Japan SIM Card vs Pocket WiFi

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Are you worried about how you can access the internet during your trip to Japan? Have you looked up the different internet options available for tourists but cannot decide which one to go with?

If your Japan trip is coming up and you want to make sure that you stay connected to the internet throughout your vacation, you should look into getting a Japan SIM card or a pocket wifi.

What are the pros and cons of each? Which one can provide you with the best internet service that you can access anytime and anywhere in Japan?

Internet options available in Japan

Once you are in Japan, you can connect to the internet by:

  • Using your accommodation’s free wifi service
  • Using free public wifi at the airport, major train stations, some restaurants and cafes, etc.
  • Going to internet cafes
  • Purchasing a Japan SIM card
  • Renting a pocket wifi

Among these options, the last two — purchasing a Japan SIM card and renting a pocket wifi — are the most suitable for tourists who want internet access anytime, anywhere.

Benefits of having your own internet access in Japan

Having no internet or limited access to the internet while in Japan might make your Japan adventure less fun and enjoyable. If it is your first time in the country, you might get overwhelmed and rattled the moment you step out of the plane and see a totally foreign environment where you do not speak the language. But, with internet access as soon as you arrive, your fears and worries should be alleviated, as you can avail of the following benefits:

  • 24/7 internet whenever and wherever you are in Japan
  • Superfast 4G LTE speeds

With high quality internet in Japan, you can do a lot of things, such as:

  • Check your e-mails
  • Upload photos and videos of your sightseeing trips to your social media accounts
  • Stream music, television series, and movies to pass the time while on a long train ride
  • Use Google Maps, Hyperdia, or similar apps for bus and train timetables
  • Use Google Maps and other navigation apps to find your way to your hotel, from one tourist spot to another, and so on
  • Use Google Translate and other translation apps to translate Japanese signs at train stations, tourist attractions, and other places; and Japanese menus at izakaya, cafes, and other dining establishments
  • Use dictionary and phrasebook apps to ask for directions and other information from the locals
  • Video call your family and friends back home

Deciding between a Japan SIM card and a pocket wifi

To help you make a decision between a Japan SIM card and a pocket wifi, you should know what each one offers. Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Japan SIM card

Advantages:

  • Can be purchased in advance online or upon arrival in Japan
  • Compatible with a wide range of smartphones and tablets that are unlocked
  • Provides internet in both urban and rural areas of Japan
  • No need to bring a separate charger
  • Simple and quick activation process
  • No contracts
  • Perfect for solo travelers

Disadvantages:

  • Can only be used in unlocked devices
  • Need to remove your own SIM card from your unlocked device’s SIM slot so that you can put in a Japan SIM card
  • Need to modify your device’s settings

So, if you are going on a trip to Japan by yourself, want to travel light, and do not want to be bothered to recharge an additional device, get yourself a Japan SIM card. Or, if you are going with other people, have them buy their own Japan SIM cards too so that you stay in touch even if you decide to do your own thing on some days.

Pocket WiFi

Advantages:

  • Order can be placed in advance online or upon arrival in Japan
  • Compatible with smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other wifi-supported devices
  • Internet access in both urban and rural areas of Japan
  • No contracts
  • Ready to be used as soon as you have it
  • Allows tethering of multiple devices
  • Perfect if you traveling with a group

Disadvantages:

  • The device and its charger add extra weight and occupy more space in your bag
  • Needs to be recharged frequently
  • If you or the other people in your group decide to separate, only one can take the device and have access to the internet

So, if you are traveling with a group and are sticking together the entire trip, are okay with having to recharge one more device everyday, and do not mind having 150 grams to 200 grams of additional weight to carry around, you should pick a pocket wifi.  

Getting a Japan SIM card or a pocket wifi

You can buy a Japan SIM card or pocket wifi weeks before you fly to Japan. SIM Card Geek can offer an online purchasing service so that you can place an order prior to your trip to Japan, and receive your package before your departure date or once you are in Japan.

Japan SIM Card Options

If you want to use a pocket wifi, you can order online or rent from a pocket wifi kiosk or booth at a Japanese airport once you land in Japan. On average, it costs about 1,000 yen per day.

On the other hand, if you want to use a Japan SIM card in Japan, check out Mobal’s Japan SIM card offers, which include different short-term and long-term data only plans and data+voice+text plans, so that you can order your own Japan SIM card that can provide high speed internet with unlimited data allowance and other perks throughout your Japan trip.

Long term SIM Card options from Mobal.


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1 thought on “Japan SIM Card vs Pocket WiFi

  1. The Long Term card via Mobal provides only 7GB of data per month high speed. After that it is rate limited to 128kbps for the remainder of the month.

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