How to Get a Cell Phone / SIM Card in Japan

We recommend students to buy a Japanese cell phone or SIM card because it makes staying in contact with everyone much easier. Moreover, you will also need a Japanese phone number when registering at different places.

If you want to get a SIM card, you first have to be registered at your local ward office since you have to indicate your address before signing a contract. This way, the Japanese Government hopes to reduce the misuse of SIM cards as it often happens through members of the Yakuza, etc.

When it comes to SIM cards for smartphones with internet access however, being legally registered is not enough. Foreigners have to face many obstacles before getting a SIM card, and applications are even denied at times. This is why we recommend students to decide in advance what kind of SIM card suits their needs best.

Internet-only prepaid services for smartphones are always available as these are specifically made for travelers. The maximum traffic limit however is quite low, so you will not be able to make or receive many calls. If you are going to sign a monthly contract, you had better use a credit card because cash cards – even cards from Japan Post Bank – might be denied. This is due to most contracts having a minimum period of two years but the Work and Travel visa allows a stay of only one year. Moreover, not all overseas SIM cards can be used because some contract phones have a so-called “SIM-lock”, making it impossible to use foreign SIM cards.

Nevertheless, there is another possibility.  You can just buy a normal prepaid phone. In this case, you will get a simple cell phone with a Japanese SIM card but without internet access. Big companies like Softbank offer such services, and it is the easiest way to get your own phone number to make and receive calls inside Japan or write text messages.

We will help you find the best contract for your situation and assist you at the shop!

Basic Information

Mobile 01 Place: Tenjin area (Softbank, Bic Camera, etc.)
Guide: School staff
Fee: 5 000 yen (Free for Work and Travel participants)
Apply by: Two days in advance



Mobile 02– Meet at Asahi Nihongo lobby
– Go to phone shop
– Place cell phone contract
– Return to Asahi Nihongo



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