) and 15 countries (8 day plan)

Data throttled to 128Kbps after 4GB of use for both 8 and 15 day plans

Standard/micro and nano sim card size

8 days 4G unlimited data sim card – $US10.45

15 days 4G unlimited data sim card – $US26.15

 

 

Klook – Hong Kong Pick-up

Click here to book through Klook

Pick-up at Hong Kong International Terminal Airport Terminal 1, Arrival Hall, Counter A13. Pickup between 7am and 11pm.

Network provider: NTT Docomo

Data throttled to 128Kbps after 2GB of use

Nano or micro sim

8 day 4G unlimited data sim card – $US13.79

 

Sim Card Pickup Locations – Tokyo, Osaka, Chubu, Chitose

Prepaid data sim cards can be picked-up in various cities throughout Japan including Tokyo, Osaka, Chubu and Chitose.  Detailed information is contained in each vendor’s sales page, ensure you check this information to have confidence that you can pick up to suit your schedule.

Sakura Mobile Sim Card Pick Up Locations

Sakura Mobile sim cards have a very flexible range of pick-up and delivery locations including international airport counters (Narita, Haneda and Kansai), delivery to hotels within Japan, post office branches and residential addresses including AirBnB. Regular shipping is used for orders for 3 days or more in advance, otherwise express shipping options are also available.

Click here to book through Sakura Mobile

Mobal Data Only Sim Card and Data + Voice + SMS Sim Card Pick Up Locations

One great feature of both Mobal Data Only SIM Cards and Mobal Data + Voice + SMS Sim cards is that they offer free worldwide delivery. Otherwise, you can pick-up your Mobal Sim Cards at 3 different locations in Narita Airport Terminal 1 and there is also a pick-up location in Terminal 2. You can also collect your Mobal SIM card at Haneda Airport, the Shibuya Tourist Information Centre or Tokyo Mobile Phone Shop in Shinjuku. The other pick-up locations are at Osaka Airport, Sendai Airport or the Japan Rail Cafe in Singapore.

Click here to book through Mobal

Sim Card Geek Pick Up Locations

Free worldwide 5-12 day shipping included. 2-3 day shipping is available from $US13.  If you order more than a few weeks in advance, the SIM card won’t be shipped immediately. It will be shipped a few weeks before you travel.  You can also arrange for your card to be picked up from post offices located within airports – more information on the airport collection process is available after you click through to their website.

Click here to book through Sim Card Geek

Klook Sim Card Pickup Locations

Below are the pickup locations for sim cards ordered through Klook.

  • Tokyo – Narita International Airport
    • Terminal 1 – International Arrival Lobby (1F), South Wing, Easygo Counter (8:30am to 10:00pm).
    • Terminal 2 – International Arrival Lobby (1F), Central Building, Easygo Counter (8:30am to 10:00pm).
  • Tokyo – Haneda International Airport – International Terminal Arrival Lobby (2F), Easygo counter located on the right hand side on the arrival lobby exit (8:30am to 10:00pm).
  • Osaka – Kansai Airport – Terminal 1 – International Arrival Floor, Easygo Counter located next to the north exit.
  • Osaka – City Air Terminal (JR Namba Station) – Japan Holiday Travel OCAT Tourist Information Center (1F) (8:30am to 8:30pm)
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport – Arrival Lobby (2F), Easygo Counter (9:30am to 6:30pm)
  • Chitose International Airport – Arrival Lobby (2F), Easygo Counter (9:30am to 6:30pm)
Click here to pre-order through Klook

 

Best Prepaid Data Sim Card in Japan for Tourists

You are also welcome to join our Japan Travel Planning Facebook Group – it is a great resource to enable you to ask questions about your upcoming trip to Japan!

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3 Comments

  • Dang dude… My mother in law showed up so fast here in Fukuoka and we’re not able to have a second to think about getting a card. It’s been a pain walking around with no internet/cell for her here. Lot of missed connections when we go to see her at the hotel. 🙁 Airports make me just want to leave them as fast possible :/

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