I arrived in Tokyo this morning and realized that all of a sudden prepaid data SIM for visitors are readily available without any registration.
These SIM are sold via vending machines or at various outlets. I bought this one at Narita Airport Terminal 2 right next to the ATMs in the arrivals hall for 2000 JPY (17USD).
Obtaining a local SIM card has always been a challenge in Japan because of very stringent regulations for non-residents. So far, as a visitor you could only rent a SIM either from SoftBank or Docomo both of which have stands in airports and some train stations around Japan.
To be precise, if you require voice and SMS service you will still have to go the route of the rented SIM because these prepaid options are only for data, available in various packages.
Access the uMobile Japan website here for more details. It uses Docomo Japan’s network by the way.
My uMobile SIM package was available for 2000 JPY and is good for 7 days. There was also a 15 day option which was priced 3,500 JPY on the vending machine. Since I bought it I have seen the same product at various kiosks and the price going between 2,500 – 4,000 JPY. The website outlines a 30 day card as well which was however not offered at the machine.
Three sizes for SIM were available: Regular size, Micro and Nano with a data volume of 200 MB per day with a speed of 150 Mbps for this 7 day card, after that it regulates down to 200 Kbps. I think that is reasonable.
Right next to the vending machine for uMobile was another provider that was almost double the price for pretty much the same service. Catch: That one you can pay by credit card, the uMobile machine accepted only cash. The ATM (Citibank) is right next to it as are currency exchange booths with proper rates and no commission.
I personally use a Japanese SoftBank card with proper registration since I have residency documents to get this done but this new option is really good. Since I purchased a second phone I decided to try this card for a while and let you guys know how it works. So far no complaints and there was absolutely no registration process besides setting the APN in your phone. Pop in the SIM and you are ready to go.
If you have friends in Japan and want to stay in touch, chances are they use the LINE application which also allows voice messages/calls. So you might be able to get by with this data option, no need for voice calls.