How To Use Cell Phone In Japan

Mobile Phone

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, one thing you’ll definitely want to know is how to use your cell phone while you’re there. Japan is known for its advanced technology, and using a cell phone in the country can be a seamless experience if you come prepared. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of using your cell phone in Japan, from ensuring compatibility with Japanese networks to understanding the available options for data plans. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, having a working cell phone can greatly enhance your experience in Japan. So, let’s dive in and explore how to stay connected while you’re exploring the Land of the Rising Sun.

Inside This Article

  1. How To Use Cell Phone In Japan:
  2. Renting a Cell Phone
  3. Buying a SIM Card
  4. Using Wi-Fi Hotspots
  5. Understanding Japanese Mobile Networks
  6. Conclusion
  7. FAQs

How To Use Cell Phone In Japan:

Traveling to Japan and need to stay connected? Whether you’re there for business or pleasure, having a cell phone is essential to navigate your way around and communicate with others. In this article, we will explore three options for using a cell phone in Japan: renting a cell phone, buying a SIM card, and using Wi-Fi hotspots. We will also discuss the different mobile networks in Japan. Let’s dive in!

Renting a Cell Phone

If you’re looking for convenience and a hassle-free experience, renting a cell phone in Japan is a good option. Many companies offer rental services specifically tailored to tourists and travelers visiting the country. These rentals typically include a local SIM card and can be easily picked up at airports or other designated locations. The advantage of renting a cell phone is that you don’t need to worry about finding compatible network frequencies or setting up a plan – everything is taken care of for you.

When renting a cell phone, you’ll have the option to choose from different packages based on the length of your stay and your usage requirements. Some rental plans offer unlimited data, while others may have a daily data limit. Make sure to choose a package that suits your needs to avoid any unexpected charges. Keep in mind that while renting a cell phone is convenient, it can be more expensive compared to other options.

Buying a SIM Card

If you prefer more flexibility and want to use your own smartphone, buying a SIM card in Japan is a great choice. There are several providers that offer prepaid SIM cards specifically designed for tourists. These SIM cards typically come with a set amount of data and validity period. You can easily purchase them at convenience stores, electronics retailers, or even online.

When purchasing a SIM card, make sure your smartphone is unlocked and compatible with Japanese mobile networks. Most newer smartphones are compatible, but it’s always a good idea to check with your phone manufacturer or network provider beforehand. Once you have the SIM card, simply insert it into your phone, follow the activation instructions, and you’re ready to go.

Using a SIM card gives you the advantage of having a local phone number and access to high-speed internet. You can make calls, send text messages, and use data just like you would with a regular phone plan. However, keep in mind that buying a SIM card might not be the most cost-effective option if you’re only visiting Japan for a short period.

Using Wi-Fi Hotspots

If you’re mainly relying on internet connectivity and don’t need to make regular calls or send text messages, using Wi-Fi hotspots in Japan can be a convenient and cost-effective way to stay connected. Japan is known for its extensive Wi-Fi network, with many public places, hotels, cafes, and train stations offering free Wi-Fi access.

To access Wi-Fi hotspots, you’ll need to find locations that provide the service and connect to their networks. Some hotspots may require you to sign up or input a password, so be prepared for that. While using Wi-Fi hotspots is a viable option for browsing the internet and using apps, keep in mind that it may not provide the same level of connectivity as a cellular network.

Understanding Japanese Mobile Networks

It’s important to understand the mobile networks in Japan to ensure compatibility and coverage. The three main networks in Japan are NTT Docomo, SoftBank, and KDDI au. These networks operate on different frequencies, so it’s essential to check if your smartphone supports the frequencies used in Japan.

NTT Docomo is the largest mobile network provider in Japan, offering extensive coverage throughout the country. SoftBank and KDDI au are also widely used and provide reliable service. When choosing a rental service or purchasing a SIM card, make sure it is compatible with one of these networks to ensure seamless connectivity.

Renting a Cell Phone

If you are planning to visit Japan and need a reliable means of communication, renting a cell phone is a convenient option. Renting a cell phone in Japan allows you to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues without incurring expensive roaming charges.

There are several options available for renting a cell phone in Japan. You can rent a phone directly from the airport upon your arrival or from one of the many rental services located throughout the country.

When renting a cell phone, you will typically have the option to choose between a basic phone for calls and texts or a smartphone with additional features such as internet access, GPS, and language translation apps.

Before renting a cell phone, it is important to research the rental providers and compare prices, plans, and services. Some rental companies offer unlimited calling and data plans, while others have restrictions or additional charges for specific services.

When renting a cell phone, you will need to provide a valid passport and a credit card for the rental fees and any potential damages. It is advisable to read the terms and conditions carefully before signing the rental agreement.

Once you have rented the cell phone, the rental provider will assist you in setting up the device and activating a local SIM card. They will also provide you with a charger and other necessary accessories.

When your trip to Japan is over, simply return the rented cell phone before leaving the country. Most rental services have drop-off locations at airports or other convenient locations for easy returns.

Overall, renting a cell phone in Japan is a hassle-free way to stay connected and navigate through the country. It provides peace of mind knowing that you have a reliable means of communication throughout your stay.

Buying a SIM Card

If you’re planning a trip to Japan and want to have reliable mobile connectivity during your stay, buying a SIM card is a great option. By purchasing a local SIM card, you can enjoy the convenience of using your own phone, avoid international roaming charges, and stay connected wherever you go. Here’s everything you need to know about buying a SIM card for your trip to Japan:

1. Research the available options: Before your trip, take some time to research the different mobile carriers and their SIM card offerings. Look for carriers that provide good network coverage, affordable plans, and suitable data packages for your needs. Some popular carriers in Japan include NTT Docomo, SoftBank, and Y!mobile.

2. Check your phone’s compatibility: Make sure that your phone is compatible with the network frequencies used in Japan. Most modern smartphones are compatible with Japanese networks, but it’s always a good idea to double-check before purchasing a SIM card. Contact your phone’s manufacturer or your current service provider for more information.

3. Purchase a SIM card: Once you’re in Japan, you can buy a SIM card at various places such as airports, electronics stores, or convenience stores. Look for signs that say “SIM card” or ask a store staff for assistance. Choose a SIM card that suits your needs, whether it’s for voice calls, data usage, or a combination of both.

4. Activation and registration: After purchasing a SIM card, you’ll need to activate it and register your personal information. Follow the instructions provided by the carrier or use their mobile app. You may need to provide your passport information, so make sure to have it handy.

5. Set up your phone: Once your SIM card is activated, insert it into your phone and follow the instructions to configure your device. Check the carrier’s website or contact their customer support if you need any assistance with the setup process. You will also need to configure your phone’s APN settings to access the mobile data network.

6. Enjoy your mobile connectivity: With your new SIM card, you can now enjoy all the benefits of having a local phone number and data plan. Stay connected with your loved ones, navigate the city with ease, and make the most of your time in Japan.

Remember that buying a SIM card is a cost-effective option if you’re staying in Japan for an extended period or need a reliable internet connection throughout your trip. However, if you’re only visiting for a short time, renting a pocket Wi-Fi or using Wi-Fi hotspots might be more convenient options.

By buying a SIM card for your trip to Japan, you can have the freedom and convenience of using your own mobile device while enjoying reliable and affordable connectivity. Take the time to research the available options, check your phone’s compatibility, and follow the necessary steps to get your SIM card up and running. Stay connected and have an unforgettable experience in Japan!

Using Wi-Fi Hotspots

When traveling to Japan, staying connected to the internet is essential for many people. One convenient option to access the internet is by using Wi-Fi hotspots. These hotspots can be found in various locations, including cafes, restaurants, train stations, and shopping malls.

To connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you will first need to enable Wi-Fi on your cell phone. This can typically be done by going to the settings menu and selecting the Wi-Fi option. Once Wi-Fi is enabled, your cell phone will scan for available networks.

When you find a Wi-Fi hotspot, click on its name to connect. Some hotspots may require you to enter a password. If a password is needed, it is usually displayed somewhere in the establishment. Simply enter the password and click connect.

It is important to keep in mind that while Wi-Fi hotspots can be a convenient option, they may not always provide a secure connection. It is advisable to avoid accessing sensitive information or conducting financial transactions while connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

If you are unable to find a free Wi-Fi hotspot, there are also paid options available. Many mobile network providers offer Wi-Fi plans that allow you to connect to their network of hotspots for a monthly fee. This can be a convenient option if you require a reliable and secure internet connection throughout your stay in Japan.

Another option is to consider renting a pocket Wi-Fi device. These portable devices provide you with your own personal Wi-Fi hotspot that you can carry wherever you go. They usually offer high-speed internet access and can support multiple devices simultaneously. Rental services are available at airports and tourist information centers in Japan.

Understanding Japanese Mobile Networks

When traveling to Japan, it’s essential to understand the basics of the country’s mobile networks. Japan has one of the most advanced and fast-paced telecommunications systems in the world, offering reliable coverage throughout the country.

There are three major mobile network operators in Japan: NTT Docomo, au by KDDI, and SoftBank. Each operator operates on different frequency bands and offers various services, including voice calls, messaging, and mobile data.

NTT Docomo is the largest mobile network operator in Japan and offers extensive coverage nationwide. It operates on multiple frequency bands, including 800MHz, 1.5GHz, and 2.1GHz, providing excellent network stability and fast data speeds.

au by KDDI is another popular mobile network operator in Japan. It operates on similar frequency bands as NTT Docomo and provides reliable coverage and high-speed internet access. au by KDDI also offers a variety of mobile plans and services to suit different user needs.

SoftBank is known for its competitive pricing and innovative services. It operates on a different set of frequency bands, including 900MHz, 1.5GHz, and 2.1GHz. SoftBank has been expanding its network coverage throughout Japan and now offers reliable service in most major cities and rural areas.

When using a cell phone in Japan, it is important to ensure that your device is compatible with the frequency bands used by the mobile network operator. Most modern smartphones are designed to work with multiple frequency bands, but it’s always a good idea to check with your mobile carrier before traveling to confirm compatibility.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that Japan uses a different mobile network standard called W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) for 3G networks. Most countries have adopted the GSM standard, so if you’re planning to use a 3G network in Japan, make sure your device supports W-CDMA.

When it comes to 4G and 5G networks, Japan also has a strong presence. The country was one of the first to launch 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) networks, providing high-speed mobile internet access. Now, Japan is actively rolling out 5G networks, offering even faster speeds and improved connectivity for mobile users.


Using a cell phone in Japan can be an exciting and convenient experience. With advanced technology, reliable networks, and various options for communication, staying connected while in the country is easier than ever. Whether you are a tourist or a long-term resident, understanding the local mobile phone market and the different services available can greatly enhance your overall experience.

By obtaining a SIM card or renting a mobile phone, you can enjoy seamless communication, access to the internet, and use of various apps and services. Additionally, being aware of the cultural norms and etiquette surrounding cell phone usage will help you navigate social situations in Japan with ease.

To make the most of your cell phone experience in Japan, plan ahead and research the different options available to you. Stay connected, explore the numerous features and apps, and make the most of the technology at your fingertips. So, don’t forget to pack your cell phone and get ready to embrace the convenience and connectivity that Japan has to offer!


1. Can I use my cell phone in Japan?
Yes, you can use your cell phone in Japan. However, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure that your cell phone works properly in Japan.

2. Do I need to unlock my cell phone to use it in Japan?
If your cell phone is locked to a specific carrier, you will need to unlock it before using it in Japan. Contact your service provider to find out the requirements and process for unlocking your cell phone.

3. What type of cell phone can I use in Japan?
Most modern cell phones are compatible with the networks used in Japan, such as GSM and LTE. However, it is recommended to check with your service provider to ensure that your cell phone is compatible with the frequencies and bands used in Japan.

4. Can I use my data plan in Japan?
If you have an international data plan, you can use it in Japan. However, it is important to note that international data roaming charges may apply. Alternatively, you can consider getting a local SIM card or renting a pocket Wi-Fi device to access the internet in Japan.

5. How can I make calls in Japan?
To make calls in Japan, you can use your cell phone’s international roaming feature, purchase a local SIM card, or use voice over IP (VoIP) services like Skype or WhatsApp. It is recommended to check with your service provider for the most cost-effective option for making calls in Japan.