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Welcome to Japan! Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-term resident, staying connected is essential. An eSIM, or embedded SIM, offers a hassle-free way to stay online without the need for a physical SIM card. With an eSIM, you can activate and manage your mobile plan digitally, ensuring you’re connected the moment you land in Japan.

Why choose an eSIM over a traditional SIM card? It’s all about convenience and flexibility. Purchase and activate your eSIM before your trip, and avoid the stress of finding a SIM card vendor upon arrival. Plus, eSIMs make it easy to switch plans or providers without juggling tiny SIM cards. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about using an eSIM in Japan, ensuring you stay connected effortlessly during your trip to Japan.

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a digital version of the traditional SIM card. Instead of being a physical card that you insert into your phone, it’s a tiny chip embedded directly into your device. This chip can be programmed remotely with the information needed to connect to a mobile network, which means you can switch carriers or plans without needing to swap out physical SIM cards. Most modern smartphones, tablets, and even some smartwatches now come equipped with eSIM technology, making it a versatile option for staying connected.
One of the key advantages of eSIM technology is its convenience. Since the eSIM is embedded in your device, there’s no need to hunt for SIM card vendors or deal with the fiddly process of inserting a new SIM card. Instead, you can purchase and activate a plan online, often in just a few minutes. This ease of use is particularly beneficial for travelers who can set up their eSIM before leaving home, ensuring they have a working mobile connection as soon as they arrive in Japan.

Benefits of using eSIMs in Japan

Using an eSIM in Japan offers numerous advantages that enhance convenience, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness for both travelers and residents. Here are the key benefits:

  • Immediate Connectivity: Activate your mobile plan online before your trip, ensuring you’re connected the moment you land in Japan. This is perfect for navigating, booking accommodations, or contacting friends and family right away.
  • Convenience: Avoid the hassle of finding and purchasing a SIM card after arrival. With an eSIM, everything is done digitally, so you don’t need to hunt for vendors or handle tiny SIM cards.
  • Flexibility: Switch between different mobile plans or providers seamlessly. This is especially useful for long-term travelers or expats who might need to change plans as their needs evolve, without physically swapping SIM cards.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Benefit from competitive rates and plans designed specifically for travelers. This can be more economical than traditional SIM cards, offering better value for your money.
  • Environmental Impact: Reduce plastic waste by using a digital eSIM instead of multiple physical SIM cards. This small step contributes to a more sustainable way of staying connected.
  • Multiple Profiles: Use multiple eSIM profiles on one device, allowing you to manage work and personal lines easily. This dual SIM functionality is especially handy for those balancing different communication needs.

How to Purchase an eSIM for Japan

Purchasing an eSIM for your trip to Japan is a straightforward process, and with recommended providers like Airalo, you can ensure a smooth and reliable experience. Here’s how to get started:

Steps to Purchase an eSIM Online:

  1. Visit the Airalo Website: Go to Airalo’s website and select Japan as your destination.
  2. Choose a Data Plan: Browse through the available data plans and choose one that fits your travel duration and data needs. Airalo offers various options, from short-term plans for quick trips to more extensive plans for longer stays. Don’t stress too much about this part, keep in mind that you can always top-up your plan on the go.
  3. Create an Account: If you don’t already have an account, you’ll need to create one. This involves providing your email address and setting a password.
  4. Purchase Your Plan: Once you’ve selected a plan, proceed to checkout. You can pay securely using various payment methods, including credit/debit cards and PayPal.
  5. Receive Your eSIM QR Code: After completing your purchase, you’ll receive a QR code via email. This QR code is what you’ll use to activate your eSIM on your device.

Buy my eSIM on airalo


How to Choose the Best eSIM Plan for Your Needs:

  • Consider Your Data Usage: Think about how much data you’ll need. If you plan to use your phone primarily for navigation and occasional social media updates, a smaller data plan might suffice. However, if you’ll be streaming videos or working online, opt for a larger data plan.
  • Duration of Stay: Match the plan’s validity period with the length of your stay in Japan. Airalo offers flexible options, so you can find a plan that aligns perfectly with your travel dates.
  • Network Coverage: Ensure that the eSIM provider has good coverage in the areas you’ll be visiting. Airalo partners with reliable local networks to offer extensive coverage across Japan.
  • Customer Reviews: Check reviews and ratings from other travelers. Airalo is highly rated for its ease of use and excellent customer service, making it a trusted choice for international travelers.

By following these steps and considering these factors, you can easily purchase and set up your eSIM before your trip, ensuring a hassle-free and connected experience in Japan.


Setting Up Your eSIM

Setting up your eSIM is a quick and straightforward process. Once you have purchased your eSIM, such as from Airalo, you can follow these steps to get connected.

Activating Your eSIM: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Access the QR Code: After purchasing your eSIM from Airalo, you will receive a QR code via email. Keep this handy as you will need it to activate your eSIM.
  2. Open Settings on Your Device: Go to the settings menu on your smartphone.
    • For iOS: Navigate to Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan.
    • For Android: Navigate to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Network > Advanced > Carrier > Add Carrier.
  3. Scan the QR Code: Use your device’s camera to scan the QR code you received.
  4. Confirm and Activate: Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup. Your device may prompt you to label the new plan (e.g., “Japan Trip”).
  5. Restart Your Device: Once the eSIM is activated, restart your device to ensure it connects to the network properly.

Managing eSIM Settings on Different Devices

  • iOS Devices: In the Cellular settings, you can manage your eSIM by turning it on or off, switching between multiple plans, or setting your default line for calls and messages.
  • Android Devices: Similar options are available in the Mobile Network settings, where you can manage data usage, switch networks, and configure your eSIM preferences.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • No Signal: Ensure your device is not in airplane mode and that you are in an area with network coverage.
  • Cannot Scan QR Code: Check your internet connection and ensure your camera is functioning properly. Alternatively, you can enter the eSIM details manually.
  • Activation Failed: Restart your device and try the activation process again. If the issue persists, contact Airalo customer support for assistance.


Using Your eSIM in Japan

Once your eSIM is set up, using it in Japan is straightforward. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your eSIM.

Data Plans and Coverage Airalo offers various data plans tailored to different usage needs. Whether you need a few hundred megabytes for a short stay or several gigabytes for a longer visit, you can find a plan that fits your requirements. The coverage is extensive, as Airalo partners with top local carriers to ensure reliable connectivity across Japan, including urban areas and popular tourist destinations.

Using Local Apps and Services With your eSIM active, you can easily use local apps and services:

  • Navigation: Use Google Maps or local navigation apps to explore cities and find attractions.
  • Communication: Stay in touch with family and friends via messaging apps like WhatsApp, LINE, or Messenger.
  • Translation: Utilize translation apps such as Google Translate to help with language barriers.
  • Local Information: Access local news, weather updates, and travel advisories to stay informed during your trip.

Read also: 

13 Best Apps For Traveling In Japan

Tips for Optimizing Data Usage

  • Wi-Fi Hotspots: Connect to Wi-Fi whenever possible, such as at cafes, hotels, or public hotspots, to save on data usage.
  • Data-Saving Modes: Enable data-saving modes on your device to reduce background data consumption by apps.
  • App Settings: Adjust settings within apps to minimize data usage, such as lowering video quality on streaming services or limiting automatic downloads.
  • Monitor Usage: Regularly check your data usage in the settings to avoid exceeding your plan’s limit and incurring additional charges.

By following these guidelines, you can efficiently manage your eSIM and enjoy seamless connectivity throughout your stay in Japan.


Switching Between eSIMs and Physical SIMs

Switching between eSIMs and physical SIMs on your device can offer flexibility, especially if you need to manage multiple plans or carriers. Here’s how you can easily switch and utilize both types of SIMs.

How to Switch Back to a Physical SIM

  1. Access Your Settings:
    • iOS: Go to Settings > Cellular.
    • Android: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Network.
  2. Select Your Physical SIM: Look for the section that lists your SIM options and select the physical SIM.
  3. Enable the SIM: Ensure that the physical SIM is turned on and selected as the active line for data, calls, and messages.
  4. Restart Your Device: Restart your phone to finalize the switch and ensure the network settings are updated.

Dual SIM Functionality: Using eSIM and Physical SIM Simultaneously Many modern smartphones support dual SIM functionality, allowing you to use an eSIM and a physical SIM at the same time.

  1. Set Up Dual SIM:
    • iOS: Go to Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plan and follow the prompts to set up both the eSIM and physical SIM.
    • Android: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > SIM Cards, then configure your preferred SIM for calls, texts, and data.
  2. Manage Dual SIM Settings: You can choose which SIM to use for specific functions, like using one SIM for data and the other for calls.
  3. Label Your SIMs: For ease of use, label your SIMs (e.g., “Work” and “Personal”) to quickly identify and switch between them as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

To help you navigate the use of eSIMs in Japan, here are some commonly asked questions and their answers.

Can I Keep My Existing Phone Number? Yes, you can keep your existing phone number when using an eSIM. If your primary number is linked to a physical SIM, you can continue using it while also using an eSIM for data or local calls.

What Happens if I Lose My Device? If you lose your device, contact your eSIM provider immediately to deactivate the eSIM. You can usually transfer your eSIM to a new device by following the provider’s instructions and using the original QR code or obtaining a new one.

How to Extend or Change eSIM Plans?

  • Extend Your Plan: Log in to your eSIM provider’s app or website, navigate to your current plan, and choose the option to extend or top-up your plan.
  • Change Plans: If you need a different plan, go to the provider’s app or website, select a new plan, and follow the steps to activate it on your device. You may need to deactivate the current plan first.

Is an eSIM Secure? Yes, eSIMs are secure and offer the same level of security as traditional SIM cards. They are protected by your device’s security features and the network’s encryption.

Can I Use an eSIM and a Physical SIM Simultaneously? Yes, many modern smartphones support dual SIM functionality, allowing you to use both an eSIM and a physical SIM at the same time. This can be useful for separating work and personal numbers or using one SIM for data and the other for calls.

By addressing these FAQs, travelers and residents can better understand and utilize eSIMs to stay connected seamlessly in Japan.



Staying connected while in Japan has never been easier with the advent of eSIM technology. Whether you’re visiting for a short trip or staying long-term, an eSIM offers unparalleled convenience, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. By choosing a reliable provider like Airalo, you can purchase and activate your eSIM before your trip, ensuring immediate connectivity upon arrival.

From understanding how eSIMs work to setting them up and maximizing their use, this guide has covered all the essentials. Embrace the ease of managing your mobile plan digitally, switch between providers effortlessly, and enjoy seamless internet access wherever you go in Japan.

Ready to experience the future of mobile connectivity? Purchase your eSIM for Japan today and stay connected with ease throughout your journey. Safe travels!