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I'm going to visit Japan for an extended period of time soon. The visit is long enough that I would want to have a local phone number, but short enough that I won't be considered a resident and get a residence card (the length of my visit falls just a little bit under 90 days).

I've Googled a bit in both English and Japanese, as well as looked at this question, but didn't find a prepaid SIM (or similar) plan that has both voice calling and a period of validity long enough that it wouldn't be tedious to get a new card, like, every two weeks. The SoftBank rental SIM comes close, but it is a bit pricey (110 yen/day).

I am actually on Project Fi and have free global data roaming, so I don't need a data-only plan at all. I also don't really expect to use my Japanese number all that often; maybe just for an occasional phone call or text message. That being said, I do want to have a Japanese number handy, because I expect to need it from time to time. So, is this SoftBank rental thing my only choice, or are there some better choices out there?

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Answering my own question after a bit more digging:

Mobal seems to provide a good plan at 1000 yen/month (voice & SMS only, as I have no need for data).

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You may want to just get a Line.app account and/or VOIP number such as through Skype or other service that’ll give you a local number.

I found in Japan that everyone preferred Line to communicate and no one ever called me on voice except for official business.

  • That sounds like a good idea, too, except I've already paid Mobal... Will try that next time (if there indeed is a next time). – xuq01 May 19 '18 at 19:23

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