In order to use your mobile phone during your trip in Japan so that you can update your social media profiles, make voIP calls, surf the internet and stay in touch with your loved ones, the best thing you can do is get a local prepaid SIM Card that is compatible with the Japanese mobile phone networks. While they are available in many stores across Tokyo and other cities as well as in airports, we recommend that you find a data SIM Card Vending machine upon arrival in Narita International airport and start using it right away.
Among the perks of buying a SIM Card from a vending machine in Narita airport we count the immediateness and convenience of the transaction, the freedom of being able to use it in the prepaid modality for a limited period of time (normally during a 7-day or 14-day period) and the opportunity to purchase it without having to interact with sellers thus avoiding any possible language barriers.
There are three different companies offering their Japanese prepaid SIM cards for travellers to purchase at Narita International: NTT Communications, its vending machine being located on the 1st floor of the central building of Terminal 1; U-NEXT, with vending machines in the arrivals halls of both T1 and T2 and the main building at T3, and Sony Network – Telecomsquare, with SIM Card vending machines on basement 1 of Terminal 1 of Narita airport.
What are the specific conditions my mobile device must meet to use a prepaid SIM Card in Japan?
Generally, to make your prepaid Japanese SIM Card work, your mobile device should be unlocked and support frequencies of 2100MHz (Band 1), 800MHz (Band 19), 150MHz (Band 21) or 1800MHz (Band 3). Regardless of the fact that you normally use a regular SIM, a nano SIM or a micro SIM, the option “3 in 1” will allow you to adapt the size so that it fits perfectly into your phone.
What is the price of a prepaid Japanese SIM Card?
Prices in yens are equivalent to 28 euros or 32 US dollars, yet take into account that fares will depend on facts such as for how long you will be allowed to use the service. You will always be given the chance to choose among SIM Cards that will stay operational for one or two weeks; some prepaid SIM cards in Japan are rechargeable, which might come in handy if you plan to extend your stay in the country. Additionally, you may decide whether you want unlimited data or 100MB a day, a daily volume that will allow you to watch one hour of video, visit four hundred webpages and videophone your friends and family via your favourite apps for about six hours. Once you reach the daily limit, you will notice how the upload and download speed will decrease, but will still be able to use the service.
How to activate your prepaid SIM card in Japan
The steps of the activation process will vary from one supplier to another, although you will invariably need a valid e-mail address and WiFi (you can connect to the free wireless internet in Narita) to complete it. The package containing your new SIM card will come with instructions, so simply follow them and request help from staff in the unlikely event of experiencing trouble.
Sometimes you will need to visit the official website of the SIM provider and enter your assigned ID and serial number, then inserting the card in your phone; in other cases, inserting the SIM card first is mandatory in order to start the activation and download any necessary software.
The most important thing to remember is that the vending machines in Narita only have Data SIM cards, and so if you intend to make local phone calls while in Japan, it is advisable that you go to one of the physical stores at the airport. Be ready to make both card and cash payments, since some SIM card kiosks will only accept one of these two types. Pay close attention to what you are purchasing as refunds are rare.
Have you already found accommodation for your trip to Tokyo? If you haven’t, take a look at our recommended hotels near the Shibuya Crossing for inspiration.