Sim Cards in Japan

Japanese Sim Cards for Visitors

It is completely up to each individual if they wish to purchase a sim card or not and by no means is Rugby Travel Ireland pushing for supporters to purchase cards.  However, it is our experience that having a data sim card whilst on tour in Japan is exceptionally helpful.  In general, it is not common for visitors to Japan to be able to purchase a voice sim card but the service provider Mobal does offer this.

RTI staff have found that a data only sim is sufficient for being able to operate in Japan.

Some providers offer free international shipping on sim cards so you can order online now and have your sim arrive at home to you with 2-5 business days.  This will allow you to get online as soon as you land in Japan and set up the sim card on your phone.

Why purchase a data sim?

  • You can easily keep in touch with your tour leader via WhatsApp if you need to
  • You can use Google Maps to help you get around your location or look up things to do
  • You can use your phone for Google Translate to help you with the language barrier
  • Keep in touch with home via video calls / WhatsApp at no additional crazy roaming costs from your home network
  • Keep up to date with everything that is happening during RWC 2019
  • For those of you who are active on social media you never have to worry about having to wait to be in a Wi-Fi zone.

Important Information:

In order for you to be able to use a data sim or voice and data sim whilst in Japan, the device (phone/tablet) which you wish to use it on must be unlocked by your network. You will need to contact your network provider (Vodafone / Three etc) to do this (please note that it may take up to a week to get the unlock code for your phone).

Which sim card should I get?

There are two types of sim cards that you can purchase:

  • Voice & Data Sim – In general you can only get this type of sim card if you are a resident in Japan. The only network that provides this service is Mobal listed below.
  • Data Only Sim – most popular and cheapest type of sim.

Whilst on our latest site visit Rugby Travel Ireland ops team tried out several different sim cards and researched the best value.

Additional Advice:

Please note that should you wish to use your own mobile phone for a data only sim, it will require you to take out your current sim card which will leave you unable to receive calls / text message or indeed make calls (not such a bad thing with the prices that are charged for roaming in Japan).

We would recommend that you have WhatsApp / Viber downloaded onto your phone prior to using the new sim card and this will then allow you to stay in touch via call and message with those who have the app on their phones back home.  You could always change your voicemail to let people know that you are currently out of network coverage but can be contacted via WhatsApp / Viber if you wish.

If you wish to be able to ring numbers or somebody who does not have WhatsApp / Viber back in Ireland / UK / in your home country we would suggest that you set up a Skype account, download the app onto your smartphone and you can dial landlines this way very cost effectively (ranging from €0.02 – €0.11 cents per minute)


These are just some of the cards that are available on the market.

Please note that Rugby Travel Ireland does not have any affiliation with or receive any commission from any of the suppliers listed.


  • Can order online and ships worldwide
  • Offers English speaking support
  • RTI staff have used this product

This company will deliver your sim card to you at home in advance of your arrival to Japan.  They are the only company who we found to be able to provide voice and data sim cards and also provide data only sim cards.  If you chose the free international shipping you will get their Free Rugby Supporters’ Bundle with a free beer in The Hub Pub, fan headband and a Rugby Fan Guide. You will also get free access to 400,000 WiFi hotspots around Japan to supplement your data usage.  They also provide English speaking customer service if required.

Japan Unlimited Voice & Data SIM

  • Purchase sim online (3,000 yen for sim) & complete activation process (2-3 mins) before you fly. This will require you to change some data settings on your phone so we would not complete this until the day you are flying out.
  • Plans cost 4,500 yen for 30 days and 9,000 for 60 days. This gives you 7GB of 4G/LTE data each calendar month you stay in Japan plus a Japanese phone number with free incoming calls & free calls on the same network for 20 hours a day. International calls available at reasonable rates.
  • Free Worldwide Delivery to Ireland/UK/ or Free Collection on Arrival in Japan

Japan Unlimited Data Tourist SIM

  • Purchase Sim online. Plans cost:
  • You get unlimited 4G LTE data to use throughout Japan
  • Your SIM works in any device – iPhone/iPad, Android or Windows. You can use it in your phone, your tablet or MiFi. Simply check that your device is fully unlocked and supports the 3G or 4G Band 1 (2100MHz) frequency
  • Sim card will need to be inserted into your device and you will ned to follow their instructions to change some data settings on your device.
  • Can be used for tethering / set-up your phone as a hotspot to connect multiple devices.

Simcard Geek

  • Can order online and there is free worldwide shipping available
  • Offers English speaking support
  • RTI have not used this product

This company offers free worldwide shipping of your sim card in 2-5 business days. With three simple options you can chose from 8day, 16day or 31 day covers.  Again with this type of sim which is data only, your device will need to be unlocked and you will need to change your APN setting on the device (instructions come with the simcard).

Price plans below:


  • Can order online and there is paid worldwide shipping available
  • Offers English speaking support
  • RTI staff have used this product

This company offers a range of different packages for 6days, 8days or 30days.  You will find a link on their website which will bring you to their amazon store to be able to pre-purchase a sim card and get it shipped to you by fedex.  Again with this type of sim which is data only, your device will need to be unlocked and you will need to change your APN setting on the device (instructions come with the simcard).

Other ways to get data only sim cards:

If you would prefer to wait until you are in Japan to purchase a sim card you can buy them at Bic Camera and Yodobashi Camera shops.  Please note that it is pot luck on whether assistants will be able to speak English and if the mobile network will have English support.  The terminology to use if you need to ask for a sim card is:


Shimu ka-do wo sagishiteimasu. Watashi ni au no wa dore desu ka? 

“I’m looking for a SIM card. Which one would be best for me?”