Japan Prepaid SIM Cards: A Visitor Guide with Maps for Airports
A guide to help anyone arriving in Japan find the cheapest and most convenient SIM cards. This guide includes locations of shops that sell SIM cards at Tokyo and Osaka airports, and the various options available to visitors staying from 1 week to 3 months in Japan. I used to travel to Japan frequently and can understand how confusing it can be. Hopefully this guide makes it less confusing.
The JAL ABC counters located in Tokyo Narita and Osaka airports are the most convenient options for good value SIM cards when arriving in Japan. JAL ABC sells the TRE SIM card which starts from 2,647 JPY and includes 2GB of data. If arriving at Haneda, Air Bic Camera is likely the best option. SIM cards can also be purchased online for delivery or collection upon arrival in Japan.
Read on for more details about these and other options, including the best SIM cards for visitors staying more than a week, available at Haneda (Tokyo), Narita (Tokyo), and Osaka airports, and options that can be ordered online for delivery or collection.
This guide to Tokyo's airport SIM cards includes:
- Part 1: Which SIM cards for Short and Long-stay Visitors
- Part 2: Maps to SIM card shops at Tokyo Narita and Haneda, and Osaka airports
- Part 3: Options for ordering a Japanese SIM Card Online
- Part 4: How it can be possible to save money by roaming to Japan (with examples from the US, Canada, UK, Australia and more)
Part 1: Which SIM cards are best for short and long-stay visitors
This part of the guide compares the best SIM cards for visitors staying in Japan up to a week, up to a month, up to 3 months, and more than 3 months. In general, finding the JAL ABC counter at the airport is a good way of finding the best SIM cards available.
For visitors staying a week:
- At Tokyo Narita airport (NRT), look for the JAL ABC counter which sells TRE SIM for 2,647 JPY with 2GB of data1
- At Tokyo Haneda airport (HND), look for the Air Bic Camera shop which sells b-mobile for 1,980 JPY with 5GB of data2
- At Osaka Kansai airport (KIX), look for the JAL ABC counter and its TRE SIM for 2,647 JPY with 2GB of data
For visitors staying up to a month:
- At Narita airport, JAL ABC sells the TRE SIM which is valid for 30 days and includes 2GB for 2,647 JPY or 6GB for 4,582 JPY
- At Haneda airport, Air Bic Camera sells b-mobile for 2,970 JPY with 7GB of data and 21 day validity, or Japan Travel SIM for 2,460 JPY with 1GB of data
- At Osaka airport (Kansai), JAL ABC also sells the TRE SIM with 30 day validity and starting from 2,647 JPY.
For visitors staying up to 3 months:
- At Narita, JAL ABC sells a Japan Prepaid SIM valid for 3 months with 2GB of data for 4,100 JPY +tax (data can be added)3
- At Haneda, there is a vending machine that sells Keikyu Travel SIM with 2GB for 4,200 JPY and 3 month validity (data can also be added)4
- At Osaka, Softbank sells a 10GB SIM card with 90 day validity for 7,150 JPY.5
Extending the validity is not possible for the majority of Japan visitor prepaid SIM cards. It is possible to add more data to some SIM cards, this does not necessarily extend the validity.
For visitors staying more than 3 months:
- Smash Mobile (online order) offers plans for short-term residents, Japanese ID may be required for the longer-term options6;
- Mobal offers (also online order) offers an unlimited plan for 4,500 JPY per month with a SIM card and delivery fee charged upfront7.
Other good options for visitors arriving in Japan via Tokyo or Osaka airports include:
- JAL ABC’s Unari-kun, which includes unlimited data starting at 4,073 JPY for 7 days8;
- So-net, sold at J WiFi, which starts from roughly 3,700 JPY for 1.2GB9.
I haven’t found any benefit to leaving the airport and buying a SIM card in the city - the airport deals are hard to beat in my opinion.
To save money, it can be cheaper to order online for collection at major airports in Japan, such as Tokyo and Osaka. SIM cards that can be ordered online include:
- Klook, which is roughly 1,600 JPY for 3GB of data with 8 day validity. Pick-up is from the Easy-go counter, with instructions provided on purchase (or click here to skip to my part of the guide about collecting an online-ordered SIM card);
- Mobal, with unlimited data starting from 3,990 JPY for 8 days;
- Smash Mobile, which delivers SIM cards for collection from airport post offices (typically open 7 days though close at 8pm) with prices starting from 2,500 JPY (+tax) for 1GB of data. SIM cards can also be delivered to a hotel or other accommodation.
If arriving at Haneda, I don’t like using Smash Mobile: The collection point is in the domestic terminal, which means catching the bus from international arrivals.
I’ve included more information about ordering online here: Part 3: Ordering Online.
Roaming to Japan can also be a good option for people coming from Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and New Zealand. I couldn’t find any deals better than roaming for people coming from the UK or Canada. For those from the US, check out AT&T’s Roaming Passport if interested in roaming in Japan.
For more roaming details, I’ve included a section of this guide detailing the costs involved for people from various countries (UK, US, Canada, Australia and more) here: Part 4: Roaming.
If transiting in Tokyo to a domestic flight, it is possible to purchase a SIM card after passing through customs. The JAL ABC counters mentioned in this guide are close to the domestic transfer desks. Scroll down to see maps below, or click here
Coverage: Most SIM cards, and roaming, use the NTT Docomo network. My understanding is it’s the most compatible with foreign mobile phones. Coverage is great whenever I’ve used it (around major cities, Niseko, and the Tochigi countryside). The alternative network is by Softbank, which Anyfone uses as well. I’ve never tried this one, but I imagine it too has good coverage. Other networks are available but they may not work with non-Japanese phones (such as KDDI).
Phone calls are NOT typically included in Japanese prepaid SIM cards that can be sold to foreigners. See below to find out how I make phone calls when I'm in Japan (or click here).
Part 2: Maps to SIM card locations when arriving in Japan
This part of the guide includes maps for SIM card shop locations at Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, and Osaka Kansai airports. I drew the maps myself after finding it difficult to rely on the airport maps (not all the shops were included).
Tokyo Narita & Tokyo Haneda
At Tokyo Narita, the following shops sell SIM cards:
- JAL ABC
- Telecom Square
- J WiFi
- Various vending machines
At Tokyo Haneda, SIM cards are sold from:
- A vending machine
- Air Bic Camera
For directions on where to buy a SIM card at any of the Tokyo airports, check out the guide I wrote here: https://landinglastminute.com/tokyo-airports-sim-card/
At Osaka airport, SIM cards can be purchased from:
- JAL ABC
For directions on where to buy a SIM card in Osaka, check out the guide I wrote here: https://landinglastminute.com/osaka-sim-card/
Part 3: Buying a Japanese SIM card online
Klook is an online voucher website where a virtual voucher is redeemed for a SIM card at the designated point. Klook has options starting from approximately 1,600 JPY. These seem to change frequently, but expect a SIM card that can last roughly 1 week, and include a generous amount of data.
Klook SIM cards are collected at airports only using the Easy-go counter:
- At Tokyo Narita Terminal 1, Easy-go is located in the Central building on 2F (1 floor up from international arrivals), it’s open 8:30am to 10pm every day;
- At Tokyo Narita Terminal 2, Easy-go is located upstairs from international arrivals, it’s also open 8:30am to 10pm every day;
- At Haneda, Easy-go is located in the arrivals area and opens 8:30am to 10pm every day;
- At Osaka, Easy-go is near the North Exit, after leaving customs - it is open 8:30am to 10pm every day.
Klook can be ordered online here: https://www.klook.com
Smash Mobile is an online only SIM card provider for visitors and short-term residents in Japan. Smash Mobile has plans including:
- 2,000 JPY for 1GB of data with 7 day validity;
- 2,800 JPY for 3GB of data with 15 day validity;
- 4,000 JPY for 6GB of data with 30 day validity.
Delivery fees and tax are added on to the above.
Smash Mobile can be delivered to any address in Japan, including hotels and other accommodation. Airport collection is via the post office, which is typically open 8am to 8pm every day in Tokyo and 8am to 5pm in Osaka. Note for Haneda: The post office is in the domestic terminal which is a bus ride away from international arrivals (so I don’t usually recommend Smash Mobile for people whose flight is arriving at Haneda).
Smash Mobile can be ordered online here: https://smashmobile.jp/
Mobal is a SIM card provider using the Softbank network (others normally use the NTT network). Mobal plans include:
- 8 days for 3,990 JPY
- 16 days for 5,990 JPY
- 31 days for 7,490 JPY
- 30 days recurring for 4,500 JPY (+3,000 JPY activation)
All Mobal plans have unlimited data.
Mobal appears to offer recurring prepaid plans for foreigners. It costs 3,000 JPY initially then 4,500 JPY per month.
Mobal SIM cards can be ordered to collect at many convenience stores throughout Japan, and even Hong Kong and Singapore as well. For Tokyo and Osaka:
- At Narita Terminal 1, I found it better to order collection from the QL Liner counters as these are open to meet every flight (unlike the alternatives);
- At Narita Terminal 2, also choose the QL Liner counter;
- At Haneda, Sky Market Red Horse Convenience Store in the arrivals area, open 24 hours except for brief breaks around 2am and 9pm;
- At Osaka, at the JTB Kansai Tourist Information Centre, open 7am to 10pm daily.
Mobal can be ordered online here: https://www.mobal.com/japan-sim-card/
Part 4: Is it Cheaper to Roam to Japan?
Roaming in to Japan can be cheaper, particularly for Australians, New Zealanders, and Singaporeans (see below).
- AT&T includes Japan with their Roaming Passport for 70 USD per month10;
- T-Mobile includes Japan in plans with Simple Global (unlimited 2G data)11.
For Americans not already subscribed to AT&T’s roaming passport, buying a local SIM card is likely the better option in Japan.
- Vodafone charges £6 per day to use your plan in Japan (free on plans that cover Roam-further destinations)12;
- EE charges £6 per day for 150mb of data13.
It’s more often cheaper to buy a local SIM card if visiting Japan from the UK.
- Rogers14 and Telus15 charge 12 CAD per day to use your regular quota in Japan;
- Bell charges 12 CAD per day for 500mb and unlimited calls to Japan and Canada16.
Canadians should also consider getting a local SIM cards when arriving in Japan.
- Telstra17 costs 10 AUD per day for roaming in Japan;
- Vodafone18 is only 5 AUD per day;
- Optus offers 10GB for 20 AUD lasting 14 days19.
The prepaid Optus 10GB for 20 AUD offer can be a good option for short trips to Japan, it seems comparable with a local SIM card. Otherwise I find Australians will get better value out of a local SIM card.
For New Zealanders:
- Spark roaming to Japan has options for 15 NZD including 1GB of data lasting 7 days, or 20 NZD to add on some calls and texts to that data20;
- Vodafone lets customers use their plan quotas for 7 NZD per day in Japan;21
- 2degrees starts from 30 NZD for 500mb lasting 3 days22.
For people with Spark and Vodafone, roaming can be better value than picking up a local SIM, if staying in Japan for less than a week.
- Singtel starts from 20 SGD for 2GB of data with 30 day validity23;
- Starhub has 1GB for 5 SGD with 3 day validity or 2GB for 15 SGD with 30 day validity24;
- M1 includes Japan in the 25 SGD data passport25, but it’s probably not worth the subscription.
Singaporeans with Singtel or Starhub should consider roaming in New Zealand - it is likely cheaper than a local SIM (particularly as Singaporeans are good at using apps to make phone calls)
Prepaid SIM cards for short-term visitors to Japan do not usually include local phone calls.
To make phone calls while in Japan I like to use a service such as Skype. Skype usually works well with a data connection and calls are 2-10 cents (USD) per minute depending on whether the call is going to a landline or mobile. For calling back home, I prefer using an app such as WhatsApp.
To receive phone calls in Japan, I’ve only ever tried using the app Line. I haven’t found a good solution to receiving phone calls from Japanese numbers while visiting Japan; let me know if you have a good idea.
It is apparently possible to receive calls with the Japan Travel SIM card (and its associated VoIP card) but I’ve never tried. I’ve also heard it’s possible using Softbank or a provider called Wi-Ho. These are the only ways I know of to get a phone number as a short-term visitor to Japan, a number that could be used by people outside the country can also use to call.
To find out more about the different options for calling people (and being called) while travelling, I wrote a helpful guide that can be found here: https://landinglastminute.com/calling-while-travelling-guide/
Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.
I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.