eSIM Japan: Is It Worth More Than a Traditional SIM Card?

Would you like to stroll through the streets of Tokyo, admire the majesty of Mount Fuji, watch the beauty of the sakura cherry blossoms or taste the best Japanese food? You’ll want to share your experiences with friends and family. The eSIM Japan lets you do it instantly, wherever you are.

Let’s have a look at the options available from different providers. And if you prefer the classic SIM card, find out what your options are.

eSIM Japan: how to choose the best one

There are several factors to consider when choosing an eSIM. Among them, of course, is the amount of data and how long you’ll be in Japan. Keep in mind that you will usually consume more data on a sightseeing holiday than you would at home.

If you want to use some local mobile apps, we recommend choosing an eSIM that also offers a Japanese phone number. These include PayPay, Mobile Suica, and Mercari. However, you most likely won’t need these apps. Personally, I didn’t use them during my month in Japan.

As far as coverage is concerned, all operators are doing very well. You shouldn’t have a problem in most areas.

The best data eSIM for Japan

Let’s see how much you can get the most used data packages for.

Cheapest packages

If you need 1GB of data for the essentials, the cheapest way to get it is with Airalo, which offers this 7-day package for $4.5.

Currently, you can get 1 GB even cheaper at TEXTReSIM for $1.99 and at ReadteaGO for $2.99. However, these are promotions and can disappear at any time.

Average data usage (5 GB)

If you use Wi-FI a lot, but also want to have enough data when you travel to maps, social networks, etc., 5 GB may be enough. The best deal is offered by GIGAGO for $9 for 15 days. You’ll pay a few cents extra at Mobimatter for $9.49.

Large data usage (10 GB)

Want to stay online and active on social media? 10 GB should be enough. With Mobimatter you get it for 30 days for $13.49. GIGAGO is also coming up with a good offer, 10 GB for 30 days for $16.50. If you wanted to stay on the popular Airalo, you’d pay $18.

Unlimited data

Do you need to be online all the time for work and have a high data consumption? The solution is unlimited data. But be careful. Some providers may slow down your internet once you’ve used up a certain amount of data.

For example, GIGAGO will offer you 1 to 3 GB per day for 15 or 30 days. It’s up to you how you set it up. The cheapest combination of 1 GB per day for 15 days comes out to $19.50.

The leading provider of unlimited data Holafly offers 15 days for $47. In rare cases, your data may be slowed down if the operator decides that you have an average usage of more than 90 GB per month. If this occurs, just write to support and they will help you sort it out.

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Airalo $3 code MAREK7858
Nomad $3 code MARE67aw

A summary of the best eSIM packages

ProviderGBPricePayment
Airalo1GB$4.57 days
GIGAGO5 GB$915 days
Mobimatter10 GB$13.4930 days
Holaflyunlimited$4715 days
eSIM Japan offers

Classic SIM card in Japan

Japan has four main operators: SoftBank, Rakuten, DoCoMo and AU Japan. Only the former offers the possibility to buy a SIM card for tourists. All the others have an offer for residents. However, we still have offers from 8 other virtual operators. Among the most significant are Mobal and Sakura.

As far as purchasing is concerned, you have the option of buying directly at the airport kiosks, in the city in the operators’ shops or in electrical supplies. Or you can order a SIM card in advance and either have it sent to your home or waiting for you at the airport or hotel.

Like eSIMs, with traditional SIM cards, you can only buy data packages for the most part.. Probably only Mobal also offers a calling option. You get 7GB for 30 days with calls and SMS for ¥7920 ($55.9). If you don’t need a local phone number, I recommend the data-only package, which works out to the same amount, but you get 50 GB of data with it.

Nippon offers unlimited dates for 16 days for ¥4980. You can use a maximum of 2GB per day, which isn’t bad. For the same price, you can also get an unlimited SIM card for 33 days, where the limit is 10 GB for 3 days.

There are a lot of mixes of offers and it is not easy to find them on the internet. In any case, it is good to have at least a basic overview so that you can tell if it is a good deal.

sim card japan

Summary

When I went to Japan I knew little about connectivity. I suspected that they offered big data packages and the prices were in the thousands. I figured I’d pick the best deal right at the airport. However, there I was charmed by a typical vending machine that offered to buy SIM cards instead of drinks and snacks. Happily, I chose unlimited data for about 60 USD per month. I had no idea that it would take me something like an hour to install and activate without help. I was slowly giving up, but the signal finally kicked in and I was online.

Now I would definitely solve everything by buying an eSIM from the comfort of my home and I would be connected immediately upon arrival. Given the cost and convenience, I would also skip the offer of local operators. With those, you have the advantage over buying from a vending machine that they’ll hook you up right at the kiosk. But with eSIM Japan everything is still quicker and more convenient.

So do a little research to get an overview. And choose the best option for you.

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Marek Farda
Marek Fardahttps://esim.monster
I have been travelling since I can remember. Currently I have visited a total of 45 countries. My girlfriend and I run the blog lazytrip.eu, where we help people travel cheaper. We want to be online when we travel, so we have been exploring eSIM options for two years now. We try them everywhere on our trips outside the EU and write our observations on this blog.

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