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The Best Japan eSIM for Travelers in 2023: A Complete Guide


by Coco Tran On December 8, 2023

Silhouette of Kyoto Japanese Pagoda At Sunset

If you’re visiting Japan, you’ve probably heard about the Sim card VS Pocket Wifi. With the recent phone compability with eSIMS, using an eSIM for connectivity is the most convenient option. As someone who visited Japan recently and spent 3 incredible weeks there, I highly recommend the eSIM from Ubigi. It’s the Best esim for travel to japan. 

In this complete guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to choose the perfect Japan eSIM including:

The Best Japan eSIM for Travelers in 2023: A Complete Guide

  • Key Benefits of Using a Japan eSIM
  • Factors to Consider When Choosing an eSIM
  • Compalibilithy and Reguirements
  • Top Recommended Japan eSIM Providers
  • Activating and Using Your Japan eSIM
  • Tips and Tricks for Getting the Most Out of Your eSIM

Plus plenty more advice to help you stay connected in Japan! Let’s get started.


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The Key Benefits of Using a Japan eSIM

Compared to physical SIM cards, eSIMs offer some great advantages for travelers in Japan:

Flexibility – It’s easy to switch between eSIM data plans or use multiple plans on one device.

Convenience – No need to carry around SIM cards or go to stores for activation. Manage everything on your phone!

Instant Activation – eSIM data plans activate quickly, often in minutes, after payment.

Cost Savings – eSIM data tends to be cheaper than roaming or global plans from your home carrier.

Easy Tethering – Share your eSIM connection with other devices easily.

An eSIM makes staying connected in Japan incredibly easy. But not all eSIM providers are the same.

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Important Factors For Picking Your Japan eSIM

Coverage – You want access to reliable 4G/LTE networks across Japan. The larger the coverage, the better.

Data Allowance – Pick a data plan that fits your needs and expected usage. More data means more flexibility.

Speed – Faster network speeds let you stream HD video, make video calls, load big files etc smoothly.

Customer Support – Having responsive support via phone, chat, email, or social media is reassurance.

Value For Money – The sweet spot is getting features and data amount you want at reasonable prices.

Choose a Japan eSIM provider that checks all those boxes for your perfect trip!

Best eSIM Japan: Requirements and Compatibility

Before purchasing your Japan eSIM, ensure your smartphone meets these 2 key criteria:

Unlocked Device Most eSIMs require an unlocked phone that is not tied to any specific carrier. Contact your provider to unlock it if needed.

Paid Off Device If making payments on a device payment plan, you must pay it off in full first before eSIM activation.

Plus double check these aspects:

Operating System

  • iPhone models XS or newer
  • Android phones – Pixel 3 onwards, Galaxy S20 onwards etc

Software Updates Keep your OS and apps updated for maximum compatibility

Carrier Settings Disable any custom carrier settings that may block eSIM connectivity

Meet those conditions for a smooth eSIM experience. iPhones in particular work flawlessly – it’s built right into the latest iOS.

For Androids, check your specific phone’s eSIM support details before purchasing as capabilities vary across manufacturers. Models from Samsung, Google Pixel, Motorola, Nokia etc generally handle eSIMs very well nowadays.

My Top 2 Recommended best Japan eSIMs for 2023

After testing out various options during 3 weeks all over Japan, I recommend:

  1. UbigiClick to go to website
  2. AiraloClick to go to website

Let’s compare them across the key criteria:

Ubigi Esim Japan

Network Coverage: Uses NTT Docomo’s premium network for wide Japan coverage

Data Plans: 500MB to 50GB with 1 to 30 day validity periods

Speed: Fast LTE speeds up to 225 Mbps down / 50 Mbps up

Support: Web form & email

Value: Competitive global rates from $2.45 (500MB) to $79 (50GB – 30 days)

Ubigi shines across all measures and has become my #1 Japan eSIM recommendation after extensive personal use.

Network speeds are awesome – pages loaded instantly, smooth HD video streaming, and even large downloads were surprisingly fast. Customer service responses via web form were also timely and helpful the one time I contacted them.

Tip: Our friends both used Ubigi on our trip and they had zero issues. They piked 50Gb for three weeks and used about 30 GB each. It was super easy to download and set up and it too less than 5 minutes to sign up.

With both short validity and long 30 day data plans available, plus flexible global options if you visit multiple countries, Ubigi excels for Japan travelers who want great network quality without paying premium prices.

Airalo Esim Japan 

Network Coverage: Uses Softbank network for good Japan coverage

Data Plans: 1GB to 20GB from 7 days to 30 days

Speed: Fast enough for most daily use

Support: Online knowledge base

Value: From $4.50 (1GB – 7 days) to $26 (20GB – 30 days)

Airalo is another very good Japan eSIM choice that I used extensively. Network speeds and coverage on Softbank were excellent throughout my Japan trip with no issues loading sites, maps navigation, streaming media etc.

They don’t offer the longest 30 day plans which is a minus if you want one eSIM for your whole Japan visit. But for shorter tourist trips, their 1 to 4 week global data packages provide great connectivity value without contract headaches.

How to Activate Your Japan eSIM and Getting Connected

Wondering how to start using an eSIM in Japan? Activating a Japan travel eSIM is a quick and simple process when you follow these steps:

  1. Confirm your device supports eSIM functionality. All iPhones from XS/XR onwards and newer Android models like S20 series, Pixel 3 onwards etc.
  2. Purchase your preferred eSIM plan online from Ubigi, Airalo etc
  3. Receive the eSIM via instant email on QR code or text code
  4. Scan the QR code provided OR enter details from the text activation code manually (for iPhones without dual physical + eSIM ability like the iPhone 14 series, you will need to turn off any existing physical SIM connections in your phone during eSIM activation)
  5. Connect to the new eSIM cellular data network!

That’s it! Within minutes your Japan eSIM will be up and running on your phone’s network connections list ready to provide internet access on the go.

Seamlessly switching between eSIMs is super convenient too – just disable cellular data on your existing eSIM and turn it on for the new one.

Tips and Tricks To Get the Most From Your Japan eSIM

To maximize convenience and value from your Japan eSIM data plan this trip, keep these handy tips in mind:

  • Download eSIM provider apps when available for easy account management & top-ups
  • Enable airplane mode to quickly switch between activated eSIMs offline
  • Limit video streaming which consumes data rapidly – download content when on hotel/cafe WiFi instead
  • For iPhones, keep a dual physical+eSIM setup to avoid activation hassles
  • Purchase a backup power bank to keep your eSIM phone charged for longer during busy sightseeing days
  • Get a portable WiFi router like GlocalMe if you need to connect laptops/tablets without tethering limits
  • Attach your eSIM QR code or details to your phone case or cloud storage as backup

Follow those tips and your Japan trip connectivity will be smooth as silk.

Summing It Up

An eSIM is without question the most convenient and cost effective way to get online with your mobile in Japan nowadays.

After evaluating numerous providers used during my travels, I suggest Ubigi as the overall best Japan eSIM option thanks to excellent network quality, well-priced data packages with flexibility for tourist or longer term needs, easy QR code based activation, and helpful customer service when required.

But Airalo and Mobal Japan eSIMs also deliver reliably for most visitors at an affordable cost. Each brings minor pros and cons depending on your specific requirements.

Ultimately by ditching old fashioned physical SIM cards for an eSIM you unlock way more flexibility plus the latest digital convenience when getting connected abroad these days.

Have an incredible trip to Japan! Just don’t forget to purchase your essential eSIM in advance rather than relying on expensive global roaming. With this complete guide’s advice you’ll have all the knowledge needed to choose the ideal Japan connectivity plan for your travel style.

Safe travels and happy eSIMming! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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