Culture

Japan’s got your free SIM card sorted – in time for the Tokyo Olympics

By Kitty Knowles 11 September 2017
Japanese women clad in maiko, apprentice geisha, costumes rehearse before welcoming members of the International Olympic Committee. Pic: Getty/TORU YAMANAKA
Japanese women clad in maiko rehearse before welcoming the International Olympic Committee. Pic: Getty/TORU YAMANAKA
Summary

What a performance.

Are you hoping to fly out to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?

We love Japan, but finding a shop to sell you a local SIM can best be described as hellish.

In many cities (Tokyo included) shop vendors not only require ID, but multiple layers of bureaucracy – in some cases, your very own Japanese family stamp.

Luckily however, when it comes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, tourists might just get this fixed; with a bunch of perks thrown in for free.

That’s not just amazing, it’s WAmazing.

Founder Fukimo Kato (right).

WAmazing

Founder Fumiko Kato has built WAmazing, a mobile SIM service you can register for before you arrive.

To use the service, you simply register your info ahead of your trip, and when you land, pop by a WAmazing vending machine at the airport. Then, all you need is to scan your individual QR code and you’ll receive your local SIM card straight away. Voila!

The service will undoubtedly be much appreciated by those who’ve ever tried to get on Wifi in Japan, which often involves complex forms and a Japanese mobile number. (When we visited, we resorted to lugging around a pocket wifi for weeks, which let’s admit – no one wants to do).

Freebies

They say the best things in life are free, and that’s the case with WAmazing – at least for shorter trips.

It’s offering its SIM card swith 500MB of data for free, for a period of 15 days. You only pay if you stay longer, or if you decide to upgrade to 1GB or beyond.

Other useful features in the works include in-app hotel reservation, and an Uber-style taxi booking service.

Right now, the young business is making itself available to tourists from Hong Kong and Taiwan. But with $9.2m raised last week from the likes of Beenos and the Sony Innovation Fund, a global roll-out is on the cards.

A time where such a service is available in any country, wherever you’re travelling, feels distinctly in reach.

Get ready to share oh-so-Instagrammable somersaults to your heart’s content.