Staying connected on the go in Japan as a tourist.

So you’ve planned your trip to Japan! Congratulations. But executing the perfect trip can sometimes be dependent on staying connected while on the go. You may need to look up the most efficient route to get around or find some tiny izakaya in Shibuya’s narrow back alley that went viral on TikTok once. Either way, you’ll have to pick between buying a SIM card or renting a pocket WIFI. There’s also the option of winging it and relying on free WIFI in Tokyo Metro stations or convenience stores, but that will be less reliable if you’re planning to venture out to the countryside.

There are many articles out with multiple options on you should get, so we’ll keep it simple for you.

“I’m looking for an unlimited data plan!”

If this sounds like you, then you should get Japan Experience SIM Card, which comes with unlimited data. It’s perfect for if you are passionate about sharing every part of their journey instantly, or maybe you’re that friend who always does all the navigating around. This is the best short-term option for tourists.

8 days23USD
16 days31USD
31 days35USD
These options are cheaper than the unlimited data-only plans offered by Sakura Mobile and Mobal.

Japan Experience SIM runs on the NTT Docomo network. It has the largest network coverage, which increases your chances of having a good signal even when you’re in countryside areas. You can also have the SIM card delivered straight to you wherever you are in the world, which can be activated immediately upon landing in Japan. Do note that this SIM card is data-only as Japan is strict with the ID verification process to get a phone number, but there’s nothing to worry about since you can still make calls with the messaging applications like Whatsapp, Telegram, or LINE!

“I need voice calls with my SIM card too!”

Chances are, you’re a business traveler or planning to be in Japan for an extended period. In that case, if you prefer a platform with full English support, then Sakura Mobile and Mobal both offer good options.

Overview of Mobal and Sakura Mobile’s monthly Voice+Data SIM plans.

Do note that for both services, a SIM activation fee is charged separately. Mobal’s fee is 2970yen and Sakura Mobile’s fee is 5500yen. Although there is a limit on data usage, it applies only to high-speed data. When it runs out, don’t worry, you’ll still have data (at slower speeds). It’ll be enough to get you around with enough patience and perseverance.

“I’m more of a pocket WiFI kinda person!”

I hear you. Not only can you skip performing simple surgery on your phone to change your SIM card, you can generously and reliably share data with your traveling buddies. Here are some of your options:

Japan WirelessNinja WiFiSakura Mobile
DataUnlimited3-10GB/dayUnlimited Data
Duration1-30 days1 month1 month
Plus PointNo speed restriction.Has different price tiers, can be more
Good for those staying for at least
a month or more.
All offer English support.

Though the cost of pocket WiFi seems higher than a SIM card at first, it’s worth getting if you’re sharing it with a few others. It’s also easy to activate and can be used instantly without any set-up.

We hope you have a good idea of whether a SIM card or pocket WiFI will be the better option for you, and no matter what you pick, you won’t have to worry about getting lost and we’ll be counting on you to discover the next spot in Tokyo that we might see go viral online!