Staying connected while on your trip (or move) to Japan is now a necessity for most. Having access to Google Maps, apps, and other necessary information makes for a less stressful trip. There are now quite a few options out there for SIM cards and voice services, which wasn’t the case even a few years ago.
My review covers the Mobal Japan Unlimited SIM Card, and I let you know if this is right for you. Before we move on, this SIM card only works on smart phones that are unlocked. If your phone is not unlocked, then this will not work for you. You’ll have to get a wi-fi hot spot — I recommend this one as it’s cheap and easy to pick up at the airport (Narita or Haneda).
If you just want to buy the card now, you can do so right through their website. It’s quick and easy.
I am an affiliate with Mobal, but I give you my honest opinion on whether or not I think this is worth your money.
Table of Contents
Details & Pricing
The one thing that attracted me to the Mobal Japan Unlimited SIM Card was their advertised “unlimited data.” While they do provide unlimited data, it does get throttled after 7GB. I’ll talk more about this in the “Usage” section.
- Unlimited Data (throttled to 128 kilobits per second after 7GB)
- No daily limit on data usage
- Japanese Phone Number
- Free incoming calls & texts
- Low-cost outgoing calls
- English Language Customer Support (a big one for me)
- Activate for 15 or 30 days, or choose ongoing service
- SIM card is nano-sized, but you get a free adapter if you need a different size
The SIM Card itself costs ¥3,000 ($27USD), but they do provide free shipping worldwide; which means you’ll need to order this ahead of time and have it mailed to you. There’s no option to pick it up anywhere (unless you want it shipped to your hotel or residence in Japan).
Once you receive your SIM Card, you activate it online with the service you wish to use:
- 15 Day Voice / Text / Unlimited Data: ¥4,000 ($37USD)
- 30 Day Voice / Text / Unlimited Data: ¥6,000 ($56USD)
- Ongoing Voice / Text / Unlimited Data: ¥6,000 per month (¥4,500 or $42USD if you’re a student or teacher)
- Ongoing Voice & Text Only: ¥1,000 per month ($9USD)
In most cases, you’ll probably choose the 15-day option, which brings the total up to ¥7,000 or about $63USD (SIM card cost + service).
When you activate your card through their website (instructions are included in your package), you choose which day you want the service to start. It takes about 2 business days for a card to activate, so make sure you do this well in advance.
Data Usage & Setup
Once we got our 15-Day SIM cards in the mail, all we had to do was activate it right through their website and set the date of activation. I used the free tool that came with the package and popped in the nano SIM card in my iPhone 6S (also used it with an iPhone 7 Plus). The setup and installation of the card were simple. If you’re an iPhone user you don’t have to mess with APN settings, it just works (there are instructions for Android users).
Over the duration of those 15 days, we never surpassed the 7GB, even with tons of live streaming on Instagram and uploading countless photos and videos to social media. I even streamed a couple episodes of Tokyo Ghoul over Netflix (it’s a good series if you’re into Anime).
The network they use is Softbank, which is one of the large carriers within Japan. As long as you aren’t in the middle of nowhere, you’ll have service, even in the subways. There is an excellent coverage map on their website if you’re curious.
There was one instance where we did not have service, which was when we were going through a tunnel on the Shinkansen to Osaka from Tokyo — but that was only for a minute.
The network was fast and I never encountered any issues with the service. I was incredibly happy with it.
Pros & Cons
This card isn’t for everyone, so it’s good to know who this is for:
This card is excellent for people who:
- Are heavy data users and don’t want to have surprise charges
- The planner who wants to ensure they have their SIM card before they leave on their trip
- Someone who is moving to Japan for a longer than a month and wants a quick and easy SIM card before they get to Japan
This card isn’t for:
- Those who don’t have an unlocked phone
- Those who are in Japan for less than 15 days (there are cheaper options, see below)
I prefer having a SIM card before I get to my destination; it just means it’s one less thing to worry about. So this is the perfect option for anyone who is an avid planner. Also, it eliminates the stress of “What if the kiosk is closed because my flight is delayed!?” or spending time looking for the spot to pick up your card.
The only downside is you need to plan ahead (depends on the type of traveler you are) and have the card shipped to you, then you must set your activation date at least 2 days ahead of time.
Other SIM Card Options
If you don’t plan on being in Japan for 15 days, then there are cheaper options. Klook offers three options for SIM cards (data only and does not include a phone number or text messages):
- 1GB 4G for 6 Days ($10USD)
- 3GB 4G for 8 Days ($20USD)
- Unlimited 4G for 8 Days ($31USD)
You’re able to pick these up at Narita and Haneda Airport. Use our exclusive code KLKTDREX to receive a small discount off your first order.
For other options, read our Guide to SIM cards.
If you’re a heavy data user planning to visit Japan, then this is SIM card is absolutely perfect. The setup is simple and all it takes is a bit of planning ahead of time to ensure you have it activated before you go on your trip. Or, if you plan on being in Japan for a while, their affordable plans make it easy to get up and going before you even get to Japan.
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