Internet Access in Japan: Travel SIM vs Roaming vs Local SIM

Using phone connected to internet with travel SIM while travelling in Shibuya, Japan

Staying connected to the internet while travelling can often be tricky, including for travellers in Japan. There are multiple options available such as roaming, travel SIM cards, or local SIM cards, but finding the option that best suits your needs is challenging.

Additionally, navigating a foreign country like Japan, where you may not speak the language, can pose another hurdle when seeking advice from locals. However, fear not! In this article, we’ve outlined all the available connectivity options for tourists in Japan, empowering you to make an informed decision and stay connected throughout your adventure!

Internet Access in Japan: Roaming, Travel SIM, and Local SIM

1. Roaming with your home SIM

Using international roaming from your home country is one way to stay online while travelling. It enables your device to connect to a local provider’s network in another country, allowing you to use services such as calls, texts, and data abroad. This service is typically provided through agreements between your home carrier and foreign carriers.

International roaming is convenient since your device might automatically connect upon disabling Airplane Mode. However, it can be extremely expensive and may prove to be the costliest option, especially if you have high data usage.

For Australian tourists, there are several providers you can choose from:


If you’re planning a trip abroad, Telstra offers an International Day Pass. Once activated, this feature remains active as soon as you use your phone outside Australia, charging only for the times you use it overseas. Upon your return to Australia, you won’t incur any charges even if you keep it active.

With the International Day Pass, the plans and fees vary depending on your destination country. For instance, in Japan, it costs $10 per day, providing access to 1GB of data, as well as unlimited calls and texts. If you exceed the daily data limit, Telstra will send a message with a top-up option.


Optus offers Optus Daily Roaming, which automatically activates when you travel overseas. Upon using your phone after landing, you’ll receive a text confirming that your roaming has been activated.

Optus Daily Roaming provides access to 5GB of data, along with unlimited standard texts and calls for $5 per day. This plan is available for travellers visiting countries in Optus’s Zone 1 list, which includes Japan.

2. Japan Travel SIM or eSIM

Another way to access the internet while enjoying your time in Japan is by using a travel SIM card. Travel SIM cards offer global coverage, along with the option to choose from extended and robust plans, making it easier for tourists to use the internet, send texts, or make calls.

With a travel SIM, you can conveniently order your SIM card online and have it delivered to your doorstep. Better yet, if you have an eSIM-compatible device you can order a travel eSIM which is sent instantly via email! You can activate both of these options anytime you like, whether it’s just before your trip or upon arrival in your destination country.

Travel eSIM and SIM cards are also a much cheaper option, particularly when compared to roaming charges. If you’re seeking an affordable, reliable, and convenient travel eSIM or SIM card provider with responsive support, consider TravelKon!


TravelKon is an Australia-based provider of travel SIM cards and eSIMs, offering prepaid data plans for more than 180 countries, including Japan.

Not only is TravelKon affordable and convenient, but it also stands out for its reliable connectivity and responsive customer support. Assistance is readily available through Messenger, WhatsApp, and email whenever you have questions or need help.

There are several plans you can choose to complete your Japan trip including but not limited to (prices are in AUD):

ProductQuotaData ValidityPrice
Japan SIM Card 3 – 50 GB30 Days$19 – $79
Softbank Japan SIM Card 5G15 – 50 GBUntil expiry date$39 – $69
Japan Docomo IIJ eSIM 3 – 50 GB30 Days$14 – $75
Japan eSIM Saver10 – 50 GB30 Days$12 – $78
Japan eSIM Unlimited MaxUnlimited Data1 – 30 Days$9 – $99
TravelKon Japan SIM card and eSIM Plan*

For more details on the available options, explore TravelKon’s physical SIM options here and eSIM options here.

3. Japan Local SIM

To ensure connectivity throughout your Japan trip, you can also consider purchasing a local prepaid data SIM card. This option provides reliable and fast internet at a lower cost than roaming, and you won’t need to return the card afterward.

However, there are some drawbacks to using local SIM cards, such as language barriers or ID registration. Additionally, there’s no instant connection upon landing, as you’ll need to purchase the SIM card from airports or stores, or wait for delivery.

Here are some local Japan SIM cards that tourists can choose from:


If you find yourself in Japan without a SIM card and are looking for a trusted option with extensive coverage, consider SoftBank, one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Japan, which covers almost every corner of the country.

SoftBank offers a Prepaid SIM for Travel plan, with prices varying depending on the retailer. However, you can purchase an additional 500MB of data for $17*, valid for 31 days.


Whether you’re planning a short or long Japan trip, Mobal provides flexible options. Its long-trip plans include mobile data, texts, and calls, while the short-trip plans focus solely on data usage.

With Mobal’s long plan, you can purchase your SIM for $30 and choose the package that best suits your needs. One of the most popular packages offers 5GB of data, along with free incoming calls and texts, for only $32.50* per month.

Sakura Mobile

Sakura Mobile provides high-speed mobile data with extensive coverage, encompassing most of Japan. It offers unlimited data through six different plans, each varying in price and validity period:

Sakura Mobile Japan SIM Card Plan*

P.S. In addition to SIM cards, Japan’s local providers also offer eSIM options for you to consider. Don’t hesitate to explore both options further and decide which one suits you best!

*All prices and rates are correct as of 21 March 2024

Choosing Your Connectivity in Japan

As you’ve seen from the article, tourists in Japan have a variety of internet connectivity options to consider. Some options, like local SIM cards, offer good pricing but are less convenient. Conversely, options such as roaming, while convenient, can be extremely costly if not prepared in advance.

However, if you can have both convenience and affordability to make your trip better with travel eSIM or SIM cards, why not choose both? Therefore, we highly recommend you consider travel eSIM or SIM card options for your next trip!

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
      Apply Coupon