Getting a Japanese Phone Number: Your Essential Guide

Crack the Code: How to Get a Japanese Phone Number and Unleash Seamless Communication in Japan. Our step-by-step guide walks you through the process of obtaining a Japanese phone number, empowering you to connect effortlessly and experience the wonders of Japanese culture firsthand. Don’t miss out on this essential tool for unlocking a world of opportunities – learn how to get a Japanese phone number today!”


Are you planning a visit or an extended stay in Japan? A Japanese phone number is one of the first things you’ll need. Having a local number is vital for seamless communication, accessing services, and staying connected. Don’t worry – obtaining a Japanese phone number is easier than you might think. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps and options available, ensuring you can get your Japanese phone number hassle-free.

In this complete overview, we’ll look at several options including prepaid SIM cards, contract-based plans, and virtual numbers. We will offer you all of the information you need to select the best solution for your requirements. 

So, if you’re ready to unlock the power of communication in Japan, let’s dive into our step-by-step guide on how to get a Japanese phone number.

What is the point of having a Japanese phone number?

Many tourists visiting Japan may bring a SIM card from their home country as well as an international data plan. (Source: Internet)

Many tourists visiting Japan may bring a SIM card from their home country as well as an international data plan. While this is ideal for first-time visitors and short vacations, many activities in Japan require a Japanese phone number.

A Japanese phone number is required if you want to create a Japanese bank account, rent an apartment or house, enroll in a company or school, or fill out any of the other massive amounts of Japanese paperwork.

Unfortunately, free calling programs that supply a phone number, such as LINE and Skype, are insufficient. You’ll need a phone number that starts with 090, 080, or 070 for official documentation. 

Please bear in mind that certain data-only SIM card contracts will issue you a phone number beginning with 050. These are IP phone services that are accessible over the internet. They are typically less costly than standard lines and are ideal for consuming data when you are not near an internet connection. But be cautious! Phone numbers beginning with 050 are not permitted to be used in formal settings such as opening a bank account or signing a lease.

How Do I Obtain a Japanese Phone Number Before Moving to Japan?

If you’re traveling to work in Japan, your employer may assist you in acquiring a Japanese cellphone number; but, if you need to handle it yourself, purchasing a SIM card online before you arrive is quick and straightforward.

Obtaining a Japanese mobile phone number 


A voice and data SIM from Mobal is one of the simplest (and most popular) solutions. The ordering procedure is simple, and they provide excellent English assistance. You may have your SIM card delivered to you (for free) so that you can connect nearly immediately after arrival in Japan (you’ll only need to complete the set-up process once you arrive). 

A voice and data SIM from Mobal is one of the simplest (and most popular) solutions. (Source: Internet)

Fast bandwidth is limited to 1GB, 5GB, 10GB, or 30GB, but you’ll never be without data—speeds will just drop down (to roughly 200kbps) after your monthly quota is met. There are no complicated commitments, as with many Japanese carriers, and you can modify your package regularly. Your Japanese mobile phone number will be linked to the SoftBank network (one of Japan’s major cellular providers—formerly Vodafone), allowing you to make and receive calls, send and receive messages, and use data. 

Rates range from $1,480 to $4,380 per month, depending on the package, plus a one-time SIM charge of $3,000. Domestic calls cost 39 yen per minute. Incoming calls are always free.

Debit cards, credit cards, PayPal, and convenience store payments are all accepted. To complete the initial online buy, you will need a credit card. 

Sakura Mobile

Sakura Mobile, yet another well-known name in Japanese mobile gaming, offers two voice and data plans that leverage the NTT DoCoMo network. The Lite Plan, which gives 4GB of data for $3,278/month, is the less expensive choice, and there is also a Premium Plan, which delivers 25GB of data for $4,378/month.

Sakura Mobile, yet another well-known name in Japanese mobile gaming, offers two voice and data plans that leverage the NTT DoCoMo network. (Source: Internet)

The sign-up process is simple, and payments may be made at the convenience store using a credit or debit card or cash. The contract activation price is $16,500, however, it is sometimes lowered to $5,500. Domestic calls cost 22 yen/per 30 seconds (44 yen/per minute). You may terminate your contract at any moment for free, and full English-language assistance is available.

After coming to Japan, how can I acquire a Japanese phone number?

If you choose to wait until you arrive in Japan to obtain a mobile phone number, you can do it online or at a cell phone store.

Obtaining a Japanese mobile phone number over the Internet

Simply follow the instructions above to get the SIM supplied. (Source: Internet)

Simply follow the instructions above to get the SIM supplied. Again, this option is recommended again since it is the least stressful of the two. 

Purchasing a Japanese phone number from a shop

Walking around outside major railway stations (such as Shinjuku, Tokyo, Ikebukuro, Shinagawa, and others) or through retail districts will take you by a variety of cell phone businesses. (Source: Internet)

Walking around outside major railway stations (such as Shinjuku, Tokyo, Ikebukuro, Shinagawa, and others) or through retail districts will take you by a variety of cell phone businesses. SoftBank, DoCoMo, and au by KDDI are the top names in the mobile game here. You may apply for a contract with them in-store, but bear in mind that not all stores will have an English-speaking staff member, and the qualifications and contracts can be complex. 

To qualify for a Japanese mobile phone number, for example, you may be asked to sign up for a minimum of two years with an expensive cancellation fee, and you may be needed to present confirmation of a Japanese bank account, job contract, and your visa. If you apply for a cell phone contract through one of the Japanese MVNOs that piggyback on these huge mobile operators, such as IIJMio or Nuro Mobile, you will very probably have to go through the same hoops. 

If you want to do this, plan aside a day for it and invite a native Japanese speaker to join you if you aren’t fluent in the local language.

How to Get an Online Phone Number

If you’re moving to Japan for work, school, or leisure, we recommend getting a SIM card before you go. 

Other firms give Japanese phone numbers, however, Sakura Mobile is our recommendation. They are an airport pickup service with English customer assistance. When you arrive at the airport and pick up your luggage, you’ll get a Japanese phone number very immediately. 

Most companies can also ship to any location in Japan within a few days, so don’t be concerned if you’ve already arrived.

Ordering online is usually as simple as filling out and submitting an online application. Input a credit or debit card and a mailing address for the supplier to send the SIM card with your Japanese phone number, and your name, and you’re done! They may occasionally request a photo of some form of identification.

After placing your order, all you have to do is wait a few days for your SIM card to arrive and then enter it into your phone.

How to Get a Store Phone Number

Applying for a phone number at a store may appear straightforward due to the sheer number of phone businesses that you may encounter while wandering about Japan, but this is not always the case.

The three biggest carriers are SoftBank, docomo, and au. Their storefronts may be found throughout, and you can apply for a contract by just strolling in and signing up. But there are a few things you should bring and things to expect when you step in.

What should you bring to the store?

  • A residence card will qualify as official identification.
  • A credit or debit card
  • Please use your Hanko (personal seal) if you have one.

Before you walk in, estimate that the entire treatment will take around 2 to 3 hours. There are frequently no English-speaking staff personnel. You can verify ahead of time if individual docomo and SoftBank outlets have English-speaking staff members.

When you walk in, they will ask you a series of questions about what you want, your price range, if you want a new phone with your phone number, and the phone you want, and they will offer contracts that match your demands. Typically, they will scan your ID and produce copies while pitching you other alternatives and extra services.

Choose your contract and provide them with the credit or debit card you want to use to pay the administrative and monthly fees. The employees will then take your application and transmit it to the firm, who will approve or refuse it. Be prepared to wait as this procedure might take up to an hour.

If you are accepted, you now have a Japanese phone number! If you choose a contract that includes one, a new phone.

Don’t be alarmed if your deal is rejected! Large corporations such as SoftBank, docomo, and au have strict application requirements. They do not provide the criteria or explain why some applicants are rejected while others are approved. If you are turned down, you must try again with a new firm or in a different area.

The providers we recommend

Carrier Avg. Speeds (Down) Plans English Support Airport Pickup Application Process Network
Sakura Mobile Up to 20 Mbps 4GB : 3,278 JPY
25GB : 4,378 JPY
Full English Support Yes Online NTT docomo
docomo Up to
30 Mbps
3GB : 5,555 JPY
60 GB : 7,205 JPY
Limited In-store support No In-store NTT docomo
SoftBank Up to
30 Mbps
3GB : 5,588 JPY
Unlimited : 7,238 JPY
Limited In-store support No In-store SoftBank
au Up to
30 Mbps
3GB : 5,588 JPY
Unlimited : 7,238 JPY
Limited In-store support No In-store au

Sakura Mobile

Sakura Mobile is a Tokyo-based SIM card supplier situated in Shinjuku. (Source: Internet)

Sakura Mobile is a Tokyo-based SIM card supplier situated in Shinjuku. Sakura Mobile’s inexpensive prices are one of its main features; 4GB for 3,278 JPY/month or 25GB for 4,378 JPY/month.

They are now running a campaign to cut the cost of phone number activation from 16,500 JPY to 5,500 JPY. Sakura Mobile is ideal if you require English customer service seven days a week.

One of the finest aspects of Sakura Mobile is the variety of alternatives for getting your SIM card supplied. If you purchase it online, you may have it delivered anywhere in Japan on the same day. If you want to pick it up in person, fill out an online application and go to their Shinjuku office.

Those who have never visited Japan can order a Sakura Mobile SIM card ahead of time and pick it up at any international airport in Japan. Simply inform them of your arrival date, airport, time, and flight number.


docomo is one of Japan’s major mobile providers (Source: Internet)

docomo is one of Japan’s major mobile providers. There’s a considerable chance you’ve seen a docomo shop if you live in or have visited Japan.

The bulk of their plans are tier priced, which means that the more data you use, the more you pay each month.

Docomo is more costly than au and SoftBank, but it provides better communication. The connection speed is the quickest in Japan, and the coverage is vast enough to connect even in isolated mountain locations.

If you want to play games on your phone or use it in the countryside, consider signing a contract with docomo.


SoftBank is one of Japan’s other three largest phone providers. (Source: Internet)

SoftBank is one of Japan’s other three largest phone providers. For new contracts, the administration cost is merely 3,300 JPY (23,6 USD). Their monthly plans start at 3,278 JPY/month (23,45 USD/month) for 1 GB of data and gradually increase in price. If you use more than 1 GB of data, you will be charged extra.


Au is the 2nd largest carrier in Japan. With a store at almost every large station, you won’t be able to go anywhere without spotting a few. (Source: Internet)au is Japan’s second-largest carrier. You won’t be able to go anywhere without encountering a store, with one at almost every major railroad station. You may pay according to how much data you use if you choose their customizable plan. Using less than 1GB per month costs only 2,178 JPY (15,55 USD), whereas using between 4GB and 7GB costs $4,928.

If you use a lot of data, their monthly unlimited data subscription is 7,238 JPY (51,68 USD).  You may combine your au phone service with other services including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, YouTube Premium, and others. You can get a discount on other au services such as home internet or a new phone if you have a phone contract. Take a look at them down below.

Why is Sakura Mobile cheaper?

Sakura Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), sometimes known as a mobile service provider. (Source: Internet)

Sakura Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO), sometimes known as a mobile service provider.  It does not own any phone lines and instead rents a piece of docomo’s line. The connection speed may be a little slower during peak hours, but you may still watch YouTube or Netflix.

If you wish to save money, we propose joining an MVNO like Sakura Mobile, whose cheapest plan starts at 3,278 JPY. When compared to Docomo’s lowest plan, which starts at 5,555 JPY, it looks to be a straightforward option because they even share phone towers.

Those who desire a full-fledged English application procedure with customer service

In Japan, very few businesses have adequate English language help. There have been several complaints of people experiencing trouble due to a lack of English assistance.

If you’ve had any of the following issues, such as

  • Inability to comprehend the contract (Japanese smartphone plans are infamously complex)
  • Discover that you have unknowingly paid for more choices
  • Discover that the monthly charge is higher than you anticipated
  • Wanted to terminate the contract but was unsure how
  • If you’re having difficulties setting up your SIM card, you can’t talk to anyone about it.
  • Being without a signal and unable to remedy the problem

You are not on your own!

If you’ve ever been concerned about signing a phone contract because you don’t understand Japanese fluently, Sakura Mobile is a secure bet.


Is it possible to receive a Japanese phone number using Google Voice?

As a result, instead of having a unique SIM-based number for each phone in Japan, you may utilize your one Google Voice number across all of your devices. However, this service is only available in the United States, and you will not be able to obtain a Google Voice number and account in Japan.

Do you have a phone number from Sakura Mobile?

If you plan to stay in Japan for 90 days or more, Sakura Mobile offers VOICE + DATA SIM cards, which give you a Japanese phone number and allow you to make and receive calls directly from your phone, as well as the ability to browse the internet, use apps, and access maps wherever there is a mobile network…

What is a typical Japanese phone number?

Example (b): the cell phone number in Tokyo is 080-1234-5678; call 011 + 81 (Japan Country Code) + 80-1234-5678 from a phone in the United States. When contacting abroad, do not dial the first “0” on any Japanese mobile phone; instead, dial 090 or 080.

In Japan, how does a foreigner obtain a SIM card?

Anyone over the age of 18 who is visiting Japan can purchase a Japanese SIM card, albeit there are certain restrictions. Foreign visitors to Japan can only use data-only SIM cards and must register their passports in accordance with Japanese SIM card registration legislation.

Can I order a SIM card online in Japan?

When you order online from Mobal, you can select to have your Japan SIM Card shipped in advance or collect it upon arrival at major airports and locations in Japan. If you’re still not persuaded, here are 10 more reasons why you should bring a SIM card with you when visiting Japan!

How can I acquire a WhatsApp number in Japan?

To obtain a virtual phone number in Japan for WhatsApp, Subscribe to KrispCall > Choose a Japan phone number > Check your documents > Create a WhatsApp account using this number. While creating WhatsApp, you will receive an OTP on this number, which may be used for account verification.

How can I get a Japanese SMS number?

For a long-term Japanese phone plan that includes SMS and call verification, a Mobal or Hanacell SIM card may be acquired. (Both are supplied by the same source.) You do not need to be a resident to use them, but you may only receive calls or SMS messages when you are in Japan.


In conclusion, obtaining a Japanese phone number is a crucial step for seamless communication during your time in Japan. Throughout this guide, we’ve provided you with valuable insights on how to get a Japanese phone number, including methods such as prepaid SIM cards, contract-based plans, and virtual numbers.

By considering factors like your stay duration, communication needs, and budget, you can choose the best option that suits you. Follow the step-by-step methods in this article to easily obtain your Japanese phone number. 

Having a Japanese phone number will keep you connected, enable access to essential services, and allow you to fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture. Embrace the convenience and connectivity it offers as you navigate Japan with confidence.

It’s time to take action now so that you know how to get a Japanese phone number.  Follow the recommended steps and enjoy the benefits of effective communication throughout your journey in Japan.

With your very own Japanese phone number at your side, you can stay connected, travel with ease, and create wonderful moments.

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About Hayami Mori

Hayami Mori is an awesome travel blogger & photographer. She was born and raised in Tokyo and have been here for nearly 25 years. She loves traveling and always wants to introduce her beautiful Japan to travelers from all over the world. Therefore, her blog is a great source of information for people looking for what to do in Japan as well as provides some tips to make their trips unforgettable.


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