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Jp

Basics Edit

Japan has 3 networks on 3G and 4G/LTE:

  • NTT DoCoMo
  • SoftBank (absorbed Y!Mobile [E-mobile, Willcom], also includes WCP)
  • au (KDDI, also includes UQ)
  • [Rakuten Mobile] due to launch in 2020
Greylist

Japan can be a tricky country to buy a local SIM card. It's the only industrial nation (apart of S. Korea, Singapore and Australia) without 2G/GSM coverage and until 2016 didn't allow visitors to buy voice SIM cards by law (see Mobal below), However, for data on 3G or 4G/LTE on a data-only SIM card, you are free to go.

Frequencies Edit

You should first check their frequencies that are quite unusual even for Asian standards:

Operator 3G HSDPA 4G LTE
NTT

DoCoMo

800, 2100 700*, 800, 1500, 1800TNO, 2100, 3500 (TDD)

Bands: 1, 3TNO,19, 21, 28, 42

SoftBank

incl. Y!Mobile

900, 1500,

1700, 2100

900, 1800, 2100, 2500 (TDD), 3500 (TDD)

Bands: 1, 3, 8, 41, 42

au

(by KDDI)

CDMA

EVDO

700*, 800, 1500, 2100, 2500 (TDD), 3500 (TDD)

Bands: 1, 11, 18, 28, 41, 42

GSM or CDMA-incompatible WiMAX operators are not mentioned in this survey.

700* = LTE on 700 MHz is on band 28 like in Australia and soon in Europe, not on bands 12-17 like in the US. Note that because NTT Docomo and Softbank's band 28 frequency belong to the Upper Duplex section of the band 28, some phones like Google Nexus 5X that only support the Lower Duplex section of the band 28 will not be able to use the band. Because the 700 MHz band is shared with some other digital services in some area of Japan, this band is not universally available yet. It's expected to last until 2017, before the band can be completely cleared for mobile use.
TNO = only available in an area around Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka. See http://imgur.com/VeMs3qd for legal definition.

The following bands are required if you want to use data in Japan. Note, that some are quite unusual and not covered by every usual handset:

  • in 4G: Band 1 (2100 MHz) in most areas, band 19 (800 MHz) in rural areas, band 21 (1500 MHz) in all citites and band 3 (1700 MHz) in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo.
  • in 3G: Band 1 (2100 MHz) in most areas, band 9 (1700 MHz) in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo and band 19 (800 MHz) in rural areas.

CDMA Edit

Both major CDMA carriers in the US, Verizon and Sprint, have cancelled their special CDMA roaming agreements. If you are roaming from a CDMA carrier in another country, you may still use au's CDMA network.

GSM Edit

Almost all offers for tourists are hosted on the NTT DoCoMo network. SoftBank only started to open up (or is available through roaming from other countries) and au/KDDI is only accessible to visitors using iPads with Apple SIMs. Having a device from other parts of the world, this normally limits you to 3G on 2100 MHz (B1) in the cities and to 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz (B3) in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka greater area. That's why for Japan WiFi, foreign roaming SIM cards and links to many rental services are mentioned at the bottom as an alternative for more coverage and the country remains greylisted.

4th provider Edit

E-comglomerate Rakuten was given a 4th network license to build up competition against the three major companies. However, deployement runs behind schedule and first trials are planned for the end of 2019 with commercial launch in 2020.

Rakuten Mobile’s plan stipulates the deployment of 3,432 4G/LTE base stations mainly in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka by the end March 2020. Its own network service area will cover the 23 wards of Tokyo, Nagoya City, Osaka City and parts of Hyogo prefecture. They will offer nationwide LTE services to customers from the time of launch through services based on the roaming agreement with KDDI (au) to be provided outside of Tokyo’s 23 wards, Nagoya City and Osaka City and excluding high-traffic areas.

Regulations Edit

Since 2006 the “Mobile Phone Improper Use Prevention Act” (携帯電話不正利用防止法) requires anyone who intends to buy a voice-call-capable SIM card (prepaid or postpaid) to show proper identification document which indicates that he/she has a residential (permanent) address in Japan. A hotel address is not sufficient for this purpose.

All foreigners must have an alien registration to purchase a voice enabled SIM. As a tourist without a visa which permits to stay for more than 90 days, you won’t get one. So most SIMs capable of voice calls are not available to you. This law is enforced strictly and store managers have been penalized before for not asking for the proper “proof of residence” paper. B-Mobile and SoftBank are now the only exceptions; B-Mobile is expensive but uses the DoCoMo network while SoftBank is cheaper but must be purchased at an airport service counter in Tokyo (Narita/Haneda), Nagoya, or Osaka (Kansai).

More on this you find here. However, this law does not apply to data services and data-only SIM cards. If you want to make or receive voice calls in Japan, you will be limited to these choices:

  • roam with your national SIM card from another country (expensive)
  • use a special Japan roaming offer like that of e.g. China Unicom Hong Kong or an international SIM card (see all countries)
  • use the free Japan roaming included with US Sprint Global Roaming . This is free and fast for those who have a postpaid Sprint smartphone plan from the US.
  • rent a device with local SIM card at arrival in Japan (see bottom of this page)
  • borrow a local SIM card from a Japanese resident (cheap)
  • use VoIP with data-only SIM (cheap, see below)
  • use SoftBank Simple Style or Wi-Ho! (see below).

As we focus on data in this Wiki here, check this link for more voice call options from Japan.

Giteki

Giteki mark

The other legal restriction you should be aware of is the requirement of the Giteki mark (see pic). Officially all electronic devices used in Japan need to be certified and labeled with this sign. It's illegal even using an iPhone without it. While this law is quite outdated and is slowly becoming less relevant as Japan forms Mutual Recognition Agreements to recognize other countries' equivalent marks, be sure to stay responsible and discreet using your own non-Japanese electronics in Japan. More info: here.

According to MIC,visitors with foreign devices that have FCC or CE certification may now use their devices up to 90 days without violation on a local SIM card. More info is here.

Prices Edit

Note that in Japan there are now many offers, that can be purchased from places such as airport vending machines, Yodobashi Camera electronic stores, BIC Camera and others. The prices for these cards are set by the retailers and can vary slightly from the given numbers.

NTT DoCoMo Edit

NTT docomo

NTT DoCoMo has the best network in the country and a market share of almost 50%. A 2G-only phone does not work, because there is simply no 2G.

Its 3G network is called FOMA (stands for "Freedom of Mobile Access") and is on 800 MHz in the countryside, 2100 MHz in the cities and a few 1700 MHz stations scattered about. The 800 MHz and 1700 MHz (not AWS like in the US, but EAWS) are used only in Japan, so are most likely not covered on your phone. A device that works on 800 MHz in 2G or 4G/LTE will not carry 800 MHz in 3G. You can expect to get NTT's 3G only in cities on 2100 MHz with a device bought outside of Japan.

Its 4G/LTE is called Xi on 700 MHz (B28), 800 MHz (B18), 1500 MHz (B11), 1800 MHz (B3) and 2100 MHz (B1). Some of these frequencies are used in other countries too, but the most globally used 1800 MHz is only available in the cities of Nagoya, Tokyo and Osaka.

NTT Communications (OCN) Edit

NTT card

NTT Communications prepaid SIM for smartphones uses NTT Docomo’s 4G/LTE and 3G networks and gives users up to 100 MB of high-speed data per day for either 7 or 14 days. SIM card comes in standard, micro, and nano sizes and is for:

  • ¥3,218 (tax incl.) for 7 days
  • ¥3,780 (tax incl.) for 14 days

After purchasing the card, activation process in which personal information is asked to enter is required to start using.

Availability Edit

Up until 2016 it was possible to purchase SIM cards online from the official website and get delivery to hotels, post offices at selected airports, or any set address in Japan. This option is no longer available. Instead, they have published a long list of sales points at airports, ports, bus terminals, train stations, tourist information centers, convenience stores, electronic retail stores and travel agencies.

SIM cards can also be purchased at Xcom Global counters at Haneda, Narita, Kansai, and Chubu Centrair airports as well as from a machine located inside the Narita Excel Hotel Tokyo. Vending machines at Narita Airport Terminals 1 and 2 sell the cards priced with a surcharge at ¥3,726 for the 7-day plan and at ¥5,345 for 14-day plan.

SIM cards come with English instructions and an option for connecting to the Japan Connected-Free WiFi service. This is a free WiFi hotspot service by NTT-BP, designed for visitors to Japan, which is found at international airports, Shinkansen train stations, major tourist attractions and popular locations across Japan.

For travelers flying to Japan from Hong Kong, NTT has a special deal with Klook for SIM cards that MUST be picked up at Hong Kong International Airport

  • ¥ 1,800 (US$ 15 plus 8% tax) for a 8 day SIM card loaded with 2 GB 4G data plus unlimited 3G

Data rate Edit

Data is up to 100 MB per day at a max. of 150 Mbps. After the daily high-speed allotment is used, the max. speeds will be reduced to 200 Kbps. All three SIM sizes are available.

Technical settings Edit

  • PDP type: IP
  • APN for 3G devices: 3g-d-2.ocn.ne.jp
  • APN for 4G/LTE devices: lte-d.ocn.ne.jp
  • Username: mobileid@ocn
  • Password: mobile
  • Authentication type: CHAP

More info Edit

b-mobile Edit

81iE4y-CImL. SL1500

The prepaid smartphone data SIM cards offered by MVNO B-mobile provide data on NTT Docomo’s 3G/4G network. They used to have voice too, but this has been suspended.

Availability Edit

SIM cards must be purchased either at a branch of AEON, Yodobashi Camera or BIC Camera chains (stores list) or online at the b-mobile site or Amazon.co.jp. Cards bought online can be delivered to hotels, post offices at major airports, or any Japanese address in 2–4 days.

They used to have three different products on offer, but this is reduced to one now as the PAYG SIM and PAYG data SIM has been discontinued. They do sell a separate prepaid product running on the SoftBank network called "B-Mobile S Prepaid" but they require calling a special phone number with a Japanese mobile phone and providing the SIM phone number to activate. As of December 2017 download speed is throttled to 1.25 Mbps during the day time.

Visitor SIM Edit

Their Visitor SIM card gives access to 4G/LTE and 3G networks Note that the days start with your selected delivery date for online purchases, not on first use or activation in the handset. It comes in two sizes:

  • 5 GB for 10 days: ¥1980
  • 7 GB for 21 days: ¥2980

The SIM is rechargeable, but only from the handset containing the SIM, which must currently be located in Japan. Recharging must be done within 10 days of the expiry of the previous plan. Recharging uses a credit card and is ¥ 500 for 1 GB per day.

Traffic may be controlled for VoIP, video, and other streaming contents. Every counting day begins at midnight.

Technical settings Edit

The APN must be set manually (see below) and you must fill out an online form with your personal data for SIM cards that have not been bought on their website.

  • Name: b-mobile
  • APN: bmobile.ne.jp
  • Username: bmobile@4g
  • Username for 1 GB visitor SIM: bmobile@fr
  • Password: bmobile
  • Authentication type: CHAP or PAP (if available)
  • MVNO type: SPN (if available)

More info Edit

eConnect Japan Inc. Edit

Japanprepaidsim

The Japan Prepaid SIM is offered by eConnect Japan Inc. through SORACOM and provides data-only on NTT Docomo's 3G and 4G/LTE networks (for frequencies and coverage see Basics and NTT Docomo sections above). The SIM is supported by a special app that helps users manage their plan. They additionally provide a 24-hour customer support service.

Availability Edit

SIM cards can be purchased on eConnect's website . It can be delivered to hotels, post offices at major airports, or any Japanese postal address (including private apartments) in 2-4 days without additional fees. Accepted payment method is only PayPal. Alternatively, it can be bought at Amazon with further payment options to be delivered worldwide.

Japan Prepaid SIM Edit

The SIM card offers a variety of data plans that run on the 3G (FOMA) and 4G/LTE (Xi) networks of NTT docomo with a max. speed of around 2 Mbps. Note that the SIM doesn't support voice calls or SMS but calls through VoIP and tethering are supported. These plans are offered (excl. tax):

SIM Plan Validity Start-up Top-up
100 MB per day 7 days ¥2,680 ¥1,600
100 MB per day 15 days ¥3,380 ¥2,220
100 MB per day 30 days ¥4,180 ¥3,400
500 MB 4 days ¥1,980 ¥1,200
1 GB 7 days ¥3,180 ¥1,800
3 GB 30 days ¥4,980 ¥3,800
5 GB 30 days ¥6,680 ¥5,800
10 GB 30 days ¥9,180

To all prices add 8% tax. For the 100 MB/day plans, once the user uses up their 100 MB for the day, speed will be slowed down to 128 Kbps. The speed will go back to normal once the clock hits 0:00h JST the following day. Users can optionally choose to make a 'Refill100' to add 100 MB for the rest of the day for ¥300. However, if this data is not all used up, the remaining data will not be rolled over to the following day once the clock hits midnight. For the other plans, once all the data is used up, Internet gets disconnected immediately. You are only able to access the ecoonect website to top up credit. If users cannot make a top-up within the 3 days, the SIM is automatically terminated. Otherwise, the SIM card can be used up to one year, if the user continuously makes top-ups.

Web and mobile app Edit

The special application by eConnect Japan Inc. gives users full control over their SIM. The app allows users to set the SIM, make top-ups, check data usage, and much more. The app is available for both iOS and Android. Users can also use the web application .

Technical settings Edit

  • APN: soracom.io
  • Username: econnect
  • Password: econnect
  • Authentication Type: CHAP or PAP

More info Edit

IIJmio Edit

Japan Travel SIM

Japan Travel SIM & Brastel VoIP card Edit

These prepaid SIM cards aimed at visitors to Japan from overseas are made available by internet service provider IIJmio that is going to become the first full MVNO of the country in 2017. SIM cards are combined with a Brastel VoIP phone card for calling out and get free incoming calls.

You will have access to NTT Docomo's 3G and 4G/LTE networks in up to 786 Mbps speeds.

Availability Edit

Japan Travel SIM cards can be purchased from all Yodobashi Camera stores, along with selected branches of Bic Camera, Kojima, and Sofmap, as well as from the Tourist Information Center Tokyo (at the Nihonbashi exit of Tokyo Station), and from Khaosan hostels in Tokyo and Kyoto and more: points of sale . In 2018 they have added new SIM cards not shown on the website yet with better prices

The package also includes a Brastel prepaid IP phone card, which can be charged by credit card or PayPal via Brastel website and enables domestic and international call.

Data plans Edit

Price is set by the vendour and may vary depending on location. They sell different plans (for a reference the prices at Yodobashi and Bic Camera stores are given):

  • 1 GB for 30 days: ¥2,256 at Yodobashi and ¥2,656 at Bic Camera (tax incl.)
  • 2 GB for 90 days: ¥3,910 in micro, ¥4,090 in nano format at Yodobashi and ¥4,082 at Bic Camera (tax incl.)

Their new SIM cards released in 2018 feature lower prices:

  • 1.5 GB for 30 days: ¥1,990 at Yodobashi and ¥1,998 at Bic Camera (tax incl.)
  • 3 GB for 30 days: ¥3,020 at Yodobashi and ¥3,020 at Bic Camera (tax incl.)

Additional data can be purchased at a rate of ¥1,500 for 500 MB and ¥3,000 for 2 GB (both including tax) directly with IIJmio.

Global Travel SIM Service Edit

In 2016 IIJmio introduced their Global Travel SIM Service. This roaming SIM card is intended for travellers outside Japan. It includes voice calls and data in 42 countries (list of operators) on 2G and 3G networks all over the world. The telephone number that comes with voice plan is of Netherlands (country code: 31).

Availability Edit

The service is sold on the IIJmio website (only in Japanese) and at all BIC Camera Group (BIC Camera, Kojima, and Sofmap) stores that handle BIC SIM cards. Two starters are offered plus ¥3,000 for subscription:

  • data includes 500 MB of data volume for 14 days: ¥3,850
  • data with SMS/voice also adds SMS and voice call services. It includes 500 MB, 25 SMS and 30 mins of voice calls for 14 days: ¥4,600

The same fee schedule can be used in all compatible areas, and if more data are required, customers can purchase a plan matching their requirements to recharge the service. They may choose from 4 recharge plans, regardless of the starter pack purchased:

  • 100 MB for 1 day: ¥800
  • 500 MB for 14 days: ¥3,850
  • 100 MB, 5 SMS and 6 mins voice for 1 day: ¥1,000
  • 500 MB, 25 SMS and 30 mins voice for 14 days: ¥4,600

All prices plus taxes. Up to 9 times of purchases may be made during the month when a starter pack was purchased.

Technical Settings Edit

  • APN: iijmio.jp
  • Username: mio@iij
  • Password: iij
  • Authentication type: PAP or CHAP

More info Edit

So-net Prepaid LTE SIM Edit

So-net

So-net is another MVNO on the NTT DoCoMo network on 3G and LTE. It's managed by Sony Corp.

Availability Edit

SIM cards can be purchased from machines at Kansai International, Naha, and Sendai airports, Mobile Center outlets at Narita airport, Haneda terminal, and New Chitose airport, Kyoto City Bus and Subway Information Center, Akibaoo shops in Akihabara, Laox outlets in Akihabara and Ginza, and Dospara shops throughout Japan: list of shops

Data plans Edit

So-net prepaid SIM cards provide visitors to Japan with speeds up to 300 Mbps on 4G/LTE. Prices are variable. Below they are given for the Yodobashi chain stores. At airports they are more expensive:

  • 1.2 GB for 30 days: starting at ¥3,240
  • 2.2 GB for 30 days: starting at ¥4,320
  • 3.2 GB for 60 days: starting at ¥5,400
  • 12 GB (only online) for 180 days: ¥13,068 only at amazon.co.jp (in Japanese).

Extra data can be purchased for ¥1,620 for 200 MB, ¥2,160 for 500 MB (both have 30 day limits), and ¥3,065 for 1 GB, which has a 60 day limit. All prices include tax. Refills require a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, JCB, American Express or Diners Club).

Cards are available in standard, micro, and nano sizes.

Technical settings Edit

  • Certain phone models are not supported, check this site: http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/unavailable.html
  • If you have an iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone6 or iPhone6 Plus, you must install the APN profile from the following website beforehand via a WLAN or other Internet connection: http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/i/ Visit the page using Safari on your iPhone.
  • No initial PIN, not even 0000!
  • If used in a portable router, some insist on a phone number to dial. That would be *99#
  • APN: so-net.jp
  • Username: nuro
  • Password: nuro
  • Authentication type: CHAP or PAP

More info Edit

U>mobile Edit

U-mobile

U>mobile by U-Next is another MVNO using the NTT DoCoMo network on 3G and LTE. They offer a data-only SIM on prepaid to foreigners without voice or text also called JPSIM.

Availability Edit

SIM cards can be purchased from vending machines at Tokyo Narita International Airport Terminal 1/2 arrival lobby and Terminal 3 Level 2 entrance (across from check in row A) or at these shops (scroll down for list). Cards are available in all three sizes. The prepaid SIM cards can not be refilled or extended in time and will run out automatically after the purchased time period.

Data plans Edit

Prepaid SIM cards provide with speeds up to 225 Mbps on 4G/LTE however you're unlikely to receive above 10 Mbps and during peak times the speed can drop as low as 0.2 Mbps. Following packages are available in various locations like at airports for a surcharge, online at Amazon.co.jp or offline at Yodobashi Camera stores:

  • for 7 days: ¥1944
  • for 15 days: ¥3024

Each plan includes only 200 MB per calendar day of data on the high-speed 4G/LTE and 3G networks at 225 Mbps without voice calls or texts. Beyond the quota, speed will be throttled to 200 kbit/s. On Amazon look for 'JPSIM'. Sales taxes are currently at 8% in the country and this is included in the prices at vending machines. It's impossible to tell if you're throttled in speed as during peak times speeds can drop significantly and there is no way to check your data usage. This throttle is lifted every day at midnight

Other U-Mobile plans Edit

If you have a local address and phone number (can be someone you know), then you can sign up for a monthly rate plan. U>Mobile has the only monthly plan at Yodobashi Camera with "unlimited data". New SIM card costs about ¥4000 and the monthly charge is ~¥2700. However, in practice even though it is advertised as not under Fair Use Policy (e.g. no speed max, no data max, no data/speed max per period of time), the actual speeds achieved using a Japanese LTE router were only around 1 Mbps.

Technical settings Edit

  • APN: umobile.jp
  • Username: umobile@umobile.jp
  • Password: umobile
  • Authentication type: CHAP or PAP

More info Edit

Wirelessgate Prepaid SIM Edit

JP-Wirelessgate

Wi-Fi provider and MVNO Wirelessgate offers a prepaid smartphone SIM card aimed at visitors to Japan. The card offers both connection to NTT Docomo’s 4G and 3G networks, as well as the use of 40,000 WiFi hotspots, the biggest WiFi network nationwide.

Availability Edit

JP-WG-Yodobashi

Wirelessgate - Yodobashi Camera Original SIM

As of 2015, these cards are only available at Yodobashi Camera electronic chain (shop list see above). The cards come in three sizes: standard, micro, and nano. You can adjust your settings, check how much data headroom you have left, search for WIFI hotspots and take advantage of automatic login using the Wirelessgate access. Max speed is 150 Mbps. Their available options are (prices include taxes):

  • 1 GB for a 14-day period: ¥2,650
  • 2 GB for 30 days: ¥3,590
  • 3 GB for 60 days: ¥3,980

Users who have reached their data-transmission limit can purchase an extra 1 GB to be used in a 14 day period, priced at ¥1,000 (including tax).

Technical Settings Edit

  • APN for 3G devices: foma01.wi-gate.net
  • APN for 4G/LTE: xi01.wi-gate.net
  • Username: wg@sim
  • Password: wg
  • Authentication type: CHAP or PAP

More info Edit

Wi-Ho! Edit

Download (23)

Wi-Ho! by Telecom Square used to be a rental agency for overseas visitors. Since 2016 they offer a data-only and a data & voice SIM card to visitors. The data & voice SIM operates on the former Y!Mobile network that has been absorbed into Softbank. For 3G you need a device on 900 and 2100 MHz which is very usual in Europe or Asia, for their 4G/LTE 900 MHz (band 8), 1800 (band 3) and 2100 (band 1) to be added by the rare 2500 MHz (band 45 on TD-LTE), but not required. The data-only SIM is on the NTT/DoCoMo network (see above). The validity of their SIM cannot be extended.

Their data & voice SIM is one of the few offers that include regular voice transmission (not only VoIP) as this is normally banned for foreigners.

Availability Edit

Both SIM cards are sold only at the Telecom Square airport counters in New Chitose, Narita, Handeda, Kansai and Fukoka airports (exact locations here). Visa, Mastercard, JCB, AmEx and Diners Club are accepted. Micro and nano SIM sizes are available. You can check your consumption online.

Data-only SIM Edit

Their data-only SIM comes in 3G/4G speed on the NTT DoCoMo network with speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s for the volume capped plans, and with speeds up to 788 Mbit/s for unlimited plans.

  • 2 GB for 7 days: ¥3,800 plus tax
  • 5 GB for 30 days: ¥5,500 plus tax
  • Unlimited for 7+1 days: ¥4,980 plus tax
  • Unlimited for 30+1 days: ¥6,980 plus tax

On the volume-capped plans you can book additional data for ¥1,980 per GB with a maximum of 10 GB per day within their validity.

Voice & data SIM Edit

Their voice & data SIM comes in 3G/4G speed on the Y!Mobile (Softbank) network with speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s. It includes unlimited domestic calls and ¥300 airtime for international calls:

  • 1 GB for 15 days: ¥5,500 plus tax
  • 3 GB for 15 days: ¥7,500 plus tax

Technical settings Edit

  • Settings for Voice and Data SIM
    • APN: plus.acs.jp
    • Username and password: ym
    • MCC: 440, MNC: 20, Authentication: CHAP
  • Settings for 2GB/5GB Data SIM
    • APN: bbnw.jp
    • Username: user password: 0000
    • Authentication: CHAP
  • Settings for Unlimited Data SIM
    • APN: ppsim.jp
    • Username: pp@sim password: jpn
    • MCC: 440, MNC: 03, Authentication: PAP or CHAP

More info Edit

Rakuten Mobile Edit

Rakuten

E-conglomerate Rakuten also offers prepaid SIM cards for visitors. This is not done through their new own network still in deployment state, but NTT docomo's reliable network in 4G/LTE only. You need to have a handset capable of NTT's 4G/LTE (check above), as 3G is not supported (list of devices).

Availability Edit

This data-only SIM card is without voice or text. It's sold at some stores (list) or online on the Rakuten website. Two different stater packs are offered:

  • 1 GB for 30 days: ¥2,980 (plus tax)
  • 2 GB for 90 days: ¥3,980 (plus tax)

Data-only SIM Edit

To extend validity or add more data one of these three packs can be added to either SIM:

  • 500 MB for 30 days: ¥1,500 (plus tax)
  • 1 GB for 60 days: ¥2,000 (plus tax)
  • 2 GB for 90 days: ¥3,000 (plus tax)

Purchase is through their recharging website.

Technical settings Edit

  • APN: rmobile.jp
  • Username: rm
  • Password: 0000

More info Edit

Biglobe (Ninja SIM) Edit

Biglobe

BIGLOBE NINJA SIM is using NTT docomo's network in 3G and 4G/LTE up to 778 Mbps.

Availability Edit

You can order from the web and pick up the product at the designated airport post office or hotel. If you look for stores that offer Biglobe, they give you this list of distributors.

Data-only SIM Edit

Two data plans are available (tax included):

  • 5 GB for 30 days: ¥5292
  • 7 GB for 30 days: ¥8316

For add-ons you can add 1 GB at ¥2160. This extends valdity to another 31 days.

Technical Settings Edit

  • APN: biglobe.jp
  • Username: user
  • Password: 0000
  • Authentication: CHAP or PAP

More info Edit

MAYASystem Edit

Maya

MAYASystem provides unlimited data prepaid SIM cards for short trips and long-term visitors to Japan on NTT DOCOMO 4G/LTE area.

The instruction support is for multiple languages: Chinese, Korean, English and Thai. Their help center is available in 11 languages, and worsk on 365 days.

Availability Edit

Their SIM cards are available at many stores like Yodobashi Camera, Big Camera, Nojima, OIOI or online from Amazon.co.jp.

Data-only SIM Edit

Their plans offer unlimited data (tax included):

  • for 8 days: ¥5378
  • for 30 days: ¥8618

More info Edit

  • 24hrs English hotline: 050-5835-2190

JPSIM (Travel for Japan) Edit

JPsim

JPSIM is another MVNO working mostly over the NTT docomo network in 3G and 4G, but offers some Softbank products too. It's generally harder to find on local streets as they market it mostly online.

Availability Edit

JPSIM sells its SIM cards in a few redistributors stores in Japan, but mostly online on Amazon.co.jp. Rakuten.co.jp or yahoo.jp. Foreign visitors who try to pre-purchase a SIM before arrival should head to Rakuten's Global Market: https://global.rakuten.com . They come in different series and have a max. speed of 375 Mbps:

Data-only SIM Edit

Under the JP SIM label these plans are offered:

  • 220 MB per day for 7 days: ¥2180
  • 220 MB per day for 15 days: ¥2980
  • 220 MB per day for 30 days: ¥3980
  • 3 GB for 8 days: ¥2380
  • "unlimited" for 8 days: ¥3980

Under the very similar JP Air SIM label some larger packs with included unlimited WIFI pass:

  • 500 MB per day for 7 days: ¥2180
  • 500 MB per day for 15 days: ¥3280
  • 500 MB per day for 30 days: ¥4280
  • 1 GB for 7 days: ¥1680
  • 2 GB for 7 days: ¥1880
  • 3 GB for 15 days: ¥2980
  • 5 GB for 30 days: ¥3980
  • "unlimited" for 15 days: ¥3580
  • "unlimited" for 30 days: ¥4580

On Softbank network (see specifics at Basics above and details below):

  • 3 GB for 15 days: ¥2280
  • 10 GB for 15 days: ¥3480

All these plans don't seem to be extendable in size or time.

Technical settings Edit

  • APN: for JP: dm.jplat.net for JPAir: dm.jplat.net
  • Username: for JP: pocket@sim for JPAir: japan@psim
  • Authentication: CHAP or PAP
  • PDP: IP

More info Edit

SoftBank Edit

Softbank

SoftBank as 2nd network in the country (check frequencies at Basics section) has recently opened up its services to prepaid subscribers. Under very limited conditions prepaid subscriptions to foreigners on short-term are now possible. In 2016 it started to market a Tourist SIM for inbound visitors too, that is much more accessible for foreigners.

Simple Style prepaid plan Edit

Availability Edit

Foreigners visiting Japan short-term can sign up for prepaid SoftBank service only at airport counters in Narita, Haneda, Centrair (Nagoya), and Kansai showing a passport. In addition, certain SoftBank stores can handle upgrades from voice/mail only prepaid to smartphone service with data. When purchasing SoftBank's prepaid service, you have two options:

  • buy a SIM & phone package: Only this package has an extendable validity period, but it currently costs ¥15,000 for a phone and ¥10,000 airtime credit. This is a very steep start-up cost, intended for those who plan to visit frequently.
  • buy a stand-alone SIM: This SIM is cheaper, costing only the preloaded ¥3000, ¥5000, and ¥8000 credit, but only lasts for 14 days and is not extendable in validity. You must buy a new SIM when the 14 days are over and you'll lose any remaining credit on the SIM. This can be a great inconvenience, if you are not near an airport SoftBank counter when it expires.

Pricing Edit

Data is priced as follows for Simple Style:

  • 200 MB for 2 days: ¥900
  • 700 MB for 7 days: ¥2700
  • 3 GB for 30 days: ¥4980

These rates also include flat-rate use of all SoftBank WiFi hotspots in Japan.

These plans don't have so good rates as the data-only SIMs. In part you are paying for the convenience of not having to buy a new SIM every time when you return, in part you are paying for having the voice service with a domestic number. If you sign up with a 4G device, there will be a hard cap, if you sign up with a 3G device, there will be a throttle instead. There is a frequent user discount: the 30-day plan drops in price to ¥3980 for the life of the account once it has been signed up for 12 times (not necessarily consecutive periods).

Recharge vouchers can be purchased with cash at any SoftBank store, any convenience store, or certain discount ticket shops (locations vary by city) for a ¥100-200 discount off face value. If you have a renewable SIM+phone package, both ¥3000 and ¥5,000 vouchers will extend validity for 60 days, after which the number itself is valid for another year and can be reactivated at any time by depositing more funds after arriving in Japan.

You can learn more at the official website, including pricing, terms and conditions, and English-speaking shops addresses.

Prepaid SIM for Travel Edit

Softbank traveller

SoftBank Prepaid SIM - Mt.Fuji

SoftBank started their new product called Prepaid SIM for Travel aimed at inbound travelers to Japan back in 2016.

Two different SIM card designs are available: Mt.Fuji and "Hello Kitty". Only design differs, both cards come with same terms and conditions.

You can read more at the official website (available in English).

Before use, you are required to run an online registration process, where you will be ask for your personal identity and to get your passport photographed or scanned. This process is only possible from 9:00am to 9:00pm.

SoftBank has recently also opened up sign-ups for its data service to iPad users with Apple SIMs. Unlike au, when signing up, you have to provide the address in Japan you are staying at, not the billing address of the credit card you want to charge the plan to. Foreign Visa, MasterCard, and JCB cards are accepted. Further refills are also ¥1620 per GB.
JP-SoftBank prepaid-2

SoftBank Prepaid SIM - Hello Kitty

Availability and pricing Edit

The SIM cards are available at Softbank shops, electronic shops and the Softbank rental counter at airport. It has an open price meaning the seller is flexible about it. At the Softbank rental center in Haneda airport ¥4,500 is charged. The SIM comes with 3 GB data.

The top-up charge is a fixed 500 MB for 31 day validity extension at ¥1,620 tax included. Top-ups can be purchased only online by credit card.

Technical settingsEdit

  • APN: plus.4g
  • Username: plus
  • Password: 4g

More info Edit

Mobal Edit

Mobal-communications logo 11120 widget logo

Mobal is known for their international (made for roaming) cellphone and SIM service, however in 2017 they have started offering SIM options for visitors to Japan and short-term residents. They are one of only a few companies to provide combined voice + data SIM cards to foreigners without the strict need of Japanese ID documents. They are an MVNO utilizing the SoftBank network in Japan. So check SoftBank's rather unusual frequencies at our Basics chapter before purchase.

Availability Edit

SIM cards are only sold online. Mobal offers a free collection service at Narita, Haneda airports and some downtown Tokyo locations also. Standard method of shipping is free to most countries worldwide. It's recommended to order in advance and have it shipped to your home country before you depart.

Data SIMs are shipped or collected already activated and iOS users just need to insert them to use. Android users need to enter the APN too. In the case of voice SIMs once the SIM card is received, the card must be activated online prior to being used in Japan, however the activation date can be chosen so the process can be done several days in advance. An international debit/credit card is needed to be kept on file for any accrued charges, such as plan extensions (see below) as well as calls and texts. For the activation you need to upload a scan of your passport. After the initial payment it's possible to change payment method to include payment in cash at Japanese convenience stores, etc.

Data-only SIM card Edit

In 2018 Mobal launched Softbank Prepaid Data SIMs for visitors to Japan with real unlimited data:

  • for 8 days: ¥3,990
  • for 16 days: ¥5,990
  • for 31 days: ¥7,490

Voice and data SIM card Edit

The Mobal Japan Unlimited SIM offers both Voice & Data on a non-contractual basis. Visitors to Japan can avail of the 30, 60 or 90 day plans. Long-term visitors can choose an ongoing plan. Note that with initial purchases of a voice SIM a fee of ¥3,000 is charged with each SIM card purchased.

  • Fixed Length Plans: service will be disconnected after the chosen period:
    • Voice, text & "unlimited data" for 30 days: ¥7,500
    • Voice, text & "unlimited data" for 60 days: ¥12,000
    • Voice, text &" unlimited data" for 90 days: ¥16,500
  • Variable Length Plans: service continues on a monthly basis, can be suspended at any time. The same card can be reused with the same assigned Japanese cellphone number and service can be suspended for any chosen length at no additional cost:
    • "unlimited data" for 30 days: ¥4,500
    • without data for 30 days: ¥1,000 (an additional ¥4,500 is charged, if any data is used) plus ¥3,000 for the SIM card

Texting and calling are not included and are charged as the indicated price on the website. Tethering (aka personal hotspot use) and international roaming is not available, VoIP calls are allowed.

Note that "unlimited" data in their voice and data plans is capped at 7 GB per month. Beyond data speed is throttled to 128 kbps.

Technical settings Edit

  • APN: smile.world
  • Username: dna1trop
  • Password: so2t3k3m2a

More info Edit

au (by KDDI) Edit

Au-0

au is Japan's 3rd mobile operator, and for most tourists will be of no use, both because of its CDMA network type and because they normally don't sell to short-term visitors. However, those with an iPad and an Apple SIM may prefer it to other providers since it won't require purchase of a separate SIM, and for 1 GB data it's competitively priced.

Note that you may receive a letter from au in Japanese at home after you return. Do not be concerned, it is simply a written confirmation of the service you signed up for.

Availability Edit

Only if you have an iPad with an Apple SIM, you can sign up. au does not otherwise sell service to tourists. You can only sign up between 9am and 9pm (but if you are already registered, you can perform the refill at all hours). and instructions are given here and foreign credit cards and billing addresses are accepted.

Pricing Edit

au sells data to visitors using Apple SIMs at one price only: 1 GB for 30 days at ¥1620 (tax incl.). It can be set to auto-refill with another 1 GB once you have run low or once 30 days are over. Tethering is allowed on this plan.

One registration is good for 365 days. Every refill extends the registration validity to 365 days from that refill. After 365 days, you will need to register once again.

More info Edit

Free Wi-Fi Passport (by SoftBank) Edit

Free wifi

SoftBank who runs about 400,000 WiFi access points in the country is giving out FREE WI-FI passports to anyone who visits Japan for business, vacation and other reasons from 2015.

Registration Edit

You need to roam on the SoftBank network with your home SIM card in your phone. For this you need to have a 3G phone on the frequencies mentioned in the Basics chapter roaming on Softbank network. Users simply dial a dedicated number with their mobile phones at no charge to complete registration. For English dial *8180. They will send you the password rightaway. This password is valid for 2 weeks and can be renewed thereafter. In order to use this service, you must provide your mobile phone number, password, gender and age group.

Log-in Edit

You have to look for the SSID ".FREE_Wi-Fi_PASSPORT" (starts with a dot) from your list of available Wi-Fi hotspots. Pick this Wi-Fi, give your country code + phone number as ID and enter the sent password. Up to 5 devices can be connected but some SoftBank hotspot locations cannot be used with this service.

Normally Wi-Fi schemes are not a part in this Wiki, but given the situation in Japan, they might give a good alternative for mobile data. This free program seems to be extended now indefinitely. Their Wi-Fi service is not encrypted. Use this service after taking into consideration the security risk.

More info Edit

Other free WiFi networks Edit

There is much free WiFi in Japan by other companies too. All major airport have free WiFi, most major towns (but not Tokyo), many trains and stations, all Starbucks and Seven Spots outlets, hotels and shopping malls. Furthermore there are these free networks:

MINEO Edit

Vending machine
This operator has stopped selling prepaid data SIMs officialy. MINEO used to be MVMO on NTT DOCOMO. For compatibility see NTT Docomo above. 2G/3G and 4G/LTE is used, but throttled to high 778 Mbps.

Sometimes they are still offered at some vending machines (e.g. at Narita and Kansai airports) and some stores.

You need to ACTIVATE your SIM at webpage: my.mineo.jp/travel

They sell these two unlimited plans (communication speed is limited to 200 kbps from 12:15am to 12:45am):

  • for 6 days: ¥3564
  • for 11 days: ¥5940

1 day extension ¥1000, 2 days ¥1500 and 3 days ¥2000

and these regular packages:

  • 1 GB for 15 days: ¥3564
  • 3 GB for 30 days: ¥4500
  • 5 GB for 45 days: ¥5940

Additional 200 MB ¥700, 500 MB ¥1000 and 1 GB ¥1800

Technical Settings Edit

These are the correct APN settings:

  • APN: mineo-d.jp
  • Username: mineo@k-opti.com
  • Password: mineo
  • Authentication type: CHAP

Rental services for SIM cards and mobile Wi-Fi devices Edit

As there are incompatibilities with non-Japanese devices and legal restrictions, many visitors may choose to use a rental service to hire a mobile device (Wi-Fi router, or hotspot) together with a SIM card or a SIM card only. There are more than a dozen agencies available offering such services. You should book in advance if you are looking for a particular kind of service or device. Mobile routers can be picked up airport counters or post offices, or arrangements can be made for delivery to your accommodation in Japan. Some agencies also offer insurance for a surcharge. The agencies below are listed in alphabetical order with links to their pages all in English:

Blank-WiFi Edit

CDJapan Rental Edit

eConnect Japan Inc. Edit

Genki Mobile Edit

Global Advanced Communications Edit

Japan Mobile Rental Edit

JapanWifiBuddy Edit

Japan Wi-Fi Rental Service Edit

Japan WirelessEdit

JCR Corporation - Japan Cell Phone Rentals Edit

JRailPass.com Edit

Klook Edit

LightPocket Edit

NINJA WiFi Edit

PuPuRu Edit

Rentafone Japan Edit

Sakura Mobile Edit

Softbank Global Rental Edit

Wi-Fi Hire Edit

Wi-Fi Rental Store Edit

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