Cast your worries aside Japan vacationers. You can now use your smartphone with ease on your travels. Japan’s largest provider, NTT DoCoMo, and So-net Corp., a branch of Sony, have teamed up with several major international airports to begin selling prepaid LTE SIM cards straight from vending machines.
Kansai Airport in Osaka is one of the first major airports in Japan to provide foreign travelers the convenient service. The cards will be available at huge vending machines located in the airport’s lobby, and will come in two varieties: ¥3,000 ($30) for 100 megabytes and ¥5,000 ($50) for 500MB. The cards are good for 30 days and 60 days, respectively.
To get started, just pop the SIM card into your phone. From there you can start a prepaid plan, your new number and password will be printed on the back of your package. The cards grant access to NTT DoCoMo’s high speed LTE network, the largest and fastest in the country.
Before these vending machines, landing a prepaid SIM card in Japan was nearly impossible for travelers, but booming popularity and demand has caused DoCoMo to be the first to jump aboard. Prepaid cards are currently available at a few retailers within Japan’s major international hub in Tokyo, Narita Airport, but the convenience of simply putting cash into a machine is a welcome change from having to speak with a staff member.
It’s not new, there are other airports around the world that offer SIM cards through vending machines. Still —trust me, Japan is well known for its polite and helpful service, but interacting with the cellular companies is something even the locals are nervous about doing. Take the vending machine route all the way.
Haneda Airport in Tokyo is scheduled to get the machines next. Hopefully, these vending machines catch on, nobody will ever have to get lost in the streets of Japan again. Just be sure to fly into the Kansai region and not into Tokyo. You won’t regret your decision.