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

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

Fernando Carrillo

Fernando Carrillo Entry updated on Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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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 £4.99 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.

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 £4.99 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 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.

Try out a SIM for data roaming in Japan

Trying out a SIM for data roaming in Japan could be the best alternative to roaming charges. For example, with an Holafly international eSIM card you can enjoy high-speed internet for a whole month for just 49€. 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.

Holafly Japanese data plans
8GB for 30 days
  • 4G internet connection
  • Roam on Docomo's network
  • No local phone number
  • Share data with other devices

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).

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

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.

Fernando Carrillo 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.