3 Cheap SIM Cards in Japan Best for Foreigners

japan cheap SIM card

Are you looking for cheap sim cards in Japan best for foreigners to use? This so-called “cheap SIM” has a lower price rate compared to major mobile phone companies. 

So if you opt to get one, this article is right for you. In this article, you will know cheap SIM cards:

    • plan type options
    • plan features
    • and the plan rate.

Keep on reading to learn the type of SIM card plan that will perfectly match your needs.

3 Types of Cheap SIM Cards in Japan

Cheap SIM cards are divided into three types: SIM card for data communication; SIM card with SMS function; and SIM card with voice call function. Let’s check each function!

Cheap SIM Voice Call Function

Internet DataSMS  (Short Message Service) Voice Calls (phone # starting with “080” “090”)
Cheap SIM SMS Function
Internet DataSMS  (Short Message Service) Voice Calls (phone # starting with “080” “090”)
x

Cheap SIM Data Only

Internet DataSMS  (Short Message Service) Voice Calls (phone # starting with “080” “090”)
XX

What are the Cheap SIM card sizes?

Cheap SIM cards are available in three sizes: Standard SIMMicro SIM, and Nano-SIM. Since they are varied in size, checking the size of the cheap SIM card before purchasing it in a physical store or online is very important.

In some cases, smartphones from overseas may not be able to use in Japan due to different sim terminal sizes or network locked.

Cheap SIM Cards Recommended for Foreigners

IIJmio logo

IIJmio won first place as the “Cheap SIM Award 2015” for giving customers’ overall satisfaction. Their SIM card is not only high reliability, but it also occupies a top-class share among cheap SIM cards. If you ask for the stability of communication speed, then this SIM is perfect for your needs.

IIJmio offers a variety of plans that allow you to freely combine functions and data volume according to your internet usage.

Available Plans: 

  1. Minimum Start Plan (3GB)
  2. Light Start Plan (6GB)
  3. Family Share Plan (12GB)

General Features:

    • Unused data for the month can carry forward to the next month
    • Can enable the “burst function” when the communication speed is low
    • Light text feature for low data or communication speed
    • Easy SIM card usage guide for foreigners

Go to IIJmio

LINE mobile logo

Cheap SIM cards provided by LINE have been widely used in Japan as it is easy for foreigners to make a contract and no cancellation fees.

Since it uses the largest telecommunication carrier, the NTT DoCoMo, so you can use it anywhere in Japan. Besides, this cheap sim card comes up with great extras, which are using LINE, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for free without data deduction.

Available Plans

    1. LINE Free Plan (1GB)
    2. Communication Free Plan with LINE, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are unlimited (3GB, 5GB, 7GB, 10GB)
    3. MUSIC + Plan with LINE MUSIC, LINE, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram are unlimited (3GB, 5GB, 7GB, 10GB)

Other features:

“LINE Pay” and “Line Paycard” are making your payments most easily. Because of this great feature of LINE mobile, even foreigners who don’t own a credit card can obtain a contract from them.

Go to LINE Mobile

Rakuten mobile logo

The most popular cheap SIM card among foreign visitors is produced by Rakuten Communications of Rakuten Group. It offers a low monthly cost, which is the edge over its competitors.

Available Plans:

    1. Basic Plan
    2. 3.1GB Plan
    3. 5GB Plan
    4. 10GB Plan
    5. 20GB Plan
    6. 30GB Plan

*The “3.1GB plan” has the same charge as the other 3GB plans for cheap SIM cards. However, it has a data allocation of 0.1GB (100MB) for communication, such as video calling.

Other Features:

Another cool thing about this SIM is that the unused communication data for the current month will be carried over to the following month. Also, the first monthly fee for all plans is free. Super cool, right?

Besides, you can collect Rakuten Super Points for every 100 JPY of the monthly usage payment. If you are a foreigner who particularly wants to save on a monthly mobile phone bill, then Rakuten mobile cheap SIM cards will best suit you.

 Go to Rakuten Mobile

Cheap SIM Cards For Foreigners (Data Only)

A cheap SIM card for data communication is a cheap SIM card that can only be used for Internet communication, which means it has no call and SMS functions. The most advantage of these cheap SIM cards dedicated to data communication only is the low monthly costs.

Most foreigners preferred this type of SIM card because they can also use it to communicate with their friends and family outside Japan without getting a SIM card with call or SMS functions.

IIJmio logo

Cheap SIM card (for data communication) rate plan
  • Type D:
    • Minimum start plan (3GB): 972 JPY
    • Light start plan (6GB): 1,642 JPY
    • Family share plan (12GB): 2,765 JPY
Initial cost3,240 yen
Minimum usage periodUntil the end of the month following the start date
communication speedDownstream maximum 225 Mbps
Carrying over excess dataCarryover to the next month
Cheap smartphoneAvailable for purchase
campaign informationWhen you make a new application to IIJmio Mobile during the campaign period, you will enjoy these great benefits, such as the initial cost will only be 1 JPY instead of 3,240 JPY, and communication data average per month will increase by 1 GB/month for 12 months from the start of use. (This promo ends on May 8, 2019)
  • As of April 2019 (contents may have changed)

 Go to IIJmio

Cheap SIM card (for data communication) rate planLINE Free Plan (1GB): 540 yen
Initial cost3,240 yen
Minimum usage periodNone
communication speedprivate
Carrying over excess dataCarryover to the next month
Cheap smartphoneAvailable for purchase
campaign informationThe monthly basic usage fee is free for the first month
  • As of April 2019 (contents may have changed)

 Go to LINE Mobile

Cheap SIM card (for data communication) rate plan
  • Basic plan (no capacity limit, communication speed 200Kbps): 567 yen
  • 3.1GB plan: 972 yen
  • 5GB plan: 1,566 yen
  • 10GB plan: 2,441 yen
  • 20GB plan: 4,374 yen
  • 30GB plan: 5,886 yen
Initial cost3,240 yen
Minimum usage periodNone
communication speedDownstream maximum 225Mbps (excluding basic plan)
Carrying over excess dataCarryover to the next month (* “Basic Plan” is not supported)
Cheap smartphoneAvailable for purchase
campaign informationMonthly charges are free in the month when you start using a cheap SIM-card! Furthermore, during the Rakuten mobile contract period, the points at the Rakuten market are doubled.
  • As of April 2019 (contents may have changed)

 Go to Rakuten Mobile

Cheap SIM Cards for Foreigners (with SMS)

A cheap SIM card with SMS is a cheap SIM card that can send short text messages (SMS) in addition to Internet communication. The SMS function is used as an authentication system for identity verification of apps like LINE. Best recommended for foreigners, who use apps and games that require SMS authentication such as LINE.

Cheap SIM card (with SMS function) rate plan
  • Type A: 
    • Minimum Start Plan (3GB): 972 JPY
    • Light Start Plan (6GB): 1,642 JPY
    • Family Share Plan (12GB): 2,765 JPY
  • Type D:
    • Minimum Start Plan (3GB): 1,123 JPY
    • Light Start Plan (6GB): 1,793 JPY
    • Family Share Plan (12GB): 2,916 JPY
 3,240 JPY
Minimum usage periodUntil the end of the month following the start date
communication speedDownstream maximum 225 Mbps
Carrying over excess dataCarryover to the next month
Cheap smartphoneAvailable for purchase
campaign informationWhen you make a new application to IIJmio Mobile during the campaign period, you will enjoy these great benefits, such as the initial cost will only be 1 JPY instead of 3,240 JPY, and communication data average per month will increase by 1 GB/month for 12 months from the start of use. (This promo ends on May 8, 2019)
  • As of April 2019 (contents may have changed)

 Go to IIJmio

Cheap SIM card (with SMS function) rate plan
  • LINE Free Plan (1GB): 670 JPY
  • Communication free Plan:
    • 3GB: 1,199 JPY
    • 5GB: 1,771 JPY
    • 7GB: 2,484 JPY
    • 10GB: 2,851 JPY
    • MUSIC + Plan (3GB): 1,955 JPY
  • MUSIC + Plan:
    • 5GB: 2,311 JPY
    • 7GB: 2,916 JPY
    • 10GB: 3,175 JPY
Initial cost3,240 JPY
Minimum usage periodNone
communication speedprivate
Carrying over excess dataCarryover to the next month
Cheap smartphoneAvailable for purchase
campaign informationThe monthly basic usage fee is free for the first month
  • As of April 2019 (contents may have changed)

 Go to LINE Mobile

Cheap SIM card (with SMS function) rate plan
  • Basic Plan (no SMS capacity limit, communication speed 200Kbps): 697 JPY
  • 3.1GB Plan: 1,102 JPY
  • 5GB Plan: 1,696 JPY
  • 10GB Plan: 2,571 JPY
  • 20GB Plan: 4,504 JPY
  • 30GB Plan: 5,962 JPY
Initial cost3,240 JPY
Minimum usage periodNone
communication speedDownstream maximum 225Mbps (excluding basic plan)
Carrying over excess dataCarryover to the next month (* “Basic Plan” is not supported)
Cheap smartphoneAvailable for purchase
campaign informationMonthly charges are free in the month when you start using a cheap SIM-card! Furthermore, during the Rakuten mobile contract period, the points at the Rakuten market are doubled.
  • As of April 2019 (contents may have changed)

 Go to Rakuten Mobile

Cheap SIM Cards for Foreigners (with voice call)

A cheap SIM card for voice calls is a cheap SIM card that has a phone number starting with “080” or “090” and can make voice calls. Of course, SMS and Internet communication functions can also be used. It is recommended for foreigners who want to use all the functions of their mobile phones and smartphones.

Cheap SIM card (with voice call function) rate plan
  • Type A:
    • Minimum Start Plan (3GB): 1,728 JPY
    • Light Start Plan (6GB): 2,398 JPY
    • Family Share Plan (12GB): 3,521 JPY
  • Type D:
    • Minimum Start Plan (3GB): 1,728 JPY
    • Light Start Plan (6GB): 2,398 JPY
    • Family Share Plan (12GB): 3,521 JPY
Initial cost3,240 JPY
Minimum usage period12 months
Cancellation penalty(12 months-number of months of use, starting with a 0 month) x 1,080 yen
communication speedDownstream maximum 225Mbps
Carrying over excess dataCarryover to the next month
Cheap smartphoneAvailable for purchase
campaign information

During the campaign period, if you make a new application to IIJmio Mobile, you will be able to earn “Initial cost of 3,240 JPY down to 1 JPY.” In addition, the next month from 12 months of use start, 1GB increasing the monthly amount of communication data, and for the first 3 months will have 1,300 JPY discount. ※ If you contract a voice call function with SIM

*Special benefits are available until May 8, 2019.

  • As of April 2019 (contents may have changed)

 Go to IIJmio

Cheap SIM card (with voice call function) rate plan
  • LINE Free Plan (1GB): 1,296 JPY
  • Communication Free Plan
    • 3GB: 1,825 JPY
    • 5GB: 2,398 JPY
    • 7GB: 3,110 JPY
    • 10GB: 3,478 JPY
  • MUSIC + Plan
    • 3GB: 2,581 JPY
    • 5GB: 2,938 JPY
    • 7G: 3,542 JPY
    • 10GB: 3,802 JPY
Initial cost3,240 JPY
Minimum usage periodStarting from the use start date, the month following the use start date is the first month until the end of the 12th month (including the end date)
Cancellation penalty10,584 JPY
communication speedprivate
Carrying over excess dataCarryover to the next month
Cheap smartphoneAvailable for purchase
campaign informationDuring the campaign period, if you apply for a new SIM card with LINE mobile voice call function and start using LINE mobile, the basic monthly fee will be discounted by 1,390 JPY for 3 months! (* In the case of the LINE Free Plan, the monthly basic fee is 900 JPY discount for 3 months) !
  • As of April 2019 (contents may have changed)

 Go to LINE Mobile

Cheap SIM card (with voice call function) rate plan for foreigners
  • Basic plan (no capacity limit, communication speed 200Kbps): 1,350 JPY
  • 3.1GB Plan: 1,728 JPY
  • 5GB Plan: 2,322 JPY
  • 10GB Plan: 3,197 JPY
  • 20GB Plan: 5,130 JPY
  • 30GB Plan: 6,642 JPY
Initial cost3,240 JPY
Minimum usage period12 months from the first month of use (the month including the arrival date of the SIM card)
Cancellation penalty10,584 JPY
communication speedDownstream maximum 225 Mbps (excluding basic plan)
Carrying over excess dataCarryover to the next month (* “Basic Plan” is not supported)
Cheap smartphoneAvailable for purchase
campaign information
  • Monthly charges are free in the first month of using a cheap SIM-card! During the Rakuten mobile contract period, the points at the Rakuten market are doubled.
  • When you sign up for Rakuten Mobile, options such as Rakuten Mobile WiFi by EConnect, Mobile Security Android Version, and Data Recovery Service are free for up to two months. (* Those who have applied for Rakuten Mobile in the past will not be eligible for the campaign)
  • As of April 2019 (contents may have changed)

 Go to Rakuten Mobile

With these best Cheap SIM cards, you can be able to use your mobile phone in Japan, where you can conveniently purchase it in a physical store or order it online. But don’t fail to check the SIM card size first before you buy it. Then, pick a Cheap SIM card Plan that will meet your demands.

FAIR Japan provides useful information about Japan. 

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