How to Buy a Local SIM Card in Japan

A local SIM Card is useful if you are visiting Japan for business or for an extended period of time. This will save money on phone calls and data charges. Foreign visitors can purchase specific traveller SIM cards which are available throughout the larger cities. There are a number of different SIM cards for tourists which offer a variety of options. Here you find all information about how to buy a local SIM card in Japan.

Pre-Paid Data Only Sim Cards in JAPAN

How to Buy a Local SIM Card in Japan

Whilst free Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, coffee shops and restaurants, in order to be connected throughout your trip a data only SIM Card is the best option. The country has had many restrictions on local SIM cards for foreign visitors, however, those who are visiting Japan for tourism will easily be able to purchase one.

This type of SIM will only offer access to the internet rather than phone calls and text messages. The majority of Bic Camera shops which are in major shopping locations sell prepaid data SIM cards and also offer to configure the card for an additional fee – though this is easy to do. Bic Camera shops can be found throughout the country. There are two types of prepaid data SIM cards for foreign visitors that last for either 30 days or 3 months.

Voice and Data Sim Cards in JAPAN

If you need to make phone calls during your visit, then a prepaid voice and data SIM is the best option. These cards cost around 10,000 Japanese Yen (ca. 90 USD) which include 60 minutes call time (including international phone calls) and 3 GB data. The SIM cards only last one week so be sure to activate it once you need it.

Unlike the data only card, this card requires a form of identification. Users must upload their identification online with a photograph and proof of address before the SIM card will work. Though this may sound complicated, once verified, the SIM card is simple to use and is a fantastic option for freelance travellers.

Other Options for SIM cards in JAPAN

As Japan uses 3G as their main network, some international phones may not receive signal. In this case, another option is to rent a Japanese phone. These can be pre-ordered online and are far cheaper than the Voice and Data SIM cards.

For those who opt for a prepaid SIM card, make sure to unlock your phone before entering Japan.