Where Can I Buy a SIM Card in Japan? Introducing recommended prepaid SIM cards for travelers to Japan.

Recently, there’s been a rise in the use of eSIM, but it comes with its own set of risks. If activation fails or if you accidentally delete the eSIM, you might find yourself unable to use it even if there’s remaining data capacity.

On the other hand, physical SIM cards have several advantages over eSIM. As long as the SIM card isn’t damaged, you can use it for data communication, and it remains functional even if you change your device. Currently, physical SIM cards are more popular than eSIM.

For those traveling to Japan, the question arises: where can you buy a Prepaid SIM card?

Since Prepaid SIM cards are not available everywhere, it’s essential to know where to find them before coming to Japan.This article outlines the following information regarding prepaid SIM cards in Japan.

What you can do with a Japanese Prepaid SIM card(eSIM)

There are three types of SIMs in Japan “data-only”, “data + SMS”, and “data + voice call”.
Most prepaid SIM cards sold in Japan are data-only. Some of them can be used for SMS. SIM cards with numbers that can be used for Voice Call in Japan are rarely sold, and various procedures are required to purchase them.

DataSMSVoice Call
Prepaid SIM card/eSIMΔX

There are two types: one that terminates when data is used up regardless of the usage period, and another that allows low-speed communication within the usage period even after the data capacity is used up.
It is not possible to extend the duration of the program even if there is excess data.

In addition, there are not many SIM cards or eSIMs available for days longer than 30 days, and plans longer than 30 days become more expensive.

Quality of Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIMs in Japan

Most of all Prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs available in Japan are provided by MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators). During peak hours, typically between 12:00 and 14:00, or in crowded locations, the communication speed may slow down. This is due to the limited communication bandwidth offered by MVNOs, making it challenging to handle numerous communications simultaneously.

For those who require stable and fast communication in Japan, it is advisable to consider renting a Pocket Wi-Fi. The network of Pocket Wi-Fi in Japan is provided by major telecommunications carriers, not MVNOs. It is designed to handle large volumes of communication, even during peak hours or in crowded places, ensuring a consistently high-quality communication experience.
Pocket Wi-Fi Japan

Where to buy a prepaid SIM in Japan

In Japan, you can purchase a prepaid SIM card at the following places


Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased at stores at Narita, Haneda, and Kansai airports.
Vending machines
Vending machines are also available at Narita, Haneda, Kansai, and Itami airports.

SIM cards sold at airports are expensive and there are few types available, so it is a good idea to make a reservation before coming to Japan so that you can pick one up at the post office at the airport.

Consumer electronics stores

Bic Camera
Yodobashi Camera
Yamada Denki
Nojima, etc.

Many well-known Prepaid SIM cards are sold and have good communication quality. There is a wide variety of SIM cards available for sale, and they are inexpensive.

Convenience Store

Family Mart
Ministop, etc.

Prepaid SIMs are not sold in all stores, but only in a limited number of stores.
Do not expect to be able to buy them anywhere in Japan. As with the airport, SIM card prices are high and there is little variety.

A survey of SIM card prices available at convenience stores in Japan is below.
Prices and Quality of Prepaid SIM cards sold at convenience stores in Japan

Online Store

telecommunications company

With the exception of prepaid SIM cards sold directly by telecommunications companies, many types are available in online stores. The most cost-effective way for people before coming to Japan is to buy a SIM card from an online store and have it delivered to the airport or hotel.

Recommended online stores selling SIM cards

These companies sell SIM cards to travelers to Japan and can also pick them up at the airport.
They also offer delivery to hotels and other locations.
They sell both SIM cards and eSIMs.
The price is quite cheap.

Low price. Recommended for long-term users.

Sakura Mobile
Compared to the above two, the price may be a little higher, but I think this is a general price.
And the support is very generous.

Points to note when buying a prepaid SIM card at online store

For Japanese individuals contracted with major telecommunications companies, it is common to purchase data communication capacity in increments of 1GB. Prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs are also offered by MVNOs, and the pricing for data capacity is comparatively more affordable than that of major carriers.

Understanding the pricing structures for data capacity offered by both major carriers and MVNOs allows you to grasp the range of price levels for data communication capacity in Japan.

Major companiesMVNO
3GB2000 JPY1500 JPY
5GB3000 JPY2000 JPY
10GB4000 JPY3000 JPY
Please note that Prepaid SIMs cheaper than this price range may not be of good quality.

How to Buy Prepaid SIM Cards at Low Prices

A relatively inexpensive way to purchase a prepaid SIM card is to order online and receive it at a Japanese address.
You may think that there is no such thing as an address in Japan, but an address is ok, such as the hotel where you are staying.
Prepaid SIM cards are sold relatively low price at the following three Japanese online shopping malls. By setting the delivery address to the hotel where you are staying in Japan, you will be able to purchase a Prepaid SIM card at a relatively low cost in the price range that Japanese people purchase.

Purchasing at online shopping malls requires an understanding of Japanese, However, Amazon’s language-switching feature makes it relatively easy to make purchases even if you do not understand Japanese.

Recommended Japanese prepaid SIM cards

We have highlighted SIM cards available on Amazon Japan.
There are many types on Amazon, but we have selected those that are purchased by many Japanese and have high review ratings.
They do not deliver to the airport, but they will deliver to the hotel where you are staying in Japan.

Please click here to see how to have Amazon Japan deliver to your hotel in Japan.
How to buy from Amazon in Japan and pick up at the hotel


The difference in communication speed between MVNO SIMs and those of major carriers varies greatly depending on the time of day.
MVNO communication speeds often drop to less than half. You might be felt slow speeds with a MVNO’s prepaid SIM, for example when watching YouTube video on your smartphone. However The speed is fine for use with a smartphone.
If you want to watch videos, rent a Pocket Wi-Fi instead of a Prepaid SIM.
Most Pocket Wi-Fi uses the networks of major carriers for data transmission, so the speed is faster and more stable than with Prepaid SIM cards or eSIMs.

rent a Pocket Wi-Fi

If you want high-capacity data communication

If you need more than 50 GB of data, there are few high-capacity plans on Prepaid SIM cards, and even if there were large capacities, the quality of the transmission speed is often poor.
If you want data communications that exceed 50GB, rent a Pocket Wi-Fi.
Pocket Wi-Fi is an essential item for visitors to Japan, as it provides convenient, easy, and stable Internet access.

2022 Best Pocket WiFi Rental at Narita Airport – Pocket WiFi Rental Comparison

← Best way for over 30 days stay in Japan: Pocket Wifi or SIM Card/eSIM?
2024 Best Pocket WiFi Rental at Narita Airport - Japan Pocket WiFi Rental Comparison →


I am Japanese and my nickname is Momo. I have been working in the mobile telecommunications industry for about 7 years and am familiar with Japanese telecommunications services. Although my English is not very good, I would like to provide useful telecommunication-related information to those who stay in Japan as accurately as possible.

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