Should I get a SIM Card when travelling to Japan? SIMカード

Prepaid SIM cards allow for high-speed data usage during travels to Japan, but whether or not purchasing one is the best option for an upcoming trip depends on the individual. We'll compare a temporary Japanese SIM card to other popular options for staying connected. 

 

Be aware that only an unlocked phone can use the Japanese SIM card, so be sure to check for phone compatibility prior to purchasing. Also note that the SIM card does not support access to phone calls or SNS messaging, but making calls through messenger applications like LINE (the most popular service in Japan), Whatsapp, or another service is possible and largely standard.

In order to assess if a SIM card is the best choice as an international traveler, we’ll compare using a SIM card to three of the most common alternatives; Data roaming with pre-existing phone plans, foregoing individual data and instead relying on free public WiFi, and renting a pocket WiFi device.

SIM card 3

SIM card installation

@Wikimedia

Do I Need a SIM Card?
SIM Card 4

Data roaming notification

@flickr/ Kai Hendry

If someone is handling sensitive or personal information, they should be aware of the risks that may come up. Through a SIM card, data is used individually and kept private, avoiding these security risks. 

So given all these caveats, does foregoing personal data usage for free public WiFi work well for any visitors? For individuals traveling to Japan for business trip purposes and will predominantly be spending their stay at hotels, offices, or meeting spots, depending solely on the internet options provided at these locations may be more than adequate. Though, if one falls under this category, be aware that the security risks still exist. Working with confidential information should be avoided or done with a reliable Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. 

SIM Card 5

Working at a cafe is a common option for remote work

@pxhere

Check out these awesome options for mobile data usage in Japan!

  • Included : Pre-charged and ready to use, Unlimited free access to high-speed internet, Up to 150Mbps, Fast and secure delivery
Must have
  • Included : High autonomy (up to 12 hours of use), Economic and simple
Must have

Through Japan Experience, pocket WiFi devices are available for rental at a price starting at 44 USD for 5 days and SIM cards are available for purchase at a price starting at 29 USD for 8 days

If one has reserved a pocket WiFi device, they will need to pick it up at the airport upon arrival or have it sent to their place of stay within Japan. From here, it is simple to use and just requires a password to connect to the WiFi hotspot. 

A pocket WiFi carries some stand-out benefits, most notably the ability to host multiple connections at once through a hotspot. This is especially beneficial to those traveling within groups or families who wish to share internet access along with those needing to operate multiple devices, like tablets or laptops, during their trip. 

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