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The Perfect Simcard

Writer: Stella Budiman | Illustrator: Safira Marini W.

Looking for SIM cards to use while living in Japan, but you don’t know where to start? Don't worry, because we are here to guide you to find your perfect SIM-card! 

There are 2 types of network carriers in Japan that you need to know: Mobile Network Operator and Mobile Virtual Network Operator.

Japan's Mobile Network Operator (MNO)

Mobile Network Operator (MNO) is the type of network carrier that includes independent communication service providers that own their own towers and equipment Docomo, AU, Softbank - these are the three biggest mobile network companies in Japan. Most Japanese people say that Docomo has the largest number of satellites for mobile reception, AU has a variety of phone types to choose from, while Softbank has the most options offered for its data usage.

Japan's Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)

Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) is a wireless communication service that does not own their own network, thus resulting in these operators to use one of the bigger carriers' networks. There are dozens of cell phone plans you can choose from, such as LINE Mobile, Y! Mobile, Rakuten Mobile and more. While there are varying types of MVNO available in Japan, we suggest you consider three things before choosing your data plan: the amount of data, contract cancellation, and whether or not it provides English-support. 

We have provided you further information regarding our most-used MVNO networks.

There are other MVNO mobile networks in Japan that you can choose from, but our recommended service is LINE Mobile. Here are a few more details about LINE Mobile that you need to know!

LINE Mobile’s Data Plan

What do you need to prepare before using LINE Mobile?

  • Identification documents (Residence card)

  • Credit card

  • An active email address

How do you subscribe to LINE Mobile through its website?

  • Go to the LINE Mobile Website (

  • Click “申し込む (Apply)” on the upper right corner of the screen.

  • Select your desired data plan and data capacity.

  • Choose which career would you like to use (Softbank, Docomo, or AU). Next, select the SIM type. If you would like to buy the SIM alongside with a new phone, select “端末を購入する”. If you are planning on buying the SIM only, choose “SIMカードのみ”.

  • Select the type of phone and your SIM card size. Then, you click “手続き内容の選択へ”.

  • If you would like to obtain a new phone number, choose “新規番号での申し込み”and proceed to click “契約者情報の入力へ”.

  • Fill in your information details and select “契約社が利用する”.

  • *If the main contractor of the data plan is different from the one who’s registering, please select “契約社と利用者が異なる”.

  • **Please make sure that the address you entered on the website is the SAME as the one registered on your residence card.

  • If you would like to receive the contract documents through LINE Mobile’s website, choose “電子交付(ウェブ表示)”. If you would like to receive the documents through mail, choose “書面交付(郵送)”.

  • You will soon receive an email from LINE Mobile. Confirm the e-mail and access the given URL “ 本人確認書類アップロード ”.

  • After accessing the link provided within the e-mail, select the type of document you will send and upload the image with a scanner or camera.

  • Select your preferred payment method. The options include Credit Card, LINE Pay Card, or LINE Pay.

  • It is time to set up your “My Page”. Make your own login ID as well as your password.

  • Once everything is set up, confirm the plan, the payment method, your login ID and your password. Click “Apply” at the bottom of the page to complete your registration.

  • Your new LINE Mobile SIM Card will be delivered within 3 days. Enjoy!

Through this article, we hope that you would be able to find the perfect SIM card to help you better navigate your way through Japan!

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