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Wifi and sim card rentals for International Students in Japan

It’s quite funny to think that more than 20 years ago, cellular phones and the internet were merely considered trends and fads. Nobody really knew how big both of these “trends” would get. My, oh, my, how time flies and changes, right?

Nowadays, both of these things are considered essentials and necessities in people’s lives. Cellular phones are widely used for immediate communication through texting and calling. And, well, to encapsulate the true influence and impact of the internet, let’s just say that it’s literally the greatest invention since sliced bread.

But phones won’t get to serve their true purpose without these little chips called SIM cards. And in today’s world, most individuals access the internet through WiFi.

In Japan, multiple technological companies have capitalized on the bankability of both items and have made ventures such as WiFi and SIM card rentals, with some focusing on markets like international students. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about WiFi and SIM card rentals in the country.

WiFi and SIM Card Rentals for International Students in Japan

If you want to stay connected online during your stay in Japan as an international student, two of the most common options are to avail WiFi or SIM card rentals.

But what are SIM cards and WiF? SIM cards are basically a phone’s ID that connects it to a mobile phone network provider. Renting a budget-friendly Japanese SIM card is ideal for those who are staying in the country for 30-90 days only. This option is famous among international students who are engaged in short-term study programs.

Most providers provide data-only packages, but if you’re lucky, you might score one that has voice calls in addition to data. Some companies also offer full English support.

Meanwhile, WiFi provides network connectivity through radio waves which allow users to utilize and access the internet. A pocket WiFi router is also a good idea to stay connected during your time in Japan. It is often easier to set up and configure than SIM cards and is especially helpful if you are traveling in a group.

And if you have multiple devices to connect (such as two phones, a laptop, and a tablet), it might be ideal for you to rent a mobile WiFi router instead.

Short-Term vs Long-Term WiFi Rentals

WiFi connection is perhaps the most vital part of any current student’s academic life. WiFi allows students access to the internet, which in turn allows them to communicate with classmates, research for assignments, papers, and projects, and generally just acquire knowledge about everything.

Short-term WiFi rental is advised for foreign exchange students who’ll be in Japan for just a couple of months. They get to have unlimited data usage without worrying about any installment payments and interest.

This is also probably the best option for foreign students who will only be in Japan for a few months, as purchasing pocket WiFi without a visa that allows foreigners to stay in the country for more than 2 years is illegal due to contracts having a minimum of 2 years.

A long-term WiFi rental is a great option for full-time foreign students in the Land of the Rising Sun. Long-term WiFi rentals offer flexible plan options that allow users to choose the contract length. Aside from this, they always provide great internet coverage at an extremely affordable price.

Short-Term vs Long-Term SIM Card Rentals

There are two types of SIM card rentals that are available for international students in the Land of the Rising Sun.

First is the short-term rental. Short-term rentals for SIM cards usually offer up to 90-day contracts for its users. These types of rentals are usually availed by tourists who are in the country for a short while.

But some foreign exchange program students avail short-term rentals as well, as it is more practical when compared to long-term rentals. It is the better choice since this type of rental requires no cancellation fee, activation for the sim isn’t necessary, it provides unlimited data, it works with any kind of phone (even personal phones from overseas), and it is more affordable.

Second is the long-term rental. These types of SIM cards offer services with 2-3 year contracts for users. Long-term rentals are usually availed by foreign residents staying in Japan for a few years.

This type of rental has a monthly payment basis. This is the more practical choice for international students who will be in the country for more than a couple of years because it is cheaper than actually buying a new phone and SIM card. If students terminate their contract within the contract year, there will be cancellation fees.

Finding the Best Option

To determine which is the best option between the two, consider the duration of your stay in the country and your allotted budget. If you’re only staying for less than 3 months, opt for sim card rentals to stay connected with your loved ones back home. Using one’s current phone as an IP phone is a considerably cheaper alternative. You can even make and receive calls through online messaging services like Line and Viber.

But if you’re staying for 2-3 years as an international student in Japan, you might be better off with pocket WiFi rentals. This allows you to share your connection with new-found friends and enables you to connect other devices online as well.


Staying connected online is a modern necessity. Wherever you are in the world, especially if you want to study in a foreign country like Japan, it is important to update your loved ones back home.

Not only that — you can also easily navigate through unfamiliar streets, connect with new-found friends, and send snapshots of the famous Japanese landmarks to your family thanks to the internet. Start your education in Japan the right way! If you’re coming to Japan as an international student, sort out the right option to stay connected to your friends, school, and internship company.

Have you found your ideal Japan study program yet? Jumpstart your study abroad experience and check out Motto Japan’s study programs. Should you find yourself as an international student in the Land of the Rising Sun soon, don’t forget the options we’ve presented in this article to stay online!

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