Roaming in Japan: how much does it cost and best roaming alternatives

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Last update: October 16, 2023
Fernando Carrillo
856 people have read this post in the last 12 months
In a nutshell

Roaming in Japan is not included in most mobile deals in the UK, however some carriers like Vodafone or O2 offer roaming add-ons that let you use your internet connection in the country from £6 a day. In other mobile network providers you might need to pay for your data, text and minute usage so a roaming SIM card like Holafly's is a reasonable choice.

Save on roaming fees in Japan with Holafly

Roaming in Japan: is it included in my allowance?

Roaming in Japan is not usually included in data and voice allowances over the UK, as most carriers will charge you for your data or minute usage in the Land of the Rising Sun. However, some mobile network providers, like O2 or Vodafone, offer special roaming bundles which let you use your phone for as little as £6 per day.

However, if you do not wish to use your minutes and data allowance and you just want to receive phone calls or use your phone in case of an emergency, you can use mobile roaming in Japan for free with almost any UK contract, but make sure that roaming is turned on in your mobile network, to do so contact your carrier.

In conclusion, roaming in Japan is not included in your allowance, in the sense that you will not be able to use your data or make phone calls like you would do in the UK, but you can connect your phone to the Japanese network for free thanks to your carrier's roaming partners in Japan.

The only roaming included in your allowance would be European data roaming, for example roaming charges in Spain are free for some UK customers. However, since 2021 some UK resident may have to pay for their mobile connection while travelling throught Europe as well.

Roaming charges in Japan: how much does it cost?

Roaming in Japan vary from carrier to carrier, as phone companies offer different rates for each minute, MB or text message used. That is why it is crucial to check this information before leaving for your trip. Here are some examples of how much roaming costs in Japan with some carriers:

Roaming charges in Japan by carrier
Phone company Making a call Receiving a call Sending a text message Data use
EE £2.05 per minute £2.05 per minute £0.67 per text £6.85 per 150MB
Three £2.00 per minute £1.25 per minute £0.35 per text £3 per MB
Giffgaff £1.00 per minute £1.00 per minute £0.30 per text £0.20 per MB

Even though roaming charges in Japan may not seem like a big deal, keep in mind that by spending just 100MB of data, you would end up paying from £20 to over £100 a day. So, in the end you can spend more money on mobile roaming in Japan than what you first expected.

Being an overseas destination, using your UK phone in this country can be quite expensive, something similar happens in other destinations, with roaming charges in USA or roaming charges in Mexico being also high.

eSIM and alternatives for data roaming in Japan

There are different alternatives to roaming in Japan, some of the alternatives are SIM, eSIM and wifi. For example, with an Holafly international eSIM card you can enjoy high-speed internet for a whole month for just £59. So unlike mobile roaming in Japan, you do not have to worry about your expenses, as you know beforehand how much you will pay for your internet connection in the country.

In addition, eSIMs are consolidating as one of the big bets in the market, with the potential to reach 3.5 billion by 2027 (1) . Here is a table with the different prices and plans you can find for internet when traveling to Japan.:

Holafly Japan data plans
Plan Price Data
5 days £19 Unlimited Data
10 days £29 Unlimited Data
15 days £44 Unlimited Data
20 days £49 Unlimited Data
30 days £59 Unlimited Data
60 days £77 Unlimited Data
90 days £87 Unlimited Data

With an Holalfy Japanese eSIM card you will roam on DoCoMo's network, one of the biggest mobile network providers in Japan, so you will stay connected wherever you go. Just make sure that you have an eSIM compatible smartphone (iPhone XS and Samsung Galaxy S20 onwards).

eSim Japan
Prepaid: 5 days expiry
Data Unlimited

Connection speed 4G
Pay as you go£195 days expiry
taxes included

To top it all, opting for an Holafly eSIM card is way better than buying a Japanese SIM card. It may seem a little bit pricey, but you do not need to find a SIM card once you arrive in Japan, you already have it with you! This means you have more time to enjoy your trip and less time to worry about little things, like your phone connection.

Also, remember that you can buy an Holafly eSIM card for many destinations, being one of the best roaming SIM cards in Turkey, for example.

Spend less money on roaming with Holafly

If the eSIM technology has convinced you but you want to consult other companies before signing up with Holafly, here are a few that you can check out:

Modo eSIM

Japan SIM card

Another option for having internet in Japan is a SIM card, which is a cheaper option than roaming. You can purchase this card before you arrive in the country or once you arrive at your destination.

If you decide to buy the card after arriving in Japan, you can buy it at the airports or at the company shops. Buying the card at the airport is usually not the cheapest option, but it allows you to use internet almost as soon as you land.

You can also bring the card from the place of origin, if you choose this option, we recommend that you buy it in advance as it has to arrive at your home address and it does not have to be immediate.

Wifi in Japan: portable and public

The last option we present is the first option that comes to mind when we think about having internet when travelling, the wifi. You can find public and portable wifi, we tell you about both options so you can decide if one of them is what you are looking for.

Portable wifi is the more secure of the two options. It works thanks to a small portable router that can be carried in your pocket or backpack and allows you to connect several devices simultaneously.

The other option available is public wifi. If you choose this option, we recommend that you be careful with the data you provide, as these networks are not usually secure from cyber-attacks.

If you want to connect several devices at the same time, portable wifi is the best option, although it is usually not cheap. These devices are rented, so they must be returned at the end of the rental period. If it is lost or stolen, a penalty may apply. If you don't want to worry and want to enjoy unlimited data, you can sign up for Holafly eSIM for Japan.

Sign up for Holalfy eSIM for Spain

However, if you are thinking of traveling to more destinations and want to know what options you have to enjoy an Internet connection, here are some of the available options you can check out:

Frequently asked questions about roaming in Japan

Do I need to turn data roaming on in Japan?

If you want to connect your phone to the Japanese mobile network you need to turn on data roaming in Japan. However, if you do not wish to face unwanted charges for roaming, and you are not going to use your smartphone anyway, it is best if you keep data roaming turned off.

Which network gives best roaming coverage in Japan?

DoCoMo and Softbank's networks offer the best 4G connection in Japan, according to Opensignal. This way both operators offer the best roaming coverage experience in Japan.

Fuentes del artículo
  1. The eSim revolution is here: Juniper Research - TechCentral.
Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

Personas que han participado en este post:

Fernando CarrilloRoams
Actualizado por Fernando Carrillo

Fernando estudió Administración, Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas. Con más de dos años de experiencia en Roams, Fernando es experto en el asesoramiento sobre telefonía, tarifas de móvil e internet. Además, también es especialista en canales de televisión y las distintas ofertas que tienen los operadores con tv.

Nadia Pérez
Edited and revised por Nadia Pérez