Created for expats living in Japan

Buying a SIM Card in Japan

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If you plan to move to or visit Japan, or if you are already a resident of Japan, mobile phones with local SIM cards are a must-have. They are necessary in both your personal and professional lives. Because there are so many different SIM card possibilities in Japan, deciding which plan is ideal for you may appear to be tough. This guide will assist you in determining which SIM card is suitable for you.

What is a SIM Card?

A SIM card is a small chip that can be inserted into your mobile phone which stores information about your network. It is a quick way for a network to identify your device and ensures that the customer can connect to services they pay for, without a lengthy setup.

No personal information is stored on SIM cards, although you can store contact information and numbers for contacts. This has become less common since the introduction of smartphones.

Are There Different Types of SIM Cards?

All SIM cards allow users a certain amount of data depending on the plan they have. However, there are SIM cards with voice capability (Data+Voice) and SIM cards without voice capability (Data-Only). Having voice capability simply means that you have a Japanese phone number and that you are able to make traditional phone calls and send SMS.

Even with a data-only SIM card without voice capability, you can use what’s called VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, which is just another fancy way of saying that you can make calls through various internet applications rather than through a traditional phone line. Be aware that phones without voice capability are unable to either make or receive traditional calls.

Want to Use an Oversea Phone in Japan?

To begin, make sure your phone is SIM-unlocked. Secondly, your phone must be capable of receiving Japanese frequencies. To see if your phone will operate in Japan, visit

Purchasing a Japanese SIM Card

If you want to buy a long-term SIM card in Japan, you'll need to show your ID (residence card or Japanese driver's license) and your present address in Japan. Mobal, on the other hand, sells SIM cards that do not require a Japanese address.

We have a great offer for you; simply click the logo below to get a free SIM card! (The SIM card is normally 3,000 dollars, but you can purchase it for 1,000 dollars and get 1,000 minutes of free calls! As a result, it's essentially free.)

Mobal's customer service is entirely in English. You may also buy Data-Only SIM cards for short-term use (click “Short Term” on the link). There are additional SIM card firms in Japan that cater to both long-term and short-term users; please continue reading for more information.

Sakura Mobile and GTN offer SIM cards as well as the option to rent a pocket WiFi. Rakuten Mobile offers SIM cards as well and offers English-speaking services. Please visit their website for more information.

Buying a SIM Card from English-Speaking Retailers


Sakura Mobile

GTN Mobile

Rakuten Mobile

Renting a Pocket WiFi Router

In stead of SIM cards, a few companies sell pre-configured mobile WiFi routers. You can switch them on, connect to the hotspot with the specified information, and surf on any WiFi-enabled device. A hotspot ensures a rapid and easy connection to the internet, whether you're using a tablet, laptop, or phone. Below are English-Speaking retailers for Pocket WiFi routers. Click the image to see details.


Sakura Mobile



Other MVNOs (Japanese websites)

OCN Mobile ONE

UQ Mobile

LINE Mobile

U Mobile