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

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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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 two pricing plans: a “Monthly Payment Plan” that you can purchase a SIM card as selecting the data capacity, and a “Prepaid SIM Card” that allows you to use high-speed data up to 7GB every month (Prepaid SIM only available at Mobal Chinese website) . 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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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. There is only one price plan, called Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE Free), which costs 2,728 yen (tax included), per month. Compared to major carriers, it is overwhelmingly low price. 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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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.

Data-only SIMs Monthly Plan
  • Type D : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥748
  • Type D : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥968
  • Type D : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,408
  • Type D : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,738
  • Type D : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥1,958
  • 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
Campaign Info. If you newly contract IIJmio by August 31st, 2021, the Initial Cost will be reduced from 3,300yen to 1yen.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on June. 2021, the details may be changed.

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Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI Plan
  • 0GB~1GB:¥0
  • 1GB~3GB: ¥1,078
  • 3GB~20GB Plan: ¥2,178
  • 20GB~unlimited Plan: ¥3,278
Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI Plan (second line)
  • 0GB~1GB:¥1,078
  • 1GB~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
Campaign Info.
  • By applying for Rakuten Mobile's plan: Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI, the monthly fee is free for three months!
  • By applying for Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI, you can get Rakuten points worth up to 27,000 yen (*until 8:59(JST) on June 11).
  • By applying for Rakuten UN-LIMIT V and Rakuten Hand for the first time, they return Rakuten points worth up to 26,999 yen. You can purchase Rakuten Hand for virtually 0 yen.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on June. 2021, 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.

Data + SMS SIMs Monthly Plan
  • Type D : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥825
  • Type D : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥1,045
  • Type D : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,485
  • Type D : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,815
  • Type D : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥2,035
  • Type A : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥825
  • Type A : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥1,045
  • Type A : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,485
  • Type A : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,815
  • Type A : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥2,035
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
Campaign Info. If you newly contract IIJmio by August 31st, 2021, the Initial Cost will be reduced from 3,300yen to 1yen.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on June. 2021, the details may be changed.

Check Now (in Japanese)

Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI Plan
  • 0GB~1GB:¥0
  • 1GB~3GB: ¥1,078
  • 3GB~20GB Plan: ¥2,178
  • 20GB~unlimited Plan: ¥3,278
Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI Plan (second line)
  • 0GB~1GB:¥1,078
  • 1GB~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
Campaign Info.
  • By applying for Rakuten Mobile's plan: Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI, the monthly fee is free for three months!
  • By applying for Rakuten UN-LIMIT VI, you can get Rakuten points worth up to 27,000 yen (*until 8:59(JST) on June 11).
  • By applying for Rakuten UN-LIMIT V and Rakuten Hand for the first time, they return Rakuten points worth up to 26,999 yen. You can purchase Rakuten Hand for virtually 0 yen.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on June. 2021, the details may be changed.

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Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE Free) 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 To next month
Unlocked Cell Phone Disable to buy
Campaign Info.
  • The optional plan "Call semi-flat rate", which allows you to make free domestic calls within 5 minutes, is free for one year after joining the Smartphone Plan.
  • You can use the all-you-can-call option "Call Flat-rate" in Japan for 1,100 yen per month for one year after joining the Smartphone Plan.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on June. 2021, 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.

Data + Voice Call SIMs Monthly Plan
  • Type D : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥858
  • Type D : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥1,078
  • Type D : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,518
  • Type D : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,848
  • Type D : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥2,068
  • Type A : 2GB Plan(2GB):¥858
  • Type A : 4GB Plan(4GB):¥1,078
  • Type A : 8GB Plan(8GB):¥1,518
  • Type A : 15GB Plan(15GB):¥1,848
  • Type A : 20GB Plan(20GB):¥2,068
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
Campaign Info.
  • If you newly contract IIJmio by August 31st, 2021, the Initial Cost will be reduced from 3,300yen to 1yen.
  • During a promotion, you can get a smartphone at a discounted price. To get it, you need to apply the Giga plan's Data + Voice Call SIM and an applicable smartphone as a set by transferring from another company (MNP).
  • NOTICE: the information is based on June. 2021, the details may be changed.

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Data + Voice Call SIMs Monthly Plan
  • Voice + Text (SMS) Plan (Data is not included). (*): ¥1,000
  • 7GB Plan: ¥4,500
  • 10GB Plan: ¥5,980
  • 15GB Plan: ¥7,980
  • *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 -
Campaign Info.
  • If you are using Monthly Plan, you can enable the Vacation Option, which puts a temporary hold on your service and charges.
  • You can receive the SIM at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Kansai Airport, Fukuoka Airport, Chubu International Airport, Sendai Airport, as well as delivery to USA, UK, France, Germany, South Korea, Australia, Canada, and Brazil.
  • It is possible to apply without holding a residence card or credit card.
  • You can get free calls from 1 a.m. to 9 p.m. with SoftBank users, except 10 Months Plan of prepaid SIM.
  • NOTICE: If you use data within a calendar month, they will just bill you an additional ¥4,500 for that month.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on June. 2021, the details may be changed.

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Smartphone Plan (20GB + LINE Free) 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 To next month
Unlocked Cell Phone Disable to buy
Campaign Info.
  • The optional plan "Call semi-flat rate", which allows you to make free domestic calls within 5 minutes, is free for one year after joining the Smartphone Plan.
  • You can use the all-you-can-call option "Call Flat-rate" in Japan for 1,100 yen per month for one year after joining the Smartphone Plan.
  • NOTICE: the information is based on June. 2021, the details may be changed.

Check Now (in Japanese)