When it comes to study in Japan, either as an exchange student or a at language school, you might be thinking about getting a mobile plan during your stay.

Is a data only mobile plan enough? Do you need a Japanese phone number with your phone plan?

Let’s explore the pros and cons of having a phone number and in which case it might be useful.

Before jumping into pros and cons, let’s just note that subscribing to a mobile plan at major telecommunication companies in Japan is tough.
In most cases, you will need to understand and read Japanese as well as signing for a 2 years contract tying you to the company.


Getting a phone number in Japan as a student. Pros and Cons

– Allow you to have access to more services than somebody without it (for example banks).
– You can contact your Embassy and other institutions by phone which is faster than an email.
– You can call for emergency easily if something happens to you.

– Might be difficult to open an account at a classic Japanese phone service provider.
– Having a 2 years contract does not offer flexibility as a foreign student.
– It is more expensive than a data only long-term sim card.
– You don’t really need it in case you stay for just a few months without any intention to stay in Japan longer.


1 – For daily life, having a phone number is not a necessity as a student.

In Japan, people usually use apps like Line to communicate and call each other. These calls are using data to connect and thus, a phone number is not required to talk with friends. As a foreign student in Japan, you might also want to keep in touch with family and friends in your home country. Here again, WhatsApp and Messenger can used and is preferred. International phone calls are expensive in Japan.

Although, there are some cases where you might want to consider getting a phone plan with data and a Japanese Phone Number.

2 – You need to open a bank account in Japan.

Banks in Japan are requiring a Japanese Phone Number in order to open your account. It is mandatory and even foreigners-friendly banks are asking for it. So if you want to have a part-time job or you plan to stay long enough and want to save your money on international fees, we suggest you to subscribe to a plan that comes with a Japanese Phone Number.
Be careful, IP phones starting with 050 are not considered true Japanese Phone Numbers. They are using internet and not the phone network. Japanese Phone Numbers usually start with 070 or 080 or 090.

3 – You want to do Job Hunting in Japan after you studies

You liked studying in Japan and now you consider finding a job here? Congrats! You will now discover Japan’s crazy job hunting period that takes place every year. In this case, having a phone number to put on your resume will be very useful. It would be bad to lose your spot because the company could not contact you on time.


With Smash Mobile, you can get an access to a wide selection of mobile plans that suits your needs as a student in Japan.
1) You can choose between having a Japanese phone number or just data.
2) We do not have 2 years contract, so you keep your flexibility and freedom.
3) International credit cards are accepted and your info are safe thanks to Stripe.
4) All our services are in English as well as our Support.

To discover more about our long-term mobile plans, click here.