Japan is a hugely popular destination for travellers. Japan’s hi-tech image, however, can be misleading when you consider one of the biggest challenges visitors face is staying online. And staying online is vital- even Google Maps requires an internet connection. Advice- don’t rely on wifi access spots- most are paid services and tricky to connect to- get a SIM card for your smartphone- and if time permits get it before you fly and surf on arrival!
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What are your choices?
We are talking about SIM Cards so your choices should be (and are!) SIM-ple.
If you only need data and have a smartphone- iPhone or Android- then choose from either a 3GB or 10GB Data SIM from Mobal. You may visit the Mobal website here for more details.
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Japan does, of course, have public wi-fi. Lots of wi-fi access points- but try to find a free one that gives you reliable internet connectivity – that’s a challenge. And when you consider that some only offer Japanese language guidance your chances of getting online are quite slim.
That’s why we recommend getting a data sim – giving you full access to the apps you normally use on your smartphone!
You can buy a sim card Online and Collect in Singapore or Japan’s Main Airports (Narita/Haneda/Kansai, etc) or have the SIM delivered to your home.
The SIMs work- they are already active and last for 30 days or until the data is used up- whichever comes first. You can even use tethering and use your phone to connect to multiple devices- and the SIMs work in any unlocked device such as a Mi-Fi or a tablet.
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Need a Phone Number?
Until recently it was almost impossible for a non-resident of Japan to get a Japanese phone number- unless you wanted to sign a 2-year contract. The good news is that you now have an option to get a Voice & Unlimited Data SIM- with no contract – which means you can end anytime. And you can get your SIM in Singapore before you fly and know your number in advance.
Note: in some cases, the owner of Ryokan (Japanese inn) style accommodation may require a phone number in lieu of a deposit so they can get in contact.
Tell me more!
The Japan Unlimited SIM is a no-contract SIM card for everybody going to Japan. Ideal for both short & long trips you can use the SIM for as long as you want- and this is what you get;
Unlimited Data- with a monthly allowance of 7GBs fast data after which it slows down
Free Incoming Calls & Texts
Free Calls 20 hrs/Day on the Softbank Network
No Contract- Cancel Anytime
How Does it Work?
Purchase the SIM Card online and collect in Singapore or on arrival in Japan. The next step is to activate the SIM online- which takes a few minutes- and wait approx 2 hours for the connection to be made. We recommend doing this before you fly and choosing the date of arrival in Japan for best value.
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If your trip to Japan involves a lot of time outside of Tokyo and you want to get online- do your homework before you travel. If you plan on not getting lost and relying on Google Maps then you will need a solution for your phone. Avoid a headache – get a SIM!
The SIM costs 3,000 yen and a typical Unlimited Data Plan for 30 days with free incoming calls etc costs 4,500 yen- so for 7,500 yen, you have a number and data. If you decide to stay longer you can choose to continue to pay 4,500 yen a month until you leave.
What else do I need to know about the SIM Card?
If you are a regular visitor to Japan or you plan to stay longer then it’s useful to know that the Japan Unlimited SIM also comes with a “Vacation Plan” option.
It means if you have used the SIM for 60 days or more and you decide to go home and want to save some money you can suspend your SIM for up to 1 year for nothing. That’s right 0 yen for up to 1 year after which you get an option (paid) to keep your number. Useful to know for those who tend to visit Japan often!
For more details see: https://www.mobal.com/japan-sim-card/
Founded in the UK in 1989 Mobal has been providing communication solutions to international travellers for decades. Mobal also guarantees that the majority of its profits go to charities – so you don’t just travel the world and buy a SIM card from them, you make it a better place.
Last updated on March 15th, 2020.