If you travel to Japan and you don’t want to run out of internet, the smartest thing to do is to buy a local SIM card especially for Japan, either from your country (recommended option) or when you get there. In this article we tell you which SIM card to buy with its advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s get started!
WHY BUY A DATA SIM FOR JAPAN?
Roaming in Japan can be very expensive, regardless of the operator and the rate you have contracted. Most likely you will come back with a very high roaming bill for normal internet use.
Let’s take a look at an example of the roaming fees that would be applied by your operators in Japan:
ROAMING WITH ORANGE:
Tarifa Everywhere: this is one of the Orange plans available for your contract and card customers who want to have internet browsing in Japan. This plan offers you 100 MB per day for 7 Euro including VAT. You can activate it before or during your trip by sending EW to 22095, and once it is active it automatically renews itself.
Apart from the data you will be charged the following prices if you use these services:
- Daily fee for calls: 7 euros including VAT.
- SMS: 1.21 euros VAT included.
- Voice: 30 minutes a day.
Basic Rate: Rate available for contract and card customers. Incoming and outgoing calls will be billed by the second from the first second.
- Call made: 3.15 Euro including VAT for each minute.
- Received call: 2.66 euros per minute including VAT.
- SMS: 1.21 euros VAT included.
- MMS: 2.27 euros VAT included.
- Mobile navigation: 500 KB 6.05 euros/day and 1 MB 12.10 euros/day.
In short, if you use Orange in Japan you may choose the Everywhere tariff if you meet the requirements, but really 100 MB is not enough to be connected for a whole day. Although we use it would reach by far for 3 hours of navigation, you also run the risk that someone calls or sends a message and take … a few more euros you must pay.
On the other hand, let’s say you don’t meet the requirements to activate the Everywhere Rate and it turns out that you get the Basic Rate option where they charge you 12.10 euros for each MB, which means that 1 GB (1000 MB) will cost you 12,100 euros apart from the messages and calls that they can make to you and they will charge you per second.
ROAMING WITH MOVISTAR
Roaming for Japan with Movistar costs 12.10 euros for each MB (12,000 euros a GB, almost nothing) 12 thousand euros for 1 GB (an outrage), that’s not counting the prices for received calls (3.03 euros/min) and outgoing calls (3.03 euros/min). A scam!
ROAMING WITH VODAFONE
World travel rate:
If you have an Extra, Unlimited, Unlimited Super, Unlimited Total or Mini contract rate, you can activate the world travel rate and the prices you will be charged for using the roaming are 15 Euros / day of use and you have 2GB of data per day.
I can’t activate the world trip fare:
If you do not have the World Travel Fare active, the prices that apply to you in Japan for using roaming are
- Data: 6.05 Euro/MB (VAT included) = 60.50 Euro per GB
- Made: 1.69 € per minute + 1.21 € for call establishment (VAT included)
- Received: 1.69 € per minute + 1.21 € for call establishment (VAT included)
ROAMING PRICE COMPARISON TABLE IN JAPAN
|Operator||Minimum price||Maximum price|
|Movistar||12,10 € / 1 MB||idem|
|Vodafone||15 € / 2000 MB / day||60,50 € / 1GB|
|Orange||7 € / 100MB / day||12.100 € / 1 MB|
Now that we know why you need a SIM card in Japan, let’s look at the different options that exist. The goal is to avoid the dreaded return trip bill.
1. BUY YOUR SIM FOR JAPAN IN YOUR COUNTRY
This is probably the most comfortable option, because if you buy the SIM from your country you take it with you before you leave on your trip and you insert it as soon as you land, so you have internet from the first moment.
FROM YOUR COUNTRY: HOLAFLY JAPAN
Holafly has 5 SIM card options for Japan depending on the days you need and they use the Softbank network, the best in the country.
- 7 days data 1,5 GB, for 18,05 Euro (with traveler discount)
- 8 days unlimited data, for 32.3 Euro (with discount)
- 15 days unlimited data, for 41,8 Euro (with discount)
- 20 days unlimited data, for 65,55 Euro (with discount)
- 30 days unlimited data, for 70.3 Euro (with discount)
With the 8-day card you get £4.04 per day with unlimited data without having to worry about running out of data. With the 15-day card you get £2.79 per day with unlimited data and the 30-day card you get £2.34 per day with unlimited data. Significant savings with Holafly cards.
Now let’s see a comparison table of what the internet costs us with Holafly, Movistar, Vodafone and Orange. Choosing the cheapest rates that each operator has for roaming in Japan. In other words, assuming that you apply to the conditions to have the lowest rates.
Also remember that with Movistar one MB costs 12.10 euros, so let’s assume that you will only spend 100 MB of data per day (1,210 euros), which really won’t be enough for any navigation but it will be useful to compare with Orange.
HOW MUCH DOES INTERNET COST JAPAN WITH HOLAFLY, MOVISTAR, VODAFONE AND ORANGE
|Days of coverage||Holafly |
100 MB / day
2000 MB / day
|7 days||18,05 € / 1,5 GB||8.470 €||49 €||105 €|
|8 days||32,30 €||9.680 €||56 €||120 €|
|15 days||41,80 €||18.150 €||105 €||225 €|
|20 days||65,55 €||24.200 €||140 €||300 €|
|30 days||70,30 €||36.300 €||210 €||450 €|
As you can see, the savings from buying a Japanese Holafly are simply too high. Plus you have the advantage of unlimited data.
Buy SIM Card for Japan
HOW LONG IT TAKES TO ARRIVE
You get it at home before you leave on a trip and it’s easy to install and use: It comes with instructions, a spike to change the card and can be adjusted to the size you consider, be it Mini, Macro or Nano Size.
ADVANTAGES OF THE HOLAFLY JAPAN SIM
- You have internet immediately when you arrive in the country. You avoid looking for a site and having to queue up at the airport to buy it, or having to look for free wifi everywhere. When you land you insert it and you have internet in Japan.
- You keep your Whatsapp number: You keep your Whatsapp number to send messages or make calls from Japan to your contacts. Don’t lose contact with your family and friends.
- Share data with others: Share data like a Pocket Wifi without having to carry another device. Use your phone to build a Wi-Fi network and connect more devices.
- They send it to your home for free. Within 72 hours, the company covers the sending of your card.
- You have 24 hour support via chat and email, in case you have any questions.
- You do not have to present any document for the purchase.
2. BUY THE SIM WHEN YOU ARRIVE IN JAPAN
Many times we think that buying the SIM at the destination can be more economical but in this case it is not always the case. If you want a SIM with unlimited data locally we assure you that the price will be much more expensive than buying it in your country with Holafly. But if you want to save some euros at the cost of having to look for the SIM on your arrival with few data, you may be interested in finding a store or some stand that sells them in Japan.
This is the option of a lifetime and has the disadvantage that some sites will ask you for your document (Passport), it is very complicated to get a site where you can be served in English and you have to invest time of your trip to be able to buy it, therefore you will not have internet as soon as you land, but it is a perfectly valid alternative.
WHICH OPERATORS I CAN BUY A JAPAN SIM card FROM UPON ARRIVAL
SIM CARD JAPAN SOFTBANK
This company has a prepaid data SIM service only for foreign visitors in Japan “Prepaid Travel SIM” 4G with a plan of 500 MB for 31 days for 1650 yuan (14 euros) the big disadvantage is that 500MB will not reach you even for one day of navigation.
To be able to buy this card you must be at least 20 years old and present your passport. Please check before buying this card if your mobile phone is compatible and must be a unlocked mobile.
Depending on the type and version of your terminal’s operating system, the setup procedure and item names may differ.
Configuration and application are required before using the prepaid sim.
- Step 1.Insert the SIM card into your phone and configure the “APN” setting.
- Step 2. You must register through a link provided at the time of purchase.
2. SIM CARD JAPAN DOCOMO
They have a SIM called a Visitor. SIM product for travellers who do not require opening procedures. Available in 5GB and 7GB.
- Price 5GB card for 3,850 yen (35 euro)
- Price 7GB card for 5,073 yen (45 euro)
Let’s say you spend 500 MB a day, 5GB would last you 10 days and 7GB would last you 14 days. In the first option compared to the 8-day Holafly Card you would be saving 4 euros, but with the 7GB option it is more expensive to buy it at your destination because you would be paying 3.21 euros / 500 MB per day, while with Holafly you would pay 2.78 euros per day and with unlimited internet and the option of sharing data to other devices of your fellow travellers.
WHICH SIM CARD TO BUY FOR JAPAN?
We always travel with a Holafly SIM for comfort and it has worked great for us, so we recommend the Holafly SIM for Japan, and for the following reasons
- You will keep your WhatsApp number. So you don’t lose your contacts to keep communicating with them. Forget about adding them back to your phone when you put in your data SIM.
- Attention 24/7. If you have any questions, you can write to them via email or chat at any time.
- Free shipping. You will receive it within 72 working hours. If you want it to reach you faster, you can contract the Urgent or Express service, these will give you the card in 48 hours and 16 hours, respectively.
- You will be able to share data with other devices
- Unlimited data and the convenience of arriving in Japan with internet to order a taxi, confirm hotel reservation etc.
Find out more travel tips to Japan on accommodation, documentation and requirements, currency exchange, travel insurance, eSIM Card and more.