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What smartphone to use in Japan?

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#16 dspeed



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Posted 05 May 2014 - 15:00

FWIW, I recently visited Japan and was able to purchase a data SIM card for my unlocked NL920. I thought it didn't work at the beginning because I had the "no signal" logo (bars with a crossed out circle) but I realized after a few days (I'm not the smartest man) that I actually had data. For GPS, I used both GMaps and Here, but GMaps was better since Here only had very basic roads and landmarks.

I purchased the SIM card at Yodobashi Camera Kyoto, I believe it was a B-Mobile brand or something similar, using the NTT Docomo network. It was for 1GB at around $35 give or take, no contract required. Activation might require calling from a local number and it's usually not performed by workers inside the store, so please do some research on that.

I think that the only wifi I found was at a Starbucks in the Kyoto train station.

I can't say I tried translating text because I didn't need to, I had some relatives there.

Good luck!

Here's a link to the SIM card in the Yodobashi Camera website:


日本通信 JCI
BM-FRML-1GBM [b-mobile(ビーモバイル) 3G・4G 1GB定額 有効期間30日 マイクロSIMタイプ]

#17 OP Andre S.

Andre S.


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Posted 05 May 2014 - 16:59

Bear in mind GPS will be useless without internet connectivity, as will the translation features.

You'd be better off arranging a rental phone before you arrive.

Yes, that's what I'm thinking, just the what/where is unclear to me. Btw guys I wouldn't need it for photos, I'll carry a "real" camera around. I just need to photograph text for translation.

#18 wrack


    Wireless Robotic Android Calibrated for Killing

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 23:22

It is an overkill if he needs it for location and translation services. 520 would do just fine.

I suggested it for the camera too :)

#19 elenarie


    Newbie .NET / game dev

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 23:50

No Here Maps, just checked and they don't have support for offline maps for Japan. Bing don't either, to my knowledge, so either Google or something else. Thus I'm not sure if a Lumia would fit your purposes (if it was another country then 520 would have fitted perfectly with offline translations for a dozen languages and offline maps for close to a hundred countries).

#20 Aheer.R.S.


    I cannot Teach Him, the Boy has no Patience!

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 02:02

Seeing as everyone is recommending nokias, I'll vote for Sony Z1 Compact

#21 FloatingFatMan


    Resident Fat Dude

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 20:52

TBH, as long as it works on the frequency bands Japan uses, any smartphone will do the job.