Best eSIM providers and plans in Japan 2024

When traveling to Japan, staying connected is essential. That's where eSIM cards come in handy. These embedded SIM cards eliminate the need for physical ones. Simply put, they identify your device virtually to provide network connection from anywhere.

While travelling to Japan, eSIMs provide a solution to avoid the costs of global roaming, have more flexibility with local plans, and skip the hassle of switching physical SIM cards.

Still, choosing the best eSIM for Japan can be tricky as there are many providers. To simplify your decision-making process, we've conducted tests and evaluations to present the best 5 providers, each offering unique advantages.

5 best eSIM providers for Japan

What to consider when choosing eSIM for traveling in Japan?

Whether you're traveling to Japan for leisure, business, or any other reason, having the right eSIM card is crucial. Here are the key factors you should consider:

  • Compatibility. Ensure that the eSIM is compatible with your device, whether it's a smartphone, tablet, or wearable device, to ensure seamless activation and usage.
  • Country coverage. Check if the eSIM provider offers coverage in the specific country or region you're traveling to, such as Japan or broader regions like Asia. Providers typically offer various options tailored to different needs. For instance, you can find plans covering Japan and Korea together, Japan bundled with other countries, or even plans covering the entire Asia region.
  • Call support. There are providers that offer only data, while others provide a phone number with the eSIM card, allowing users to make calls and send messages. Some offer phone numbers, but they are for receiving calls and SMS only.
  • Amount of data. Some providers offer fixed plans, some offer pay-as-you-go options, and others provide top-up availability to buy more data if needed.
  • Length of your trip. Different eSIMs have various validity options, representing the number of days the eSIM will remain active from the start of its activation. Ensure the validity aligns with your travel duration.
  • Tethering. You must check if the eSIM allows tethering, i.e., sharing your device's data connection as a mobile hotspot. This is ideal if you need occasional web access for a single device.
  • Price. Compare the costs of different eSIM plans, including initial purchase or activation fees, as well as data rates and any additional charges for voice calls or SMS.

The best eSIMs for Japan travel – detailed list

In order to help you make an informed decision, we took into account numerous factors. Some of the main ones are their regional plans, network coverage, plan options, price, and ease of activation. Based on these criteria, here are the 5 best eSIM cards for Japan!

1. Saily – overall the best eSIM card for Japan

Saily esim banner
Supports 5G networks:
Starting price:
150+ countries

Saily is an extremely secure eSIM if you prioritize your safety when traveling abroad. Developed by the team of the renowned NordVPN, it offers five different plans and fantastic customer support!

Saily eSIM is perfect for Japanese travel. You can either choose your preferred plan upfront or get it when you land in the country. Both ways, you will get help with the installation from its knowledgeable customer support.

Its coverage in 150+ countries makes Saily a pretty versatile provider. You can subscribe to a plan only for Japan, or if you’re visiting another country select your desired one and ensure coverage across the whole Asia.

As we mentioned, you won’t have an issue finding your perfect plan, as Saily offers a 7-day plan with 1GB of data for $3.99, while for its 30-day plan, you can choose between 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, and 20GB subscriptions.

2. Airalo – top Japanese eSIM card with straightforward activation

Airalo banner
Supports 5G networks:
Starting price:
Countries and regions:
200+ countries and regions

If you are looking for a budget-friendly, easy-to-use, and worldwide coverage eSIM for Japan, Airalo has everything you may need.

With Airalo plans, once your eSIM connects to a supported network, your plan kicks in. This means you can set everything up before heading to Japan without wasting time or data. Plus, you won't need to go through any personal identification requirements, making the setup process even quicker.

Airalo provides flexible eSIM data plans with no contracts. You can choose from affordable short-term or pay-as-you-go prepaid plans with excellent speeds in Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries. Besides, Airalo has plans that work in 200+ countries and regions across the world. Plans come in different data options (1GB, 3GB, 5GB) and validity periods (7, 15, 30 days or longer).

Keep in mind that you won’t receive a Japanese plan with a phone number, but you can always go for a global eSIM that comes with calls, SMS, and even data.

Currently, the most affordable Airlo eSIM plan for Japan is available for $4.50 for up to 7 days. If you plan to stay longer, you can choose a more extensive plan, such as the 15 or 30-day eSIM.

3. Nomad – eSIM for Japan with SMS included

Nomad banner
Supports 5G networks:
Starting price:
170+ and regions

With a presence in 170+ countries and superb speeds, Nomad is another incredible choice for your Japan eSIM.

Nomad comes with an eSIM for Japan, but you can also go for a regional or a global option, allowing you to use it in 109 countries in total, including Japan. The card starts working automatically as soon as you connect to a Japanese network or 60 days after you’ve set it up on your phone.

There’s also an option to use the Nomad eSIM for sending SMS messages, but you need a very stable internet connection for this and the respective eSIM app.

One of the biggest drawbacks is that Nomad's 7-day plans are pretty costly. For example, if you choose from Day Plans, the cheapest option is the 500MB/day plan that costs $11. If you choose from Regular Plans, the 7-day 1GB plan costs $5. On the other hand, if you only need the eSIM for a day, plans start from just $2.50 (500MB plan).

4. aloSIM – affordable eSIM card for Japan

aloSIM banner
Supports 5G networks:
Starting price:
170+ countries

aloSIM is our next best option for a budget-friendly eSIM for Japan. So, if you want to avoid the pricey roaming charges in Japan, check out its subscriptions!

This amazing eSIM provider comes with specialized Japanese eSIMs and regional packages for 13 countries in the Asia region. However, you can use it in over 170 countries worldwide. The best part is that each purchase comes with a phone number for calling and texting.

aloSIM also comes with excellent speeds at a very affordable price. The cheapest plan costs $4.50 for 7 days and 1GB of data, but you can also find plans that offer data between 2-20GB.

5. Instabridge – Japan eSIM with pay-as-you-go option

Instabridge banner
Supports 5G networks:
Starting price:
190+, 2 regions

Instabridge is the last Japan eSIM on our list, but this doesn’t make it the worst. Basically, you’ll enjoy high-speed Internet across 190+ countries, however, there are no plans for calls and messages

This eSIM for Japan comes with three different subscriptions. Luckily, all of them have blazing speeds and the pay-as-you-go option if you want to extend your usage beyond their limits. Aside from using it in Japan, you’ll be able to activate it in each Asian country.

Instabridge lets you start with 1GB of data for 7 days, available at $4.50. However, you can go for 3GB or 10GB of mobile data if you pay $8.50 or $18, respectively. But don’t worry. There are frequent discounts that you can take advantage of.

Does my phone support eSIM

If you’re worried about whether your phone supports eSIM cards, let us explain this a bit better. The majority of the new smartphones work with eSIMs. What’s interesting is that some phones are even sold without a SIM card holder. Still, you can’t activate an eSIM on phones developed before 2018. But how can you be 100% sure if your phone supports this kind of technology?

The best practice is to check the specifications on the official site of your smartphone’s manufacturer. Also, your phone needs to be unlocked from any restrictions so you can set up a Japanese eSIM. Luckily, the phones that are sold in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East are unlocked. Unfortunately, Americans may face this issue. To reveal whether your device is locked, you can contact your Internet provider or simply check the settings on your phone.

To check eSIM compatibility with your device by yourself:

  • For iPhone, check eSIM compatibility by going to Settings > General > About. Scroll down to Available SIM. If you see this option along with a 15-digit IMEI number, your iPhone supports eSIM. This feature is available on newer models like iPhone XR, XS, 11, 12, and above.
  • For Android phones, the process varies slightly among manufacturers and models. Generally, go to Settings, select Network & Internet or a similar option, and look for SIM card or Mobile network. If you find an option for adding a new SIM or mobile plan, your Android phone likely supports eSIM.

Benefits of using an eSIM in Japan

There are numerous benefits of using an eSIM in Japan, but here are the most prominent advantages:

  • Get data as soon as you arrive. eSIM cards allow you to activate them upon arrival, ensuring instant access to data services.
  • Activate your eSIM immediately. Another perk is that you’ll skip the hassle of visiting a store even if you don’t set it up upfront. Just activate your eSIM as soon as you arrive in Japan and that’s it.
  • Keep your usual phone number. Japanese eSIM cards allow you to retain your familiar phone number while utilizing the eSIM for seamless access to data services.
  • No need to buy a physical SIM card. Avoid the inconvenience of removing your physical SIM card or searching for a store to purchase a new one while traveling.
  • Don’t have to use expensive roaming data. With the help of eSIMs, you can steer clear of costly and sluggish roaming data offered by your home country’s mobile SIM card providers.
  • Top-up data. Ultimately, you can easily replenish your data allowance with certain eSIM providers, allowing for quick top-ups when needed.

Things to know about using an eSIM card in Japan

Now that you’re aware of the perks that eSIM cards offer, let’s go over the most crucial general aspects that you should be aware of:

  • Be sure your phone is unlocked. Locked phones are tied to specific mobile service providers, which restrict your usage of eSIM cards. That’s why you should always ensure that your phone is free of such limitations.
  • Make sure your phone supports eSIM. Unfortunately, not all mobile phones support eSIM cards. As we mentioned, the newer models won’t cause you a headache, but the ones before 2018 generally don’t work with this innovative technology.
  • Calling and phone number with eSIM card in Japan. Not all eSIM card plans provide a phone number and support calling. In fact, even if your eSIM card provider gives you a number, it may be only for receiving calls and SMS, not for calling or sending messages.
  • When to activate the eSIM card. You must be aware that the validity of some eSIM cards begins after installation, while others start upon connecting to a supported network for the first time. Regardless of the case, be mindful not to activate the eSIM card too early to maximize its validity period. More so, there is a period for how long you can keep an eSIM card without activating it. Usually, you should activate it in 1-3 months after purchasing to avoid its expiration.
  • How to activate an eSIM card. Lastly, you need to know how to activate the Japanese eSIM. Nowadays, you can do this through a QR code, app-based activation, or SMS activation.

How do eSIMs work?

Think of an eSIM as a virtual SIM card. It's a flexible chip that allows you to access data wherever you go, without needing a physical SIM card or dealing with different carriers or plans. Simply download the provider's app from the Google Play or Apple App Store. Check the supported countries, regions, and available plans within the app. Once you've found what you need, purchase the plan, install, and activate the eSIM.

With eSIM, you can avoid the roaming expenses from your regular Internet provider. On top of this, you don’t need to spend money on physical SIM cards in Japan or search for one across the country. Instead, you can connect to the Internet as soon as you arrive in Japan. Last but not least, you can choose your Internet connection from your home country, without waiting to get to your desired country first.

Final thoughts on eSIMs for Japan

eSIMs are generally a very helpful Internet solution. If you plan to visit Japan, you should definitely consider such tool to avoid all the hassle of pricey costs, switching physical cards, and searching for Wi-Fi. Additionally, eSIM cards have fantastic speeds, which may be faster than those of the regular mobile Internet providers. They automatically establish an internet connection for a very affordable price.

Our recommendation for the best Japan eSIM is Saily, as it offers a wide range of plans in over 150 countries worldwide. Saily partners with local network providers to ensure smooth and uninterrupted connectivity wherever you are.

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