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eSIM for Japan

Best eSIM for Japan Travel: Top Options for Travelers

Traveling to Japan and want to stay connected? An electronic SIM card (eSIM) allows you to access data services without using a physical SIM. eSIMs make it easy to get online as soon as you land, avoiding roaming charges from your home carrier. With more options available, what is the best eSIM for Japan travel in 2024?

Best eSIM for Japan Travel

How eSIMs Work

An eSIM is built into newer model smartphones, tablets and smartwatches. The eSIM connects to data networks just like a regular SIM card. However, instead of using a physical card, eSIMs are configured through a scannable QR code or activation link.

To use an eSIM, your device must support the technology. Most phones released after 2018 have eSIM capability. On iPhone, eSIM functionality started with iPhone XS and XR models.

Using an eSIM alongside your regular SIM means you can easily switch between data providers, keeping your primary number active. For Japan travelers, this avoids roaming charges while giving you better coverage locally.

Advantages of eSIMs

Compared to physical SIM cards, eSIMs offer a few key benefits:

  • Convenience – eSIMs activate through a QR code or link, no need to insert a tiny card. Also easier to top up data when needed.
  • Flexibility – Switch between networks effortlessly while keeping your primary SIM active.
  • Security – Can’t be stolen or misplaced like a physical SIM card.

With those basics covered, let’s explore the top eSIM options for Japan.

Best eSIM for Japan Travelers

When looking at eSIM providers for your Japan trip, a few important factors to consider:

  • Network – Using a major local carrier means faster speeds and better coverage.
  • Cost – Entry-level plans start around $10 USD, unlimited data plans go up to around $30.
  • Data Limits – Capped plans range from 1GB for shorter trips, up to 30GB for month long stays.
  • Speed – With a robust network, you can expect LTE speeds with low latency.

We compared Japan eSIM options across these criteria, here are our top recommendations:

1. Airalo

Airalo tops our list with excellent value, blazing fast LTE speeds, and free global delivery. Running on SoftBank, Japan’s largest network, the coverage and stability leaves little to be desired.

Airalo offers data-only eSIM plans designed for travel to Japan. Purchase is fast and convenient through the Airalo app or website. Enter some basic details, pay, and your Japan eSIM is emailed instantly complete with a QR code for activation. No roaming fees or surprises, pay for exactly as much data as you need.

With Airalo, you can choose 5-day to 30-day terms, with packages starting at US$4.50 for just 1GB up to 20GB for US$26. The mid range plans offer the best long term value. Airalo also provides service in over 200 countries, making them our top global pick as well.

If you plan to do anything beyond basic web browsing – like video calls, streaming media, using travel apps – Airalo is a smart choice. We highly recommend giving them a try for your upcoming Japan adventure.

Plans: 5-day, 15-day, 30-day

Data: 1GB to 20GB

Speed: Up to 100Mbps down / 50Mbps up (SoftBank LTE network)

Price: Starts from $4.50

2. Ubigi

For heavy duty data users who want maximum control, Ubigi has incredibly flexible options starting under $3 USD. Ubigi offers both prepaid and monthly plans all through their convenient app.

Change things up whenever needed – switch networks, add talk time, increase data, suspend service. Ubigi puts you in charge so your eSIM works perfectly for your travel style.

Getting set up takes just minutes. Create a Ubigi account, choose your plan, activate through QR code and start using data instantly. With access to all major Japan carriers, fast LTE speeds are guaranteed. Plans are also available specifically for calls, SMS, or per megabyte usage if you have specific needs.

One awesome bonus: Ubigi eSIMs do not expire when unused, allowing you to top up exactly when you need it. For frequent travelers, having a Ubigi eSIM permanently ready for your next adventure makes travel so much smoother.

Plans: 500MB to 50GB, prepaid and monthly

Data: LTE and 5G options

Speed: Up to 300Mbps down / 50Mbps up

Price: Starts from $2.99

eSIM Card for Japan: When Do I Need One?

For travelers heading to Japan, using a local eSIM versus roaming on your home data plan comes down to three factors:

Avoid Roaming Fees

Most providers charge extra fees for international roaming at painfully high rates. Getting an eSIM for Japan saves substantially on mobile data costs.

Faster Speeds

Japanese networks boast blazing speeds up to 300Mbps, much faster than typical international roaming. An eSIM guarantees you the best connectivity.

Increased Data Limits

Don’t get blown away by overage charges and throttled data speeds. A Japan focused eSIM gives you more high speed data than any roaming allowance.

Basically, if you plan to use mobile data for maps, translations, train schedules – anything beyond the very basics – then an eSIM in Japan is essential. The top providers make it affordable and easy to set up in minutes before your flight.

Other Japan eSIM Options

While Airalo and Ubigi lead our recommendations, a few other eSIM providers in Japan stood out:

  • Mobal – Long time Japan SIM provider, now offering eSIM options as well. Solid coverage on Docomo network but a bit pricier than competition.
  • TRAVELSIM eSIM – Regional Asia cell provider with competitive Japan plans. Runs on AU network locally with a good mix of short and long term packages.
  • eSIM.asia – Reseller with very low cost Japan data packs. Speeds can be slow as plans are throttled while roaming. But a budget emergency backup option.

Most eSIMs take only few minutes to activate, just have your passport handy to register service. Though do check specific requirements in case there are certain device or activation restrictions.

And one warning on those tempting “unlimited” eSIM data deals – they are almost always heavily throttled after hitting a soft data cap, slowing your connection to a crawl. Carefully read terms or user reviews before purchasing.

Using eSIM + Physical SIM

Thanks to dual SIM functionality on most phones these days, you can easily run an eSIM alongside your primary carrier SIM. This keeps your regular number active for calls and SMS, while using the eSIM exclusively for data.

To enable dual SIMs, head to network settings and select “Add cellular plan”. Scan or enter eSIM details from your provider of choice. Be sure to turn off data roaming to prevent any accidental charges on your primary SIM.

Then simply toggle between SIMs whenever needed. This gives you the best of both worlds – primary cell service plus fast, affordable Japan data through eSIM.

Final Thoughts on Japan eSIM Cards

An eSIM unlocks speedy LTE data instantly upon arrival in Japan. Avoid roaming fees and network restrictions while enjoying the full mobile experience abroad.

For 2024 and beyond, eSIMs lead the global future of cell connectivity. Research options for your destination early to decide if purchasing a standalone plan makes sense over roaming.

Of available Japan eSIM providers, Airalo and Ubigi prove most reliable based on network performance and user experience. Starting under $5 USD, using an eSIM for upcoming Japan travel is an easy travel upgrade.

Stay in touch with an eSIM for Japan! Have any other questions? Let us know in the comments.

• February 7, 2024


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