Cellphones in Japan
Having a cellphone during your time in Japan can make the difference between enjoying your free time a bit, and enjoying it a lot. It's the one tool that massively simplifies making friends, so we absolutely recommend either bringing your own (if you can confirm that it works in Japan) or renting one here. The rental company G-Call has kindly offered a great deal for GenkiJACS students, so we recommend them unreservedly. Their website is currently only in Japanese, but the magic of Google Translate lets you rent a cellphone in English!
If you plan to bring your own phone, confirm with your cell phone company that your phone supports Japanese 3G networks. Also confirm the roaming charges, so you aren't hit with a big bill at the end of your stay!
If you won't bring your own phone, use the chart below to decide which rental option is best for you.
Comparison of Prepaid and Rental Cellphones
|Prepaid||Standard short rentals||G-Call|
|Rental cost||None, but you must buy the phone for about 7000 yen||Around 3,500 yen per week||3,250 yen for 1st month, then 525 yen per week|
|Payment method||Prepaid: buy talk time at store in set amounts||Credit card, at end of stay||Credit card, at end of stay|
|Per minute cost (domestic calls)||Around 120 yen||90 yen||60 yen|
|Per minute cost (international calls)||depends on country||depends on country||from 70 yen|
|Cost to receive calls||Free||Usually free||Free|
|SMS per message||Up to 60 yen||Up to 100 yen||10.5 yen|
|Internet||0.42 yen per packet, max 10,000 yen per calendar month|
|Cellphone pickup||From store when you purchase||Usually at airport upon arrival||From airport or at GenkiJACS|
|Cellphone return||No return necessary||At airport upon departure||By post or at airport|
|Deposit||None||Depends on company||None|
|Charge for damage to phone||None, but new phone must be bought||Depends on company||Replacement cost (usually covered by credit card company)|
|Application method||Go to Softbank or other phone shop||Various websites||Click here|