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3 weeks in Japan.. want cell phone, how? 2008/1/16 07:51
I'm travelling to Japan for about 2 to 3 weeks and I would like to have a cell phone mainly for calling and e-mailing my friend's phones while I'm there.

I have heard of phones that you can get where you pay a certain amount of money at a conbini and then you can use the phone until that money is used up. Does anyone know anything about this? Is this the best option for someone like me? Do you have any other recommendations or suggestions? My main use will be sending e-mails between phones most likely and I would like to get the cheapest option. Thanks for any help!
by Robbie  

... 2008/1/16 09:32
The type of phone you are describing is a prepaid phone, but as a tourist you cannot get one. Your only option would be to rent a phone. There are many companies at the airport that you can rent a phone from. Or check out this one that is recommended as being one of the cheaper companies:


Also check out this page for more info on phones in Japan:

by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

SMS cost! 2008/1/16 10:33
I just looked at that link is that right 1 SMS going internationally is going to cost $1.20US (about $1.40 Australian) thats criminal! its the same price to phone for 1minute talk time.
When they say Domestic calls within Japan does that include Japanese Mobile to another Japanese Mobile?
by steve rate this post as useful

... 2008/1/16 11:31
yes, japan mobile to japan mobile is domestic.

the sms rate is high because sms is not used in Japan. Japanese phones can do email so you should be using that instead of sms. You can email any regular email address from your phone and receive replies straight to the phone. It cost $0.04/K of data on that service which comes out to just a few cents per message.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

... 2008/1/16 14:39
thanks yllwsmrf, Ive learnt something new, didnt realise they dont use sms there! trouble is most of the people id want to contact from the phone would be in the UK or Australia and probably wouldnt either have the capability set up to access email from there mobile, or in some cases the technical nouse to be able to use it!
by Steve rate this post as useful

... 2008/1/16 15:00
if your friends have pc email addresses then you'll be ok because you can email from phone to pc and pc to phone.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

You can, I have one 2008/1/17 01:03
You can buy a prepaid mobile phone at softbank for 6.000Y aprox.
by Madness rate this post as useful

. 2008/1/17 11:14
You can buy a prepaid mobile phone at softbank for 6.000Y aprox.

Japanese law restricts sales of prepaid mobile phones.

The Original Poster will be only visiting as at temporary visitor, he doesn't qualify to purchase a prepaid phone himself.
by John rate this post as useful

prepaid 2008/1/29 12:50
Are you sure?
I was planning on buying a Softbank phone at Narita like someone above mentioned on a tourist visa.
A friend of mine went to Japan last year and bought his phone in the airport on a tourist visa. Has it since changed?
by Confused rate this post as useful

Prepaid phone 2008/1/29 13:06

To buy a prepaid phone, you need proof of a residential address in Japan. For non-Japanese, this usually means showing your Alien Registration Card. While it is possible to register as an alien on a Temporary Visitor (i.e. tourist) visa if you are staying more than a few weeks, I don't think someone arriving at Narita Airport on a tourist visa can just buy a prepaid phone there. Maybe it was a rental phone?
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

. 2008/1/29 13:14
You can rent a phone, you can't get a prepaid phone, two different things.

For the OP I suggest he rent a phone, or just deal with using pay phones and the internet from a computer for 2-3 weeks.
by John rate this post as useful

Narita Softbank 2008/1/29 13:56
Hi guys,
Thanks for your quick responses.

I'm new on this board and am not sure how to link but this is the phone that my friend got at Narita and he came by himself (no Japanese friend to buy it for him):


I'm going to be in Japan for 2-3 months and I am definitely going to be needing a phone to e-mail people (within Japan). Most rentals don't even do longer than a month and it's really expensive at that.
by Confused rate this post as useful

Read the FAQ 2008/1/29 14:54
Look at the website you posted and read the FAQ's, it clearly states that you need an ID with a Japanese Address. Not intended for short stays in Japan.
by read rate this post as useful

re:read 2008/1/29 15:18
Yeah, that's why I was confused!

I read on another thread that sometimes places will sell prepaid to foreigners without the card so I can only assume that's what happened in his case.
by Confused rate this post as useful

Friend 2008/1/29 18:14
Last resort way, you could have a pen pal buy one for you and ship it to you with minutes preloaded on it. Then when you need more, just go to the softbank store and buy 3000 or 5000 yen and charge it yourself......Obviously you'll have to pay someone to do it...That's what I did for my family when they flew into Tokyo and had to call me when they arrived.
by MarineUSMC rate this post as useful

re: Friend 2008/1/30 01:24

Do you think Softbank would put up any fuss if my friend got a prepaid phone when she already has a yearly contract with them on her own phone?

I asked her if she would do it and she seemed to think they wouldn't let her do that cause they would know she wasn't going to be the one using it (and you know how they are sticklers for rules).
by Confused rate this post as useful

interested also 2008/1/30 01:52
I will be studying abroad for about 10 months and will have a student visa. Does anyone know if I would be able to get a prepaid phone?
by Study_abroad_study rate this post as useful

Student visa = alien registration 2008/1/30 02:07
If you have a student visa you'll have to go down to your ward office or city hall and get your alien registration. Once you have that, you're a resident of Japan and can get driver's licenses, phones, and sign legal stuff.
by Anaguma rate this post as useful

No you can... 2008/1/30 02:33
She should be able too...and dude if anything I got an old POS phone that I dont use no more....Prepaid phone, beat up to hell though...
by MarineUSMC rate this post as useful

Usage periods 2008/2/18 03:19

Hey guys,


On the diagrams, it says that within a 60 (or 90) day period, you can use all the functions but after that, it will only be in-coming calls.

But in small print it says that you can use it up to a year if you load a bunch of cards.

Do you have to load all the cards right when you get the phone?

I swear I found an e-mail contact address on the softbank page earlier but now I can only find the phone numbers, etc.
by Cell idiot rate this post as useful

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