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waggie

Data SIM card for Japan

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Hi

Any thoughts on the best  data only SIM card to buy for our trip around Japan?

 

Thanks

Waggie

Edited by waggie
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NTT-Dokomo and Softbank are 2 of the largest cellular providers in JPN with prepaid/visitors plan, including fast 4G-LTE data package/options - what kind of device/smartphone or iPhone will you be using it on - not all "global" hardware used in EU/UK are 100% compatible as there are some exclusive bands or frequencies that are JPN only, especially if you are cruising & will be using it ashore in less populated area.  

 

Their websites is also in English for additional details - a portable MiFi router is rather inexpensive, easy pickup at the airport on arrival and/or shipped - delivered to your hotel ahead of your stay; drop-off when leaving (postage-paid envelope to mail or at designated counters/stores/kiosk, etc.) - supporting multiple connections (an USB powerbank will keep it running for extended duration on the go ...)

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Thank you for such a detailed response - really helpful!

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In Japan, you can only buy a Japanese SIM card if you are a Japanese resident.

You can rent or borrow one from many different sources.

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When we travel thru and while in Asia - we used either prepaid sim (refillable) and/or - lately, our own Google Fi data only sims (2 of them ) plus a voice line on Google Fi, with inexpensive 4G/LTE coverage in 200 countries.  

 

Newer/est iPhone should have most of the 4G/LTE bands needed - better than the average UK, EU and USA smartphone (i.e. those dual-sim "global" devices) as Japan has its unique radio bands or frequencies (like China) not used elsewhere.  

 

NTT-Docomo has a visitors WiFi coverage that's inexpensive while you are traveling around in Japan (most likely NOT while at sea on your cruise ship as that's satelite coverage) -

https://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/english/service/data/

https://visitor.docomowifi.com/en/

However, the effective range of the nearest WiFi signal is limited - sometimes, you are better off having/getting a solid cellular signal ... more expensive, if your place of stay/hotel does "not" offer or include free WiFI, most do - if not all - these days. NTT-D's "Japan Welcome SIMTM prepaid SIM card service" is your answer.  You will have to find it at a local NTT-D store or service centre in Japan to get this, i.e. on arrival at the airport.  

https://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/english/info/media_center/pr/2018/1009_00.html

A little more info - https://visitor.docomowifi.com/en/area/

 

Amazon has a # of prepaid sim plans designed for Japan visitors - priced about the same, to give you an idea about prices - some of them are data only, voice calling & SMS/texting not included or covered - 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=japanese+sim+card&gclid=Cj0KCQiAtf_tBRDtARIsAIbAKe0rKwoSDJz0s5T0fFC_upH8UJBZjCHpGSUwNnXrv5h7f9Cko9AWHAkaAhkCEALw_wcB&hvadid=174258152586&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9004381&hvnetw=g&hvpos=1o1&hvqmt=b&hvrand=14181752518103429635&hvtargid=kwd-1772299402&hydadcr=24658_9648989&tag=googhydr-20&ref=pd_sl_15rqmqo46u_b

 

It's common to find self-service vending machines and/or kiosk at the airport, i.e. this is for NRT (Toyko Int'l A/P) - just a matter of finding NTT-D's 

https://www.narita-airport.jp/en/service/svc_19

A preview of their prepaid sim card, how to activate & use - in English - including how to set their APN (if not auto-configured & updated OTA)

https://www.ntt.com/personal/services/mobile/one/visitor/en.html

 

Most Apple devices are support & on their list ... ditto for our Motorola (woohoo) but not for my newest Umidigi A5 Pro global dual-sim (but, it has extra bands that the Motorola doesn't have - good) 

 

You should take a look at the Japan destination forum on CC's counterpart on FlyerTalk - good luck & enjoy.  These should get you a running start.  

 

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We find this website really helpful:  Prepaid Data Sim Card Wiki

 

We've bought various prepaid data sims during our various trips to Japan.  They've gotten a lot easier to use as in the early days, you'd have to call in and register, etc but for some,you may still need to configure your APN settings.  You'll find sims sold at the airport and at major electronic stores like Yodobashi Camera in town.   There are so many options.  For me, I never really found coverage to be a problem.  It was more about picking an option with a plan that met my needs in terms of trip length and data usage.  Some sim expire after x number of days.  There will be varying data limits:  daily or total amount, some with speed reductions after hitting your limit, etc.

 

Most recently we did a mifi/pocket wifi rental from Ninja Wifi based on an article from TokyoCheapo. The pro's with the pocket wifi is that you can share the wifi.  Cons are that my pocket wifi only had enough power for 3/5 to 2/3 of a day so I needed to either charge it during a midday rest break or via a battery pack.  You obviously can't message each other to rendezvous if you split up.  If arriving and departing from major airports, they're pretty easy to pick up and return.

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Thank you all for your responses - that is what i love about CC!

I ordered a Docomo and FOMA Data Sim ($30 for 16 days unlimited) online from Japan Experience - JapanRail East. I collected it in London today and the paperwork for activation looks straightforward.🤔

 

I will report back for those people following this thread.

Thanks again,

Waggie

Edited by waggie
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I use a skyroam hotspot all over the world. Also used it on two Japan cruises.

Personally I don´t want to worry about sim cards in different countries. 

 

Skyroam can be used anywhere without purchasing cards. On cruises going to different countries it will work in every port. It can be used by monthly subscription or wit day passes. I use the day passes so I only pay when I actually use it. 

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Japan does have another interesting option which is a "Pocket WiFi."  You might want to Google this option (available from a few companies).  Assuming that your home cell provider has WiFi calling, a single pocket wifi will connect all your devices at a pretty reasonable price.  You not only get unlimited data but can make/receive calls via WiFi calling.

 

Hank

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Just back from our  wonderful Japan cruise - the data sim worked perfectly everywhere - extremely good coverage even far out to sea!

It was simple to set up, clear instructions and data speeds seemed very reasonable despite being LTE rather than 4G.Totally recommend this product.

Waggie

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