Choosing Between a SIM Card and Wi-Fi Router for Traveling in Okinawa

Preparing for a trip to Okinawa, Japan, to fully enjoy the sea breeze and sunshine! After booking the flight to Okinawa, the biggest concern is the local network. Taking beautiful photos and hoping to instantly share them on IG for check-ins and memories, you can't miss a network with sufficient data and fast speed! So, when it comes to a free trip to Okinawa, should you choose a Japan SIM card or a Japan pocket WiFi router? Are there any other more convenient and cost-effective options, for example, eSIM? Below, we'll thoroughly compare and provide recommendations, and at the end of the article, we'll also include super-recommended choices for Japan SIM cards and Japan pocket WiFi options!

Pros and Cons of Japan Pocket WiFi Routers

Renting a Japan Pocket WiFi router is more suitable for families traveling together and staying together most of the time. Generally, a Pocket WiFi router can accommodate 5 to 8 people, providing relatively stable internet for all users, and sharing the rental costs can also save expenses. For business travelers who need internet access for multiple devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops simultaneously, renting a Pocket WiFi router is also a good choice.

Pocket WiFi routers often offer larger data allowances, with many unlimited options available. They are more friendly to internet addicts or business travelers who frequently need to conduct video conferences.

Check out CDJapan Rental's Japan Pocket WiFi Pocket WiFi can be delivered to Naha Airport or hotels in Okinawa. The shipping fee is the same as sending it to Tokyo or Osaka, and pickup is very convenient!

However, the drawbacks of Pocket WiFi routers are also quite evident:

Weight and Easy to Forget

When traveling, the goal is often to move around easily. Carrying an extra Pocket WiFi router in your bag, even if it's lightweight, adds several hundred grams. Moreover, it tends to heat up during use, which can be inconvenient in Okinawa's already hot weather. Forgetting the Pocket WiFi in the hotel room means risking losing connectivity and having to constantly remember it.

Requires Charging

Without ensuring that the Pocket WiFi is fully charged in advance, it becomes impossible to connect to the internet. Bringing along or renting an additional power bank for it not only increases the weight of your bag but also adds to the expenses.

Everyone Must Stick Together

Since one Pocket WiFi router can accommodate multiple users but only one person can carry it, everyone's itinerary becomes tightly bound together. There's little room for individuals to explore places they want to visit separately. In popular tourist spots in Okinawa with large crowds, individuals who accidentally stray may face the risk of both losing their companions and being without internet access.

Pros and cons of Japan SIM cards

Japan SIM cards mostly utilize Docomo network, which boasts the widest coverage in Japan. This ensures relatively good signal reception wherever you go, making it particularly suitable for those traveling freely in Okinawa. SIM cards incur lower costs compared to Pocket WiFis as they don't require the same design expenses. They are installed directly into your phone, ensuring you won't forget to bring it along, and they don't need charging. This makes them suitable for individuals who don't always move together and may have the need to split up. SIM cards sold in Japan are now plug-and-play, requiring no complicated setup, making them convenient even for those not tech-savvy.

However, compared to renting a Pocket WiFi router, SIM cards may offer slightly less data, and unlimited data plans are less common. The internet speed may also be slightly slower than what WiFi routers can provide, although it's sufficient for daily use such as map navigation, posting on Instagram and LINE, and watching videos. Additionally, since it's one card per device, sharing with friends or other devices requires hotspot tethering, which can drain your phone's battery quickly.

Another drawback is the need to remove your home country's SIM card and replace it with the Japan SIM card when using it, so you must carefully store your original SIM card during your journey to avoid losing it.

CDJapan Rental offers 50GB high-speed data SIM cards, as well as unlimited data plans, waiting for you to choose!

Purchase Prepaid Japan SIM Cards (Large Capacity/Unlimited Data)

Thorough Comparison of Japan SIM Cards and Pocket WiFi

Comparison Japan SIM Card Japan Pocket WiFi
Network Stability Utilizes Docomo network, relatively stable Utilizes networks of major operators, relatively stable
Speed Most Japan SIM cards are provided by MVNOs (smaller operators), slower than WiFi but sufficient for daily use Provides faster speed
Data Primarily for short-term visitors, usually offers smaller data allowances. However, options with around 50GB have recently been introduced. Usually offers abundant data allowances, many options exceeding 100GB.
Convenience Very convenient Generally convenient
Target Users Individuals with the need to separate Individuals with tightly bound itineraries
Price Relatively cheap Relatively expensive
Safety Installed in the phone, less likely to be lost More likely to be lost
Sharing Can share but consumes phone battery for hotspot Can share
Others No need for charging Requires charging
Purchase and Rental Purchase Prepaid Japan SIM Cards
(Large Capacity/Unlimited Data)
Japan Pocket WiFi Rental Service

What is eSIM?

eSIM is a virtual SIM card. The 'e' in eSIM stands for 'embedded'. Since eSIM is like virtualizing a physical SIM card and embedding it into the phone, it's also commonly referred to as a virtual SIM card.

Experience CDJapan Rental's eSIM now!

eSIM is not physical, so it won't be lost or need to be returned. Therefore, there's no need to replace physical SIM cards or search for SIM card ejectors. You can also keep your own SIM card for receiving domestic calls and texts. If you purchase an eSIM in advance, you can complete installation and setup online immediately upon arrival, without waiting for packages to be delivered or picking them up, achieving seamless internet access.

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