Cheap SIM cards in Japan

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Buy a Cheap SIM Card in Japan

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Buy a Cheap SIM Card in Japan

Buy a Cheap SIM Card in Japan

Japanese major mobile phone operators offer you to contract at least two years for use. If you stop using it before your contract is over, you will get the penalty charges. On the other hand, Japan's SIM cards do not have these rules. The contract term is shorter, and no need to pay penalties to cancel the contract (not all the cases). In addition, SIM cards usually cost lower price than these major operators. They are good for those who stay for working holiday or study abroad in Japan.

However, there are plenty of types, plans, and features for each SIM card. Now, we will introduce them and recommend SIMs for each different situation. Hope you can find the best one!

Types of Japan's SIM Cards

There are three types of SIMs: “data-only”, “data + SMS”, and “data + voice call”. Check the functions with the following table.

The Internet Communication SMS (short Message Service) Phone Call
Data + voice call SIMs
Data + SMS SIMs ×
Data-only SIMs × ×

Sizes of Japan's SIM Cards

There are three kinds of sizes for SIMs: “regular SIM”, “micro SIM”, and “nano SIM”. Each smartphone requires different size for it. Make sure which one is needed for your smartphone as you buy a SIM. In addition, if you bring your mobile phone from your country, you'd better check whether it is an unlocked smartphone, or not. (*Notice: a smartphone which is not from Japan may not be able to use in some cases.)

Highly Recommended Japan's SIM Cards

SoftBank provides LINEMO, the cheap SIM card brand, which allows sign-up only online. The communication speed is the same as SoftBank at a reasonable price, so that makes the user comfortable. The biggest advantage is that the monthly payment is low and the LINE app (except for sharing location information, LINE LIVE, stamp shop, browsing news articles, etc.) is free of use. Two plans are available: Mini Plan (3GB + LINE free) and Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE free). The monthly fee is 990 yen (including tax) and 2,728 yen (including tax), which cost overwhelmingly lower than the major carriers. Users can use chat, voice call, and video call on LINE as much as they want. If you routinely use those functions on LINE, this plan is highly recommended. There are no contract handling fees or cancellation fees. International roaming (possible to use overseas) is a free option; it is useful for a temporary return to Japan and overseas business trips. They currently sell only SIM cards (*compatible with eSIM); unavailable for SIM + smartphone set items. Although you need to prepare your smartphone by yourself, it is a great service for those who consider using a reasonable smartphone.

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It is awarded the first place by “SIM Award 2015”. It is quite trusted and popular by Japanese consumers. The data speed is sustainable. There are five plans provided: "2GB Plan (2GB)", “4GB Plan (4GB)”, “8GB Plan (8GB)”, “15GB Plan (15GB)” and “20GB Plan (20GB)”. You can transfer the remained data traffic to the next month, except for the Pay-as-you-go Plan. Even when the data traffic is limited, the first part of the Web page is loaded quickly so that simple pages are able to browse comfortably all the time. There is a Web page explaining how to buy a SIM for the non-Japanese so is easy to understand.

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Ahamo is a low-cost SIM card for only online contracts provided by docomo. You can use docomo's high-quality 4G / 5G telecommunication at a reasonable price. There are mainly two attractive points: the low monthly payment and free domestic call within 5 minutes. Ahamo provides two plans: 20GB telecommunication data for 2,970 yen (tax included) per month and 100GB telecommunication data for 4,950 yen (tax included) per month. It is overwhelmingly cheap compared to major Japanese carriers such as docomo, au, and Softbank. You can save phone costs because you can call anytime within 5 minutes, such as store reservations, callbacks, etc. There is a free overseas roaming service for 20GB, which is helpful for those who frequently go overseas on a business trip or temporary return. There is neither a minimum usage period nor a contract cancellation fee. Therefore, it is a clever choice for those who stay in Japan for less than one year and do not decide the returning date.

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There is a cheap SIM card for foreigners staying in Japan which is provided by mobal from the UK. If you have a SIM lock-free smartphone, you can use it without problems. The greatest benefit is that it is possible to apply without holding a residence card or credit card. There are many pricing plans: a “Monthly Payment Plan” for which you purchase a SIM card and then select the data capacity (1GB, 5GB, 10GB, 30GB), and also short-term plans (30 days, 60 days, 90 days) for those who need a voice & data sim for a short stay. Even if you choose the Monthly Payment Plan, the minimum usage period is only one month so that you can stop using anytime you would like. No penalty for any cancellation is one of the best points of mobal. It is convenient to use for foreigners who stay in Japan shortly, such as short-term study abroad, working holidays, and business trips. Also, customer support provides help in English and Chinese. If you stay for less than a year, it is a good choice for a low-priced SIM card.

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Data-only SIMs in Japan

Data-only SIMs allows you to use the Internet communication only. The good point is that monthly payment is quite low. It is recommended for those who do not call (or only uses an IP phone) and use SMS; It is for those who use the smartphone only for the Internet communication and Apps under the Internet connections.

Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE Free)
  • Mini Plan (3GB + LINE Free):¥990
  • Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE Free):¥2,728
Initial Cost -
Minimum Period of Use -
Cancellation Penalty Fee ¥0
Data Transmission Speed Not opened
Transfer the remained data traffic -
Unlocked Cell Phone Disable to buy
Special offer
  • You can get a PayPay points of 3,000 yen as a newly subscribed to the smartphone plan. Besides, you can get another Paypay bonus of 10,000 yen if you transfer from other carriers, except for SoftBank, Y!mobile, and LINE Mobile.
  • By signing up for a new contract or transferring to the Mini Plan, you will receive PayPay points worth 990 yen every month for up to 6 months. *Transfers from SoftBank, Y!mobile, and LINE MOBILE are not eligible.
    *End date is undecided.
  • The optional calling semi-flat rate plan (550 yen/month), which provides free calls within Japan of up to 5 minutes, is free for one year after subscribing to LINEMO.
  • Calling flat-rate (1,650 yen/month), an option for unlimited calls within Japan, is available for 1,100 yen/month for one year after subscribing to LINEMO.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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Data-only SIMs Monthly Plan
  • Type D : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥740
  • Type D : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥900
  • Type D : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,400
  • Type D : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,730
  • Type D : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥1,950
  • eSIM : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥440
  • eSIM : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥660
  • eSIM : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,100
  • eSIM : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,430
  • eSIM : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥1,650
Initial Cost ¥3,300
SIM card preparation fee Type D:¥433
Type A:¥447
eSIM:¥220
Minimum Period of Use The end of the next month
Data Transmission Speed Type D:Max downstream speed: 1288Mbps
Type A:Max downstream speed: 958Mbps
Transfer the remained data traffic To next month
Unlocked Cell Phone Enable to buy
Special offer
  • If you newly contract IIJmio by October 31st, the Initial Cost will be reduced from 3,300yen to 1,650yen.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII Plan
  • 0GB~3GB: ¥1,078
  • 3GB~20GB Plan: ¥2,178
  • 20GB~unlimited Plan: ¥3,278
Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII Plan (second line)
  • 0GB~3GB: ¥1,078
  • 3GB~20GB Plan: ¥2,178
  • 20GB~unlimited Plan: ¥3,278
Initial Cost -
Minimum Period of Use -
Data Transmission Speed Rakuten network service area: high speed data communication
Rakuten partner network service area: after using up the allocated 5GB, Max downstream speed is 1Mbps
Transfer the remained data traffic To next month (except Basic Plan)
Unlocked Cell Phone Enable to buy
Special offer
  • You will receive a maximum of Rakuten Points worth 8,000 yen when applying for the Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII plan of Rakuten Mobile and using the Rakuten Link app to make a call of 10 seconds or more.
  • You will receive a maximum of 24,000 points by following the steps. First, you newly apply (or transfer) Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII of Rakuten Mobile. At the same time, you purchase an applicable iPhone and make a call for 10 seconds or more via the Rakuten Link app.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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Data + SMS SIMs in Japan

Data + SMS SIMs are enabled you to browse the Internet and send SMS. SMS is used for identity verification with Apps, such as LINE. It is recommended those who use Apps that require the confirmation of an individual through SMS.

Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE Free)
  • Mini Plan (3GB + LINE Free):¥990
  • Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE Free):¥2,728
Initial Cost -
Minimum Period of Use -
Cancellation Penalty Fee ¥0
Data Transmission Speed Not opened
Transfer the remained data traffic -
Unlocked Cell Phone Disable to buy
Special offer
  • You can get a PayPay points of 3,000 yen as a newly subscribed to the smartphone plan. Besides, you can get another Paypay bonus of 10,000 yen if you transfer from other carriers, except for SoftBank, Y!mobile, and LINE Mobile.
  • By signing up for a new contract or transferring to the Mini Plan, you will receive PayPay points worth 990 yen every month for up to 6 months. *Transfers from SoftBank, Y!mobile, and LINE MOBILE are not eligible.
    *End date is undecided.
  • The optional calling semi-flat rate plan (550 yen/month), which provides free calls within Japan of up to 5 minutes, is free for one year after subscribing to LINEMO.
  • Calling flat-rate (1,650 yen/month), an option for unlimited calls within Japan, is available for 1,100 yen/month for one year after subscribing to LINEMO.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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Data + SMS SIMs Monthly Plan
  • Type D : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥820
  • Type D : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥970
  • Type D : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,470
  • Type D : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,780
  • Type D : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥1,980
  • Type A : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥820
  • Type A : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥970
  • Type A : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,470
  • Type A : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,780
  • Type A : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥1,980
Initial Cost ¥3,300
SIM card preparation fee
  • Type D:¥433
  • Type A:¥447
  • eSIM:¥220
Minimum Period of Use The end of the next month
Data Transmission Speed Type D:Max downstream speed: 1288Mbps
Type A:Max downstream speed: 958Mbps
Transfer the remained data traffic To next month (except Pay-as-you-go Plan)
Unlocked Cell Phone Enable to buy
Special offer
  • If you newly contract IIJmio by October 31st, the Initial Cost will be reduced from 3,300yen to 1,650yen.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII Plan
  • 0GB~3GB: ¥1,078
  • 3GB~20GB Plan: ¥2,178
  • 20GB~unlimited Plan: ¥3,278
Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII Plan (second line)
  • 0GB~3GB: ¥1,078
  • 3GB~20GB Plan: ¥2,178
  • 20GB~unlimited Plan: ¥3,278
Initial Cost -
Minimum Period of Use -
Data Transmission Speed Rakuten network service area: high speed data communication
Rakuten partner network service area: after using up the allocated 5GB, Max downstream speed is 1Mbps
Transfer the remained data traffic To next month (except Basic Plan)
Unlocked Cell Phone Enable to buy
Special offer
  • You will receive a maximum of Rakuten Points worth 8,000 yen when applying for the Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII plan of Rakuten Mobile and using the Rakuten Link app to make a call of 10 seconds or more.
  • You will receive a maximum of 24,000 points by following the steps. First, you newly apply (or transfer) Rakuten UN-LIMIT VII of Rakuten Mobile. At the same time, you purchase an applicable iPhone and make a call for 10 seconds or more via the Rakuten Link app.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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Data + Voice Call SIMs in Japan

Data + Voice Call SIMs have a phone number which started with “080” or “090”, and enables you to make a phone call. Of course, you can use the SMS function and the Internet communication. These SIMs include the functions as much as the general mobile phones. Those who would not like to downgrade the function of the mobile phone, you should choose this type.

Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE Free)
  • Mini Plan (3GB + LINE Free):¥990
  • Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE Free):¥2,728
Initial Cost -
Minimum Period of Use -
Cancellation Penalty Fee ¥0
Data Transmission Speed Not opened
Transfer the remained data traffic -
Unlocked Cell Phone Disable to buy
Special offer
  • You can get a Paypay bonus of 3,000 yen as a newly subscribed to the smartphone plan. Besides, you can get another Paypay bonus of 10,000 yen if you transfer from other carriers, except for SoftBank, Y!mobile, and LINE Mobile.
  • By signing up for a new contract or transferring to the Mini Plan, you will receive PayPay points worth 990 yen every month for up to 6 months. *Transfers from SoftBank, Y!mobile, and LINE MOBILE are not eligible.
    *End date is undecided.
  • The optional calling semi-flat rate plan (550 yen/month), which provides free calls within Japan of up to 5 minutes, is free for one year after subscribing to LINEMO.
  • Calling flat-rate (1,650 yen/month), an option for unlimited calls within Japan, is available for 1,100 yen/month for one year after subscribing to LINEMO.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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Data + Voice Call SIMs Monthly Plan
  • Type D : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥850
  • Type D : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥990
  • Type D : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,500
  • Type D : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,800
  • Type D : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥2,000
  • Type A : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥850
  • Type A : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥990
  • Type A : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,500
  • Type A : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,800
  • Type A : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥2,000
Initial Cost ¥3,300
SIM card preparation fee
  • Type D:¥433
  • Type A:¥447
  • eSIM:¥220
Minimum Period of Use The end of the next month
Cancellation Penalty Fee ¥0
Data Transmission Speed Type D : Max downstream speed: 1288Mbps
Type A : Max downstream speed: 958Mbps
Transfer the remained data traffic To next month (except Pay-as-you-go Plan)
Unlocked Cell Phone Enable to buy
Special offer
  • If you newly contract IIJmio by August 31st, the Initial Cost will be reduced from 3,300yen to 1,650yen.
  • By applying for IIJmio's Giga Plan during the special offer, you will receive a discount of 440 yen (including tax) for each monthly fee of six months. (*Until October 31, 2022)
  • If you apply for the flat-rate call option during the promotion, you will receive a 410 yen (tax included) discount for 7 months from the month you start using it. (* Until October 31, 2022)
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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Data + Voice Call SIMs Monthly Plan
  • 1GB Plan: ¥1,480
  • 5GB Plan: ¥2,980
  • 10GB Plan: ¥3,280
  • 30GB Plan: ¥4,380
  • *SIM Card Price: ¥3,000
Initial Cost -
Minimum Period of Use 1 month
Cancellation Penalty Fee -
Data Transmission Speed Not opened
Transfer the remained data traffic -
Special offer
  • The same SIM card is available for both Android and iPhone.
  • You can receive the SIM at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Kansai Airport, Chubu International Airport, as well as delivery to USA, UK, France, Germany, South Korea, Australia, Canada & Brazil, etc.
  • It is possible to apply without holding a residence card or credit card.
  • It is possible to share the Internet with multiple devices as a personal hotspot.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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Low-cost SIM card price Plan
  • 20GB + domestic free 5 minutes call: ¥2,970
  • 100GB + domestic free 5 minutes call: ¥4,950
Initial Cost -
Minimum Period of Use -
Cancellation Penalty Fee ¥0
Transfer the remained data traffic -
Unlocked Cell Phone Enable to buy
Special offer Using the Ōmori option (80GB per month) for the first time during the promotion term, you will receive 1,980 d-points, equivalent to the option's monthly usage fee. It lasts for up to 4 months until December 2022. (*The promotion is until December 31, 2022)
  • NOTICE: the information is based on September. 2022, the details may be changed.

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