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


To apply for a G-Call phone, click here!


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Genki Building Hakataekihigashi 1-16-23, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi 812-0013, Japan
Phone: +81 (0)92 472 0123


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Hanazono Building 3F Shinjuku 5-17-6, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022, Japan
Phone: +81 (0)3 6457 3554


kyoto contacts

Hayashi Bldg 2F Shimizuchō (Kawaramachidōri), 454-1, Shimogyō-ku, Kyōto-shi 600-8025, Japan
Phone: +81 (0)75 353 0003


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