How Much Data Will I Use In Japan?

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How much data does Instagram or Facebook use? Will watching Netflix the entire weekend use up all your monthly data allowance? Does uploading photos and videos eat up a greater portion of your data than downloading e-books and games? How much data will you need for your trip to Japan?

So many people around the world are not very good at managing how much data they use, and they often end up exceeding their mobile data plans, resulting in loads and loads of money spent on excess charges.

If you are one of them, you should educate yourself on how much data some of the most popular apps and services use up. Before that, let us give you a quick rundown of what data is all about. This guide may help you choose which Japan data plan is suitable for your needs.

Understanding Data Measurements

A lot of mobile phone data plans today come with data allowances measured in GB, which stands for gigabyte. One gigabyte or GB is made up of 1,000 megabytes or MB. And, in one megabyte, there are 1,024 kilobytes or KB, which are the smallest measure of data allowance that you may encounter these days.

Data Needed For Internet Browsing

Common internet browsing activities typically uses around 60MB of data per hour.

Examples of things that fall under this category are:

  • Reading online news articles
  • Looking up the tour dates of your favorite musician or the game schedule of your favorite sports team
  • Accessing scientific publications and journals online for a school project
  • Researching the best tourist sites and attractions to check out for your upcoming trip
  • Lurking or posting to online forums and message boards

Of course, the actual data usage may vary depending on how image-heavy the websites you visit are.

Data Needed For Facebook

On average, Facebook uses up about 80MB an hour if you are only browsing, or up to 160MB an hour if you are also watching videos.

If you are on Facebook for an hour, even if all you do is just scroll through your newsfeed, you are using more data than regular internet browsing. The reason for this is that Facebook is populated with greater amounts of photos than those standard, text-dominant websites. And, if you watch the videos your friends or the pages that you follow have uploaded, your data usage can double.

Data Needed For Instagram

Because Instagram is image-heavy, using it for an hour uses up approximately 720MB of data.

Even if you just scroll through your timeline, check out a few stories, and post a photo or video, all in a span of five minutes, you may burn as much as 60MB of data. In one day, you can easily use up more than 1GB of data if you like to spend your break times at work looking at your friends’ posts.

Data Needed For Messaging Apps

Messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, can use up 50MB to 250MB a day.

If you are a light user, meaning you check and send messages a couple of times a day, your data usage may only be around 50MB per day. If you are a moderate user, and you only check and send messages every couple of hours or so, your data usage may be around 100MB per day. However, if you are a heavy user, where you spend hours and hours chatting and barely putting your phone down, your data usage may reach 250MB per day.

Data Needed For Video Calls

Facetime, Skype, and other video calling apps can use about 3MB of data a minute.

Short and quick 5-minute video calls only use up around 15MB of data, so if you do it only a couple of times a week to catch up with family or friends, your total data usage for video calls in a month only adds up to around 120MB. However, if you do plenty of hour-long video calls, such as if you are telecommuting or working from home, your data usage in a month may go over 1GB.

Data Needed For Video Streaming

Streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu, can use up between 250MB to 1GB of data per day.

The data usage when it comes to streaming videos depends on a variety of factors, such as video quality and duration.

Let us say you want to watch some television series or movies on Netflix, which allows you to select the video quality of your stream. If you choose to stream in low quality, your data usage may only be around 1GB for four hours. If you choose to stream in medium quality, you may use up that 1GB in only two hours. And, if you choose high-quality streaming, your 1GB of data may be used up in just 20 minutes to an hour.

Data Needed For Music Streaming

Music streaming apps, such as Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music, and SoundCloud, on average, can use up about 100MB per hour.

Many people like to listen to music on their way to work or school. If you spend about an hour commuting every day, you can use up to 3GB of data a month. And, if you also like to listen to your favorite songs while working out two hours, three times a week, you can use up an additional 240GB a month, raising your total data usage just for music streaming to 3.24GB a month.


The amount of data you will use is dependent on what type of user you are.

For light users, who occasionally do web browsing, voice or chat messaging, and e-mail checking, having 1GB to 3GB of data allowance a month will probably be enough.

For medium users, who do a bit more, having 4GB to 8GB will suffice.

For heavy users, who also stream videos and music several hours a week, 9GB to 12GB of data a month will probably do.

Finally, for very heavy users, who upload and download big files, in addition to the common internet tasks, getting at least 13GB of data allowance in your monthly plan will be best.

Monitoring Data Usage

We recommend an app called My Data Manager for monitoring your data usage. It’s available for free on iPhone and Android.

My Data Manager for iPhone

My Data Manager for Android

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