STEP 1-3. Get a Japanese phone number

Hello and warm welcome to those of you considering moving to Japan!

If you are considering moving to Japan, we recommend that you get a phone number that you can use in Japan before coming to Japan.

This is because when you live in Japan, you will often be asked for a Japanese phone number in various situations.

Currently, it is possible to obtain a Japanese phone number even from overseas.

This article provides you with how.

Why do you need a Japanese phone number?

Many of you may be planning to utilize your current (foreign) SIM cards and overseas data plans for your time in Japan.

They are great for short-term stays, such as vacations and business trips, but not for long-term stays.

This is because you will be required to provide your Japanese phone number when you open a bank account, rent an apartment, go to the local government office, and fill out various forms in Japan.

Unfortunately, free calling apps that provide phone numbers such as Skype, are not acceptable.

In Japan, various forms require numbers beginning with 090 or 080 or 070.

Do not get a phone number that starts with 050.

Some SIM cards for Japan that can be purchased overseas provide phone numbers beginning with 050. 050 phone numbers are IP phone services that use an Internet connection.

In general, phone numbers starting with 050 are often less expensive than other numbers. However, they may not be used for official documents, such as opening a bank account or signing a lease contract.

Therefore, avoid obtaining phone numbers that begin with 050.

Get a SIM card online before you come to Japan!

If you are moving to Japan and staying for an extended period of time, we recommend ordering a SIM card with a phone number or a prepaid SIM card online in advance.

Fortunately, several companies accept online orders from abroad, which can be purchased with a credit or debit card!

Ordering online is easy; simply fill out and submit an online application form.

Just enter your name, credit or debit card details, and location where you want the SIM card shipped to, and you are done. You may be asked to provide a photo ID or other identification.

After ordering, wait a few days for the SIM card to arrive, and when it arrives, insert it into your smartphone to use it.

You can pick up the SIM card in your home country, or some companies will deliver it to you at your arrival airport in Japan. The airport pickup service is very convenient because it allows you to pick up your SIM card immediately at the airport when you enter Japan.

Recommended SIM card providers

The three companies listed below allow you to apply for a phone number that can be used in Japan before you arrive in Japan.

Choose the company that meets your requirements and sign up.

Providerphone numbers starting with 070/080/090Data + voice plans (tax incl.)English SupportChinese SupportSIM DeliveryAirport Pickup
Sakura Mobile4GB: ¥3,278 25GB: ¥4,378○ Full English Support××
(Addresses in Japan only)
mobal1GB: ¥1,650 5GB: ¥3,190 10GB: ¥3,630 30GB: ¥4,378○ Full English Support○ Full Chinese Support△ (Limited airports only)
GTN mobile3GB: ¥1,200 10GB: ¥2,200 30GB: ¥4,200 50GB: ¥6,200○ Full English Support○ Full Chinese Support×
(Addresses in Japan only)
△ (Haneda, Chubu, Kansai only International airports only)

The comparison chart above does not provide all the details. Please refer to the respective websites for details.

Note that all mobile operators charge an initial fee as a setup fee.

Global Trust Networks, Inc., which operates GTN Mobile, offers GTN Care, comprehensive support for foreigners living in Japan service, including consultation and compensation. If you are worried about your life in Japan, please consider subscribing to this service.

If you want to save money, switch to LINEMO after arriving in Japan

The three companies mentioned above offer support for foreigners, so their fees are somewhat higher.

For those who wish to minimize your payments, we recommend switching to LINEMO, a low-cost SIM service provided by the world-renowned SoftBank.

LINEMO provides a low-cost SIM with a minimum charge of 980 yen (3 GB plan), which allows voice calls & data communication for a reasonable price.

You may switch to LINEMO if you have become accustomed to living in Japan or if you do not need foreigner support in telecommunication services.

The features of LINEMO and how to apply are explained in this article.

Get a phone number before coming to Japan!

By obtaining a Japanese phone number before coming to Japan, you can enjoy a smooth start of your life in Japan!

Refer to the information above to obtain a phone number that meets your requirements.

The information contained in this article is based on the information available as of March 31, 2023.