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Best Japanese Sim Card Plan for Long Term Stayers or JETs

Updated: Aug 23, 2019


Finding the right sim can be hard in Japan.

So this is the best one I found that was easy to set up and had the cheapest plan for my requirements as a JET. Most of the really good plans you will find you need a level of understanding of the Japanese language or a Japanese credit card (which isn’t possible until you live in Japan for at least I think 6-7months).


The plan I found that solved all my problems was IIJMIO which is a MNVO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) which piggybacks on the mainstream providers AU, SOFTBANK or NTT DOCOMO. IIJMIO has two sims (D or A) D piggybacks off NTT DOCOMO and A piggybacks off SOFTBANK. I got this plan with the BIC SIM from BIC CAMERA. If they do not speak ENGLISH they should call a translator on the phone who will be the middle man as they help you through the contracting process.

To get an IIJMIO plan you will need a CREDIT CARD or a DEBIT CARD (Some BIC Cameras do not accept Debit). No alternate payment methods available.

SIDENOTE: the english supported companies are MOBAL and SAKURA MOBILE but their plans are quite high in price. Even though MOBAL offers unlimited data it throttles after 7gb and will not let you hotspot off an apple device (SOFTBANK doesn’t normally allow tethering off phones on their services unless you pay extra and you can’t unlock it on MOBAL’s plan).


MOBAL is ¥4,500 for 1 month unlimited data and free calling to other MOBAL numbers.

pros:

  • No cancellation fee

  • English Support

  • Easy set up

  • Cash payments available

  • No credit card needed (you can use a debit card) Is

  • Accepts foreign credit cards

cons:

  • Expensive

  • No tethering for apple users

  • no option to unlock tethering for apple users

  • Throttles after 7GB


SAKURA MOBILE has different plans available.

3GB = ¥2,980

5GB = ¥3,980

7GB = ¥4,980

20GB = ¥6,680

pros:

  • Tethering available for Androids and iPhones

  • Cash payments available

  • Calling bonuses included

  • English Support

  • Accepts foreign credit cards

  • Easy set up

cons:

  • Cancellation fee is ¥9,500

  • 2 year contract

  • Expensive set up cost ¥15,000 sometimes with seasonal promotions initial cost is only ¥5,000

IIJMIO plans:

You can set this plan up via IIJMIO website using google chrome as a translator (Remember to put in your middle names) or via BIC Camera. If you want to use my code to get free extra data feel free to input or let the worker know you have a code. (full disclosure I do get a bonus too)

Code: 231 9004 2506 4499


IIJMIO Plans (screenshot in 2018)

pros:

  • Tethering available for Androids and iPhones

  • Gives a lot of data

  • Cheaper than other companies

  • Accepts foreign credit cards

cons:

  • Cancellation fee is ¥1000+tax for every month left on the contract.There is no cancellation fee if you cancel it exactually after 1 year.

  • Only accepts credit cards

As I said before I recommend getting a Bic Sim (with IIJMIO contract) a cancellation fee only applies if you get a phone number if you just get a data sim there is no cancellation fee.

  • But if you do need a cell number the fee will be every month you have left in your years contract, you will have to pay 1000yen + tax for each month.

If you have an IPHONE very important get Sim D NOT Sim A as Sim D is compatible on IPhones which lets them tether to other devices. You can get this plan through BIC SIM from BIC CAMERA.


GOOD ALTERNATE:

BIC sim - OCN ONE

I helped our new late arrival ALT to get this sim as the contract is just for 6months but can be used longer. Once you have passed the 6months contract there is no cancellation fee. If the plan is cancelled before 6months the fee is 8,000yen+tax. This sim is good if you are staying in Japan for 6 months or less than 12 months.

To get this plan you need a CREDIT CARD. No alternate payment methods.

Set up this sim at BIC camera but you will have to cancel it online which is actually really handy too not having to go into store to cancel your plan.

pros:

  • Tethering available for androids and iPhones

  • Cheaper than other companies but still doesn’t beat IIJMIO pricing for the 12month contract.

  • Accepts foreign credit cards

cons:

  • Cancellation fee is ¥8,000+tax if you cancel before 6months

  • Only accepts credit cards

Why is tethering so important?

The reason why tethering is important is that nearly all the schools in Japan will not let you into their wifi systems (with some exceptions). You will need tethering to connect your laptops to your phones data to use the internet to get assets or images for your lessons.


Campaigns/Promotions:

You will find that there is usually a campaign or promotion on which offers a lot of bonuses when signing onto a plan. The best part of this is that they normally waver the initial fee which is around ¥3000 - ¥4000 to only ¥1.

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