Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Should I Get a Japan eSIM Card and What Are the Top Options

The technology has advanced rapidly in the last few decades. We are now in this day and age where a physical SIM card isn’t required to connect your cell phones to the local telecommunication networks (if the phone is one of the newer models). This makes traveling abroad a lot easier because you don’t need to switch physical SIM cards to stay connected to the internet. So when you travel to Japan next time, consider getting a Japan eSIM. It is the cheapest way to stay connected while you are in Japan. It can be as low as USD$4.5!

But before you rush off and order a Japan eSIM card for your next exciting adventure, let us go through what you need to know about a Japan eSIM card. You will also find information about the top Japan eSIM card providers for both short and long-term stays as you read on!

Table of Contents

A Quick Summary of Our Recommendations

If you are after a quick tip of which Japan eSIM provider to go for, refer to the below.

  • Sakura Mobile
    • Provides the best customer service.
    • The company that we recommend if this is your first Japan trip.
  • Japan Wireless
    • Slightly more expensive than Ubiki and Airalo, but it has better customer service compared to Airalo and Ubiki.
  • Ubigi
    • Convenient for multi-country travel.
    • One of the cheapest options.
    • Uses DoCoMo’s network. The internet speed is good and consistent.
  • klook

What Is an eSIM Card?

An eSIM is short for embedded SIM. It is an industry-standard digital SIM that allows you to activate a mobile data plan from your service provider without using a physical SIM. You can install eight or more eSIMs on an iPhone or other compatible devices and use two phone numbers at the same time!

The best thing about an eSIM Card is that your SIM Card won’t get lost in the mail, and you don’t need to wait for it to be delivered. If you run out of data, you can simply purchase another eSIM in Japan!

Should I Get a Japan eSIM Card?


Like a physical SIM card, for the eSIM card to work on your phone, your device must be unlocked. If you are unsure if your phone is locked by your telecom supplier, enquire beforehand. Even if your phone is currently locked, the company may be able to unlock your phone! If your device cannot be unlocked by the time you depart for Japan, pre-book a Pocket WiFi.

Compared to a Pocket WiFi or a physical SIM card, an eSIM is definitely a better option in most cases. But there are reasons why an eSIM card won’t be the best option for your next Japan trip.

If your situation fits into one of the below categories, consider getting a physical SIM card or a Pocket WiFi instead.

  • You have an older model cell phone that the eSIM cards don’t support.
    • You can refer to HERE to check if your phone is compatible with/supported by an eSIM. Note the eSIM compatibility differs slightly between the suppliers.
  • You will travel with a group of people and are on a budget. In this case, a Pocket WiFi may be cheaper.
  • You don’t have an unlocked cell phone.
  • You need a Japanese phone number.

Why Getting a Japan eSIM Is Better Than Getting a Pocket WiFi or a Physical SIM Card

  • An eSIM card is the cheaper way to be connected to the local internet network.
  • By keeping your SIM card from your home country in your phone, you can still pick up phone calls and receive text messages to your usual phone number (international roaming required).
  • Using an eSIM card means you don’t need to switch SIM cards inserted in your phone.
  • The setup process for an eSIM card is a lot easier compared to a physical SIM card. No prior APN configuration is required.
  • You don’t need to carry an extra charger for the Pocket WiFi.
  • You don’t need to worry about losing the Pocket WiFi or forgetting to return it at the end of your trip.
  • An eSIM card is a better option for data-heavy users. The usage of a Pocket WiFi is subject to FUP (Fair Usage Policy), usually between 1GB to 3GB. Once you go beyond the threshold, the internet speed is downgraded.
  • Another reason that an eSIM is preferred is if you plan to travel to multiple countries. International eSIM service providers such as Airalo and Ubiki give you the convenience of staying connected without needing to purchase another eSIM. All you need to do is purchase another data plan, and off you go!

How to Use and Activate an eSIM

Getting an eSIM and setting it up on your cell phone is easy. Once you have decided which eSIM provider to go with, you are only 3 steps away from connecting your phone to the local network!

  1. Order: Purchase the eSIM plan online when you are ready.
  2. Scan and Activate: After you have successfully made an eSIM purchase online, a QR code will be sent to you, either via email or through the provider’s phone app (Ubigi & Airalo). Once you have the QR code, you can activate your eSIM plan anytime you wish.
    • You can refer to Sakura Mobile’s website for a visual idea of how to activate your Japan eSIM if the provider you chose sends a QR code to you.
  3. Change your network selection setting on your phone

How Can I Scan the QR Code Sent to My Smartphone?

  • You will either need another device that shows the QR code or print the code out beforehand.
  • Phone apps such as Google Lens or LINE can also do the job for you.

When Should I Activate My Japan eSIM?

Please only activate your Japan eSIM after you arrive. Activating your Japan eSIM early means the validity period starts early, resulting in days wasted.

What Is Required to Activate My Japan eSIM?

A stable internet/WiFi connection is required to activate your Japan eSIM. In most cases, the free WiFi in the airport is sufficient to complete this process.

If you purchase a Japan eSIM plan from Sakura Mobile, they have staff at the airport to assist you install the eSIM to your phone.

Within the eSIM’s Valid Period, Can I Delete and Reinstall the eSIM I Purchased from My Phone?

Unfortunately, the eSIM QR code that you receive can only be used once. Please DO NOT delete/remove your eSIM from your device after it is successfully installed.

Deleting the eSIM profile from your phone means the eSIM becomes invalid, regardless if there is any data left.

How Much Data Do I Need in Japan?

In general, if you don’t use your data to watch videos, upload photos, and use phone apps that have many video apps included (such as Facebook), 1GB is usually enough for a 7-day trip.

However, if you prefer to use social media, YouTube and/or TiTok using your data, you will at least need 1GB per day.

  • Sakura Mobile
    • Provides the best customer service.
    • The company has a branch in Shinjuku.
  • Japan Wireless
    • Slightly more expensive than Ubiki and Airalo, but it has better customer service compared to Airalo and Ubiki.
  • Mobal
    • Reliable customer service.
    • The company has a branch in Tokyo, including Shinjuku and Shibuya.
  • Airalo
    • Convenient for multi-country travel.
    • The cheapest provider but still one of the top options.
  • Ubigi
    • Convenient for multi-country travel.
    • Uses DoCoMo’s network. The internet speed is good and consistent.
  • SimsDirect
    • Australian-based SIM and eSIM card provider.
  • klook

Sakura Mobile

In addition to Pocket WiFi, Sakura Mobile also has various Japan eSIM cards you can purchase. As Sakura Mobile uses NTT DoCoMo’s network, the reception is exceptional. While Sakura Mobile seems expensive compared to other providers, their customer service is top-notch. You will usually receive a response within 10 to 20 minutes, even on a weekend!

So if this is your first trip to Japan, Sakura Mobile is highly recommended.

Refer to Sakura Mobile’s website HERE for more information and to order your eSIM card.


Mobal is a service provided by Mobell Communications Limited, a British company established in 1989. It is another company where you can purchase an eSIM card that uses NTT DoCoMo’s network, giving you great call quality, ultra-fast internet speed, and excellent coverage. Unlike Sakura Mobile and Japan Wireless, Mobal accept payments using PayPal in addition to debit/credit card!

The company provides English customer support. They also donate a part of their proceeds to charities supporting people experiencing poverty in Africa.

Refer to Mobal’s website HERE for more information and to order your eSIM card.

Japan Wireless


Japan Wireless also uses NTT DoCoMo’s infrastructure. Their customer service isn’t as good as Sakura Mobile regarding response speed and usually isn’t as detailed and caring. But overall, the product is great, and you rarely need to contact the customer service team anyway!

Refer to Japan Wireless’s website HERE for more information and to purchase your Japan SIM Card.

SimsDirect – Australian-Based

SimsDirect is an Australian-based SIM card company that sells reliable but inexpensive SIM cards and eSIMs. As one of the world’s top destinations, Japan is one of the many countries the company covers. And if you plan to travel around Asia, they also have products allowing you to connect to the internet in most Asian countries!

So if you plan to travel soon, consider purchasing an eSIM card from SimsDirect!

For more information and to get your SIM or eSIM, refer to their official website HERE!

klook eSIM

The eSIM cards sold by klook are provided by Softbank. It is one of the top three Japan’s telecommunication companies. It covers 99% of the country, and the internet speed is almost always satisfactory.

In terms of troubleshooting, klook’s customer support is available via LINE, a messaging app similar to WhatsApp. Live customer service is also available on their website once you log into your account and select the item you have purchased.

For more information and to get your eSIM, refer to their official website HERE!


Airalo is a popular eSIM provider that provides eSIM in multiple countries. This means you can stay connected with Airalo no matter which country you visit. All you need to do is download Airalo’s app, choose your destination and package, install your eSIM and activate it!

The company offers flexible usage options to suit your usage pattern and travel period.

Refer to Airalo’s website HERE for more information and to purchase your Japan eSIM!


Ubigi is very similar to Airalo. In fact, from all the forum comments and reviews we read, it seems like the company provides a better service than Airalo. And there is a reason for this.

Ubigi is currently a subsidiary of NTT, a major telecommunications company in Japan, which means it also focuses on providing services in Japan.

So while Airalo is cheaper, use Ubigi if you plan to visit regional Japan. Moreover, if you plan to visit multiple Asian countries, choose their Asia plan!

Refer to Ubigi’s website HERE for more information and to purchase your Japan eSIM!

The Best Japan eSIM Plan for Your Next Japan Trip

The Japan eSIM plan that suits you the most depends on a couple of factors. After answering the below questions, you can then refer to our summary in the next section to determine which eSIM provider you should go for.

  • How long will you be in Japan?
  • Is this your first time traveling to Japan?
    • If the answer is yes, we recommend Sakura Mobile. They have the best customer service to help you troubleshoot any issues you might encounter during your trip.
  • What is your data usage pattern when you are overseas?
  • Do you want to use your data to stream?
  • Is Japan the only country you will visit during the trip?
    • If the answer is no, we recommend Ubigi.

A Summary of Each Japan eSIM Provider’s Service and Pricing

  • Note the below summary only captures the popular eSIM plans.
Japan Short-Term SIM Card ProviderNetwork UsedCost for a 7/8-Day Plan Cost for a 30/31-Day Plan Delivery Method
Sakura MobileNTT DoCoMo☛ 3GB for 2,700 yen
☛ 5GB for 3,200 yen
☛ 10GB for 4,500 yen
☛ 10GB for 5,850 yen
☛ 30GB for 8,500 yen
☛ 50GB for 13,150 yen
Instant emailed activation page
Japan WirelessHigh-Speed Plans: All local networks
Basic Plans: CMHK
☛ 500MG per day for 1,534 yen
☛ 1GB per day for 2,247 yen (2,392 yen for high-speed plan)
☛ 2GB per day for 3,116 yen (3,513 yen for high-speed plan)
5GB per day for 5,287 yen
☛ 5GB for 2,083 yen
☛ 10GB for 3,685 yen (3,464 yen for high-speed plan)
☛ 30GB for 6,406 yen
Instant emailed activation page
MobalNTT DoCoMo☛ 1GB for 1,920 yen
☛ 3GB for 2,340 yen
☛ 10GB for 2,750 yen
☛ 10GB for 3,850 yen
☛ 50GB for 4,900 yen
Emailed activation page
SimsDirectSoftbankN/A☛ 6GB for 12 Days for AUD$35
☛ 10GB for 30 Days for AUD$45
Emailed activation page
UbigiNTT DoCoMoN/A☛ 1GB for 570 yen
☛ 3GB for 1,200 yen
10GB for 2,400 yen
Note payment in other currneices available
Instant mailed QR code
AiraloKDDI and Softbank☛ 1GB for USD$4.5
☛ 2B for 15 Days for USD$6.5
☛ 3GB for USD$8.5
5GB for USD$11.5
10GB for USD$18
Straight link through to QR code after ordering
A comparison of Japan’s top eSIM card providers

Is Pocket WiFi or an eSIM Card a Better Option for Your Next Japan Trip?

Click the photo for information that will help you decide whether to get a Pocket WiFi, a SIM card or an eSIM.

If a Japan eSIM card doesn’t sound like the best internet solution for your next Japan trip, consider purchasing a SIM or renting a Pocket WiFi.

Refer to our SIM Card, eSIM, or Pocket WiFi: Which One to Use in Japan article that answers all your questions about how to stay connected to the internet when you are in Japan!