Best eSIM for Japan: How to use it on your trip


By Heather

Travel & Tech Writer


Are you curious what the best eSIM for Japan is, and how it can help you avoid roaming fees? Well read on, dear reader, because we’ve got you covered. 

Whether you’re heading to Japan soon, or planning a future trip, it’s good to research your options for staying connected as you travel. It’s a lengthy list, with different options for different people.

We’re going to outline your options for staying connected while you’re away, including what the best eSIM for Japan is. 

And while we’re at it, we’ll provide a ton of helpful tips on how staying connected in Japan will level up your trip, and save you from nasty roaming fees.

Best eSIM for Japan, and other coverage options 

No data: Pay per use calling/texting

Don’t need data on your trip to Japan? No problem at all! Not everyone does, and Japan is a well-connected country, with Wi-Fi networks that will keep you going for basic internet usage (although maybe not for Google Maps, or a video call, which could require stronger connections to function). 

If you want to keep your phone on, so people can reach you by calling or texting your primary SIM, that is certainly an option. You’ll need to contact your carrier before you leave, and request that they enable this for you. 

It’s a good idea to also tell them you DON’T want their travel plan, and are just looking for pay-per-use rates for the occasional call or text. When this is enabled, you’ll only pay for the calls and texts you send or receive.

Prepaid eSIM data

Have you heard of eSIM data? It’s totally prepaid, which means no hidden fees. You pay for what you need, and top up if you need more. An eSIM is a digital SIM card you download, instead of swap in/out (like the physical SIM in your phone right now). Most newer devices are eSIM compatible, but check yours here before you buy data.

The best eSIM for Japan is aloSIM (you guessed it, that’s us), and our Japan data starts at just $4.50 per week. It’s local to Japan, which means no roaming fees, and just like your data at home, it’ll power your apps that require the internet to function. 

Here’s another reason the best eSIM for Japan travel comes in handy: you can use it to make internet calls, which means many people won’t even need to leave their primary SIM on. You can use Whatsapp, Facebook or FaceTime. 

Or, if you want a second number for VoIP calling/texting (calls and texts are sent via the internet), get one from our sister app, Hushed. Your aloSIM data will now power Hushed, too. 

Carrier travel plan

Not sure you want to try eSIM data just yet? That’s ok, too (we’re not here to judge). We want to help you choose the best option for you.

Some carriers still require that you call, let them know how long you’ll be travelling for, and ask to enable your travelling plan. Others, once you land in a new country, will send you a notification asking whether you want to use their travel plan. 

You’ll be charged their daily rate (this can vary, and cost anywhere from $10 to $25 per day), and you’ll be covered for a small amount of data and calling/texting too. 

Physical SIM swap

There is also always the option of swapping SIM cards. Out with the old SIM, and in with the new. This involves buying a local SIM card in Japan, storing your SIM card somewhere safe, then swapping the new one in. 

The cost is typically fairly minimal (these are most often prepaid, like a calling card), but you risk losing your primary SIM. So take that into consideration ahead of deciding to swap your SIMs. 

How to use the best eSIM for Japan

For those who’ve chosen prepaid eSIM data, the best eSIM in Japan will come in handy in many different ways along your travels. It really depends on the types of experiences you’ll enjoy during your trip. 

There are a few use cases that are common to most travellers, whether it be using your data to check in on your bookings, flip through an itinerary, buy tickets, call an Uber, or even use Google Maps (or Google Photos, for those of you who take lots when you travel). 

Here’s a look at how you can use your prepaid eSIM data on your trip to Japan.

Use it to review Okinawa resorts 

When you get to Japan, you’ll quickly discover this island nation is also a nation of islands. Move over, Philippines and Indonesia—Japan is also an island-hopping destination, with old-growth rainforests and tropical, white-sand beaches to explore. Their turquoise waters and gorgeous palm trees might even rival the Caribbean’s.

Okinawa prefecture is Japan’s southernmost region, and its most-visited tropical island, too. Before you head down, while you’re still in Japan’s north, use your eSIM data to review which beachside resort is best for you. Read reviews carefully, and review prices too (your data can also help you browse discounts, too!). 

Book a bullet train ticket 

What would a trip to Japan be without a ride on the shinkansen, or what English-speakers call the bullet train? It travels at speeds of 320 kilometres-per-hour, and is as impressive as it is efficient. Its sleek design makes rides on it comfortable and quiet, too. 

This train is about more than its design, and it’s efficiency also goes beyond design. Its well-designed routes mean wait times are less than 1 minutes. Passengers can also enjoy affordable bento boxes and even sleeping quarters on board, which typically cost dearly on trains around the world. 

Research ryokans 

Looking to experience a traditional Japanese experience, too? Consider staying at and experiencing a ryokan, which is a traditional Japanese inn. As soon as you get there, you’ll exchange your clothes and shoes for a traditional yukata robe and slippers.

This really is just the beginning, with onsen soaks and fine-dining kaiseki cuisine awaiting, too. Use your eSIM data to explore ryokan locations, and review their websites. You’ll be able to quickly see which are best suited to your travel style. 

Use it to power safe travel apps

Japan is among the safest countries in the world. But even so, it can be a comfort to have safe travel apps on your phone on any trip abroad. These apps will help in tricky, potentially dangerous situations.  

Most travel apps (including these five we recommend) require data to function. So this is another great use case for your eSIM data, as you can use it to power these apps, and connect with help if you need it.

Power Google Maps to find gardens

Do you want to visit a Japanese garden, but aren’t sure where most are located? Good thing you’ve got the best eSIM for Japan, which can power Google Maps so you can browse it for gardens. 

Ever noticed how green spaces are… well, green on Google Maps? You can use it to look at cities you’ll visit, and identify green spaces to check out. This will help you find both traditional and modern Japanese gardens, including zen gardens where you can relax. 

And even beyond finding green spaces, your eSIM data will ensure Google Maps is always able to connect, whether you need it for walking or driving directions, or maybe even public transit (although Japan’s transit is famously easy to navigate).

Best eSIM for Japan: key takeaways

Have you decided which experiences your trip to Japan will include? 

The country’s culture is both ancient and modern, making it one of our world’s most unique places to visit. We know that’s a bold statement, but we’re making it anyway. It’s a country with so much to offer, no matter your travel style.

Will you explore Shinto temples and shrines? Or make a trip to the storied Kyoto region? Maybe you’ll take in sights of Mount Fuji, eat your way through Tokyo’s markets, or fill up on sushi. 

Wherever your trip takes you, consider staying connected with the best eSIM for Japan. It’ll come in handy throughout your travels (and save you from roaming fees).

And if you ever have eSIM-related questions, we’re always here to help. Reach us anytime via live chat or email (