Recommended mobile carriers in Japan

Recommended mobile carriers in Japan Japan

When coming to Japan and signing a mobile phone contract, many people are wondering which company they should sign up with. In this article, I, who have signed contracts with all Japanese mobile phone companies, recommend the following mobile phone companies.

Recommended mobile phone companies

Small capacity version (5GB or less)

No. 1: Rakuten Mobile

Rakuten mobile

Ranked No. 1 since you can use up to 1GB for 0 yen and the dedicated app allows free calls.



Softbank plan with free international roaming for 990 yen/month.

No. 3: POVO


A convenient plan that allows users to purchase additional data capacity and options as required.

Medium capacity version (6GB-10GB or less)

No. 1: ahamo


The main reasons for this are the high speed and the fact that five minutes of free calls per call are included in the monthly price.

No. 2: Rakuten Mobile

Rakuten mobile

Free calls with a dedicated app and a whopping ¥0, for up to 1GB/month.

No. 3: b-mobile


Free 70-minute/month call plan with 6GB data capacity.

Large capacity version (10GB or more)

No. 1: ahamo


Fast speeds and unlimited calls included in the monthly fee are the main reasons for this plan.



A new plan from the original Softbank offers free international roaming for ¥2,728/month.

No. 3: POVO


A convenient plan that allows you to purchase additional data capacity and options you want to use as required.

Three things to decide before signing up for a SIM

SIMs can be broadly divided into the following two categories.

  • Voice-over SIMs: Calls and internet access
  • Data-only SIMs: can only use the internet

Voice-over SIMs

A SIM with voice calls is a SIM plan that gives you a number starting with 090, 080, or 070.

Another feature is the ability to use SMS.

As for the SIM’s call quality, it uses the call lines of a major carrier, so voice calls can be made with the same quality as those of major carriers.

Data-only SIM

Data-only communication plans are data-only plans, meaning that no phone number is assigned.

As they do not allow phone calls, data-only SIMs are around JPY 500-1,000 cheaper per month than voice-over SIMs.

On the other hand, because no phone number is assigned, SMS cannot be used, and there are disadvantages such as not being able to use SMS authentication when registering on social networking services.

However, most budgets SIMs offer SMS as an option, so be sure to add it.

Decide how much traffic you need each month

SIMs offer many plans to choose from, so it is more economical to choose a plan that suits you as much as possible.

This is because SIMs vary in price depending on the amount of traffic (capacity) and choosing a plan with a higher capacity will cost you more per month.

No options

When you sign up for a SIM, you will be offered several options, but there is basically no need to add them. Options such as unlimited calls can be done by using free internet calls. There are also entertainment options, such as not consuming traffic on YouTube, but I don’t think it’s necessary because I only need to watch it when I’m connected to Wi-Fi.