A few friends have come to visit us in Japan now, and we’ve had to help them out with some good SIM card options so they could have internet while they were in Japan on a short stay.
These type of SIM cards are often called Travel SIM Cards and generally include a data (and/or voice) option which is valid for a short period of time, usually 7 – 30 days.
Usually, the travel SIM cards are just a data only option, which means you can’t make phone calls. We solved this problem by setting up our Skype account with some phone credit and use that when we need to make phone calls (which is pretty rare).
Travel SIM cards are prepaid cards specifically aimed at travelers who are only in Japan for a short amount of time (as opposed to SIM card options where you have a monthly fee and can also have a minimum contract period).
One of the easiest travel SIM options we’ve seen in Japan is from Bic Camera, a massive chain store which is nearly everywhere and often has multiple branches in main cities in Japan.
Luckily, there are a fair few options available, with one of the main providers being IIJmio:
Anyway, our friends ended up getting a B-mobile prepaid SIM card from Bic Camera which had 5GB of data to be used over 21 days, for around 3,477 Yen (including tax).
If you are shopping at Bic Camera, don’t forget to take your Passport, as showing this will get you an exemption from the 8% tax that usually gets added on to the price.
Although there was no test SIM available (where the staff put a test SIM from that company in your phone to make sure it will work before you buy it), they had no issues with their iPhone and Samsung Android phones and the B-mobile SIM card.
There are of course other options from 1-2GB with a 30 day (or even 3 month) time limit, again from Bic Camera. They have heaps of options.
We also saw prepaid SIM Cards available in Sapporo Station’s Information Centre in a vending machine, but these seemed a bit more pricey than the options at Bic Camera (1.2GB for 3200 Yen and 3.2GB for 5500 Yen).
So, if you’re traveling to Japan for a short visit, and want to have a SIM card for access to the internet, we’d recommend checking out a Bic Camera store to buy a prepaid travel SIM card at the start of your trip. These seem to be the best value prepaid cards that we’ve seen so far.