Your browser does not support the running scripts and cannot obtain a great browsing experience. You can upgrade your browser or change your browser for a better experience.

Using Cell Phone in Japan

Japan Travel Tips 891
Using Cell Phone in Japan

For many foreign visitors, they often wonder if their phone can be used in Japan.  So can a foreign phone be used in Japan? The answer is yes, and most foreign cell phones can be used in Japan. The following summarize the phone requirements to operate in Japan. Because of the large variety of phone around the world, you should consult the local telecom service provider for the most accurate answer if you have any further questions.


Foreign Cell Phone Usage in Japan

1 Making sure your phone is unlocked and roaming service is on. However, roaming service is usually costly.
2 Your cell phone is at least 3G and can support 3G UMTS 2100 MHz and 3G CDMA2000 800 MHz. Most modern phones meet this requirement.
3 The voice system is compatible with Japanese mobile networks. Most modern phones are compatible with one or more Japanese mobile networks.
4 Phones can connect to Wifi via receiving data through internet.


Purchasing a Cell Phone in Japan

In Japan, you can find almost any phone brands around the world. However, Japan has a special selling mode in the mobile phone industry. The selling chains start from manufactures selling the phone to telecom operators, which eventually sell phones to users. The four major telecom operators in Japan are DOCOMO by NTT, AU by KDDi, Softbank, and 2 other start-ups, which are E-Mobile and Disney Mobile. Among which, Disney Mobile rent and share the mobile network with Softbank. If you are buying only the cell phone device, the price is similar to that in Europe. However, make sure to check if the phone is compatible to the mobile network in your home country. In fact, purchasing contracted phones is more popular, and you can pay the phone in installment. These plans usually include SIM cards and provide great discount on the phone, which some deals even offer free phones.

Renting a Cell Phone in Japan
Roaming service is usually very expensive for foreign travelers. Thus, renting a phone could be a great option. You can find phone rental counters in most international airports. Among the many companies, NTT. DOCOMO and Softbank are the most popular. Large service providers usually allow clients to choose the phone pick up and drop off locations online. Sometime the rental phone can be even delivered to your designated hotel and returned by mail as well. When ordering a rental phone, you will be asked to provide a photo ID, credit card information, and a small deposit. Once the phone is returned, the deposit will be refunded, and the payment will be charged from your credit card. Depending on the phone you choose, a regular phone cost ¥200-400/day, and a smart phone can cost ¥1000-1500/day. You might have to pay additional cost for calling, texting, data usage, international call, and insurance coverage.  Consult a phone rental company for specific pricing. Prices vary from company to company, and you might find deals if you start looking early.

As a reliable Japan travel agency, we are happy to provide you budget Japan group tours, and private car/limousine service, if you need more information on Tokyo tours, and Tokyo limousine service, please feel free to contact our specialists.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use my phone in Japan?
    Most modern phones are compatible with Japanese mobile network. Make sure your phone has roaming service and fully unlocked. You may also consult your local telecom service provider.
  • I am bringing an iPhone from US. Can I use the phone in Japan?
    As long as a phone is at least 3G, the phone can be used in Japan. To see if your iPhone can be used in Japan, check if your phone can support 3G UMTS 2100 MHz and 3G CDMA2000 800 MHz.
  • If I buy an iPhone from Japan, can I use it in Hong Kong?
    If you buy an iPhone from a specialty store, you can use it even outside of Japan. If the iPhone is a contracted phone with SIM card, you cannot use it abroad. Thus, double check with the staff when buying the phone.
  • Is it convenient to rent a phone in Japan?
    Foreign tourist can easily rent a phone in Japan. You can preorder and pick up the phone at airport. Some companies even deliver the rental phone to your hotels. To return the phone, you can drop off at the airport, and sometime by mail.
  • I brought a contracted phone in Japan. Can I use it in my home country?
    It depends on your home country. In most cases, you cannot use the contracted phone outside of Japan because the phone has been encrypted and need to be unlocked. Thus it is important to consult your operator when purchasing the phone.
  • Can foreign traveler buy a discounted contracted phone?
    It is usually very hard for foreign traveler to get a contract phone because many documents are required, including proof of residency and bank account. Thus, contacted phone is not a good option for traveler staying for a short period.
Japan Office
USA Office
Japan Holiday