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Will My Phone Work in Japan? Here's Everything You Need to Know

Updated September 17, 2023

"Will my phone work in Japan?" It's one of the top questions people have before they travel to Japan—and it's a good one! Here's everything you need to know about using your phone in Japan. 

Go beyond the guidebook by having a local plan your trip. Our locals in Japan will give tips about using your phone, taking the train, *and* where to get the best sushi. Learn more.

See what your service provider covers

First things first, see if your phone plan already includes an international component. If so—easy!

If not, most services provide short-term, international options. AT&T and Verizon offer international day passes, which are both $10 per day, per device.

This is a simple solution (although it can get expensive) as you explore and document all the must-dos in Japan.

Buying SIM cards

Another option is to buy a SIM card for your phone (if it's unlocked). If this seems like a confusing task, benefit from a local tip—locals tell us you can buy SIM cards in kiosks at train stations and airports. 

Local Tip:

Despite Japan's reputation as a futuristic country, public wifi can be spotty. One way to stay connected is by renting a wireless router for your trip. 

How ViaHero Works

Choose a local

Choose a local travel planner from your destination.

Message the local

Tell your local travel planner about your trip and preferences.

Get a guidebook

Your planner sends custom recs, itinerary, maps, reservations.

Renting a phone/getting a prepaid phone

Another option is to either rent a phone in Japan, or purchase a prepaid phone. 

Locals tell us you can rent a phone at the airport. (You will have to show ID.) These usually cost around $10-$20 USD per day for smartphones (so a similar cost to purchasing an international plan).

Alternatively, you can purchase a prepaid phone. You can purchase this from a SoftBank store. The stores have English-speaking employees, and phones are usually $25–$70 USD.

Local Tip:

There's tons of incredible stuff to buy in Japan aside from phones. Be sure to pick up some chopsticks, hanko stamps, or tea sets!

Using ViaHero in Japan

On advantage of working with a ViaHero local to plan your trip—once travel is safe—is our offline map. Whether you're looking to get off the beaten path, or focus on all of Japan's top things to do, having a preloaded, offline map makes things easy. 

So go ahead and explore Tokyo—or take a day trip to Osaka—it'll be a comfort knowing you'll have a map (and your trip planner's advice) easily accessible in your pocket. 

Our trip planners design custom guidebooks based on your travel style. Maybe you want to explore Japan on a budget. Or maybe you're a night owl ready to conquer Tokyo's nightlife. Whatever it is, they'll design a trip tailored to how you like to travel. 

Ready to get started? Find a local to plan your trip!

Local Tip:

Curious about the Olympics? Check out our guide!

"How did I ever not travel like this?! Ana’s local insight & planning was a game changer. It’s like having a digital concierge, travel agent, and local fixer all rolled into one!"
Sierra, recent ViaHero traveler to Portugal
Sierra, recent ViaHero traveler to Portugal
Still have questions about travel to Japan?
Why not ask someone who lives there? ViaHero connects you with a local to help plan your trip. They’ll create a guidebook based on your personal travel style.
You’ll see a unique side of a destination and travel independently—all while saving time and money in the planning process. Find a local today.

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