By Robbie T. James

These days, anybody who travels domestically or internationally would prefer to have mobile phone connectivity no matter where they go. It used to be that it was difficult to obtain a cell phone (mobile phone) when you traveled overseas: either it wasn’t possible, it was impractical or it was too expensive.

For anybody who plans to travel to Japan, you probably want to have access to a cell phone while you are there. Whether you will be traveling for business or for pleasure, it is useful to have a phone in your briefcase, pocket, purse or handbag in order to make a call anytime you need to. One option is to rent a cell phone once you arrive. But, you have other options at your disposal, as well.

The cell phone market in Japan is a paradox: on one hand, the products in the marketplace are always ahead of American and European makers in many respects. And, Japanese mobile phones have some amazing features and capabilities. On the other hand, most Japanese phone products have made little or no inroads overseas. This is primarily due to the very different carrier network technologies used in Japan than are used in most other places around the world. For example, Japan is one of the few countries that uses PHS (Personal Handyphone System) and PDC (Personal Digital Cellular).

Meanwhile, Japan notably does not employ popular systems such as GSM (Global System for Mobiletelephones). The bottom line: it is not always possible for foreigners to successfully use their phones in Japan.

If you have questions about cell phone rental for Japan, here are 3 options for having a cell phone in Japan:


1. Use your own phone:

One thing you may not have considered – but should – is to bring your own cell phone to Japan. This may or may not be possible, depending up on your cell phone situation in your home country.

Whether or not your phone will work in Japan depends the type of phone you have. For example, if your domestic phone carrier (and phone) uses GSM technology, you will not be able to find a compatible provider in Japan. On the other hand, many 3G-based phones will work with Japanese cellular networks. Either way, confirm with your domestic provider first.

Once you have confirmed that your phone will operate properly in Japan, you can decide whether you want to use your own provider’s roaming plan (and pay roaming rates) or whether you want to rent an SIM card in Japan and be billed based upon the Japanese billing system (usually at lower rates).

2. Cell phone rental in Japan:

Another option is to rent a mobile phone once you arrive in Japan. To rent a phone, you will need a picture ID and a credit card. There are kiosks at the airport that you can use to rent a phone on the spot upon arrival in Japan. Or, you can order your phone online and have it shipped (1-2 days) to your hotel or other place of temporary residence while in Japan. Rate schedules vary by provider, but in general you will pay for the first week at a set rate, then at a lower rate for additional days after that.

For example, in the Kansai International Airport you can rent phones from the following companies: DoCoMo World Talker, DoCoMo World Wing, SoftBank Global Rental, Global Rent-a-Phone, World-Tel, Global Cellular, Pupuru, Telecom Square, JAL ABC, and more.

3. Prepaid phone:

Finally, consider a prepaid phone as an option for your cell phone needs in Japan. As the name implies, with this type of phone you prepay a certain amount and use the phone until you have used up all of your minutes. Prepaid phones are ideal for people planning on living in Japan, since getting one will require you to have an alien registration card (or a Japanese driver’s license). Note, however, that some sellers will accept a foreign passport and a hotel address instead.

For your next trip to Japan, do not give up your telecommunications needs. Look into cell phone rental for Japan, or consider using your own phone or a prepaid phone for your trip.

About the Author: Traveling to Japan for pleasure or business? Make the most of your trip with tips and recommendations from: Cell Phone Rental For Japan.


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