Japan SIM Card and Pocket WiFi
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Japan SIM Card or Pocket WiFi – Which One is Better to Use?

Anywhere you go, internet connectivity is essential. This is why we made sure to secure our Japan SIM card on our first trip to the Land of the Rising Sun. But why did we use a SIM card instead of a pocket WiFi in Japan? We’ll let you know later.


Is it better to get a pocket WiFi or a SIM card in Japan? With so many options, it’ll be challenging to pick which one to use in Japan. We’ll break down the things to consider so you can choose the right one for you.

Japan SIM card

What is a Japan SIM card?

Japan SIM Card from SoftBank
SoftBank Prepaid SIM we used in Japan | © Chill and Travel

A Japan SIM card is a small plastic card inserted into your phone so you can communicate via call or text and use mobile data for internet connection while in Japan. SIM cards are provided by telcos and internet service providers in a particular country.

What is the best SIM card for Japan?

Here are some of the best Japan SIM cards foreigners can purchase online:

1. Docomo 4G SIM Card

This 4G SIM card is offered by NTT Docomo, one of Japan’s biggest telcos. It features unlimited 4G data which you can use for 7 days anywhere in Japan. It is also open-dated, which means you can use the mobile voucher anytime within 60 days from your booking confirmation.

Price: ¥2,800 (US$18.80) for 7 days validity


2. Sakura Mobile 4G SIM Card

This 4G SIM card is offered by Sakura Mobile, a popular wireless service provider in Japan. It features unlimited 4G data, which is usable across Japan for 5 to 31 days, depending on your preferred validity period.

Price: ¥3,500 (US$23.50) for 5 days validity


3. NINJA WiFi 4G SIM Card

This 4G SIM card is powered by NINJA WiFi, one of the popular WiFi providers in Japan. It features unlimited 4G data which you can use all over Japan for 5 to 16 days, depending on your chosen validity period.

Price: ¥3,500 (US$23.50) for 5 days validity


4. Telecom Square 4G SIM Card

This 4G SIM card is provided by Telecom Square, one of the reliable telcos in Japan. It features unlimited 4G data with coverage all over Japan. You may choose a validity period of 8 days, 16 days, or 31 days.

Price: ¥4,980 (US$33.45) for 8 days validity


How much is the SIM card in Japan?

A Japan SIM card could cost an average of ¥3,500 (US$23.50) for 5 days, depending on the service provider and validity period. See a summary of Japan SIM card costs below:

Japan SIM card prices 2023 (online purchase)

Service Provider 5 Days 8 Days 16 Days 31 Days
Docomo ¥2,800 (7 days only)
Sakura Mobile ¥3,500 ¥4,000 ¥6,000 ¥7,000
NINJA WiFi ¥3,500 ¥3,980 ¥5,980
Telecom Square ¥4,980 ¥5,980 ¥6,980

*Do note that Japan SIM card prices are accurate as of publication date and may change without prior notice. Be sure to check the respective listings prior to your trip.

How to get a Japan SIM card?

Japan SIM Card & WiFi Rental from Telecom Square
Telecom Square Mobile Center at Haneda Airport | Photo credit: Haneda Airport Official Website

We always recommend that you secure your Japan SIM card before traveling to the country to avoid inconvenience.

After buying online, you can claim the physical SIM card at designated locations in airports like Narita Airport and Haneda Airport in Tokyo, and Kansai Airport in Osaka.

If you failed to buy your Japan SIM card prior to your trip, you may still buy your SIM card at mobile centers or airport counters for telcos and network providers including NTT Docomo, Sakura Mobile, Telecom Square, and NINJA WiFi. Alternatively, you may find Japanese vending machines at airports that sell prepaid SIM cards.

Can foreigners buy a SIM card in Japan?

Japan SIM Card Vending Machine
Japan SIM card vending machine | © Chill and Travel

Yes, foreigners can buy their SIM cards in Japan. As mentioned earlier, you can buy your Japan SIM card at designated mobile centers and counters as well as vending machines at airports in Japan.

However, to avoid the hassle of searching for a SIM card in Japan, we suggest that you get your SIM card before your trip and claim it at designated counters in Japan airports. By doing so, you’ll be at ease knowing you have internet connectivity as soon as you land in Japan.


Japan pocket WiFi

What is a Japan pocket WiFi?

Japan pocket WiFi by SoftBank
Photo credit: yoppy

A Japan pocket WiFi is a small wireless device which you can bring anywhere to give internet connection to your gadgets like phones, laptops, and tablets. Usually, a SIM card from a mobile network is connected to the pocket WiFi device.

What is the best pocket WiFi for Japan?

You’ll find a lot of pocket WiFi rentals in Japan, but here are some of the available ones you can rent online:

1. NINJA WiFi 4G Pocket WiFi

This pocket WiFi from NINJA WiFi is a reliable pocket WiFi device featuring unlimited 4G WiFi across Japan. It has a battery life of up to 9 hours and can be shared by up to 5 devices.

Price: ¥597 (US$3.95) per day


2. Softbank 4G Pocket WiFi

This pocket WiFi from Softbank is one of the trusted portable WiFi devices in Japan offering unlimited 4G WiFi in the entire country. It has an upload speed of 50mbps and a download speed of 150mbps, which can be shared with up to 10 devices. It also has a battery life of up to 9 hours.

Price: ¥597 (US$3.95) per day


3. Softbank 4G Pocket WiFi with Powerbank

This pocket WiFi from Softbank comes with a powerbank to charge your gadgets while on the go. The pocket WiFi itself has the same features as the previous one, but what’s nice about this one aside from the powerbank is that it can get delivered straight to your hotel in Japan. Pretty convenient, huh?

Price: ¥597 (US$3.95) per day


4. Docomo 4G LTE WiFi

This pocket WiFi from Docomo is a reliable pocket WiFi in Japan featuring unlimited 4G/LTE WiFi shared with up to 5 devices. Compared to other pocket WiFi devices, it has a longer battery life that can last up to 10 hours.

Price: ¥750 (US$4.95) per day


How much does pocket WiFi cost in Japan?

Japan pocket WiFi may cost ¥597 (US$3.95) to ¥750 (US$4.95) per day which can be shared with 5-10 devices, depending on the service provider. See a summary of Japan pocket WiFi rentals below:

Japan pocket WiFi prices 2023 (online purchase)

Service Provider Battery Life # of Devices Cost Per Day
NINJA WiFi 9 hrs 5 ¥597
Softbank 9 hrs 10 ¥597
Softbank (WiFi + Powerbank) 9 hrs 10 ¥597
Docomo 10 hrs 5 ¥750

*Pocket WiFi prices above are accurate as of publication date. Check the respective listings for the most updated Japan pocket WiFi rates.

How to get pocket WiFi in Japan?

SoftBank Global Rental - Narita Airport
SoftBank Global Rental at Narita Airport | Photo credit: SoftBank Official Website

It’s always best to secure your Japan pocket WiFi before your trip. Same with Japan SIM cards, you can collect the actual pocket WiFi device at designated counters in Japan airports such as Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, and Kansai Airport.

Some Japan pocket WiFi rentals like this Softbank Pocket WiFi with powerbank can also be delivered to your Japan hotel prior to your arrival.


Is it worth getting pocket WiFi in Japan?

Yes, pocket WiFi in Japan is worth it, especially for group travelers. You can share the WiFi with multiple devices, allowing you to save more since you can split the costs.

Is Japan pocket WiFi unlimited?

Yes, Japan pocket WiFi is unlimited, with a minimum of 3GB of high-speed data daily. Some even offer up to 10GB of high-speed data at a higher cost.

Japan SIM card vs Pocket WiFi: Which is better?

Japan SIM Card and Pocket WiFi
Mt. Fuji photo by Life of Wu | SIM Card and pocket WiFi from Sakura Mobile

So, is it better to get a SIM card or pocket WiFi in Japan? The answer to that question actually depends on several factors including the number of people, length of stay, and budget.

Which one is cheaper?

If we compare the costs let’s say for 7 days (one week), a SIM card could cost ¥2,800 and a pocket WiFi could cost ¥4,179, but it’s already good for up to 10 devices.

Meaning, if you are traveling in groups, it would be more practical to get a pocket WiFi since you can share the WiFi and split the cost. For instance, if there are 10 people, you’ll only spend ¥417.9 each for 7 days. But if you are traveling solo or as a couple, it’s better to get the SIM card since it’ll only cost you ¥2,800 for 7 days as opposed to paying the entire pocket WiFi cost of ¥4,179.

You factor everything in, do the math, and see which is cheaper for your Japan trip.

What are the pros and cons?

Japan SIM Card

  • No need to carry a separate device
  • It’s cheaper for solo travelers and couples
  • You can keep the SIM card as a souvenir since you don’t need to return it
  • Setting up could take time
  • Possible phone compatibility issues
  • Usage is dependent on your phone’s battery life

Japan Pocket WiFi

  • Easy to use and no setup needed
  • Cost-effective for big groups of 5 or more people
  • Shareable to 5 or more devices
  • Additional device to carry and charge
  • You need to return the device
  • Battery life is limited to 9-10 hours

What do we recommend as travelers?

Now, let us answer the question in the intro as to why we used a SIM card instead of a pocket WiFi in Japan. It’s quite simple. We traveled as a couple so there were only two of us. It was only practical to get one SIM card since only one person had to use the internet for research and navigation. If we needed to upload our photos and videos, we just used the free public WiFi like the one in our hotel so we could save on data usage.

If you are a solo traveler or a couple like us, we recommend that you get a SIM card in Japan. But if you are traveling in groups of say 5 or more people, it would be better for you to rent a pocket WiFi instead as it’s more cost-effective.

Now that you know all these, which one will you use when traveling in Japan: SIM card or pocket WiFi? Pick wisely!

Looking for more Japan travel inspiration? You might be interested to read our Japan visa guide for Filipinos, Japan visa without ITR guide, and Japanese food guide.

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