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Japan: SIM card vs. MiFi

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So last time we went to Japan we went the MiFi/portable WiFi route...and it was really quite a revelation. We had unfettered access throughout our trip (granted, we were mostly in tourist destinations) at a decent speed. Access to Google Maps saved our lives as we never were for want as far as getting from Point A to Point B. Battery power usually lasted us a few hours -- and, for those longer trips, we just plugged it in on the train rides to charge up.

So, logic would dictate that for our upcoming trip, that's the way to go.

Although. this time we're going a bit further off the tourist route and phone calls--or, moreso, the ability to call ryokan/hotels if anything comes up while traveling--become something to consider.

Now, Skype definitely is an option using MiFi, but certainly not reliable nor good quality--when we get up into the mountains, I'm not so sure we can rely on that signal. So that brings me to the idea of maybe renting a SIM card for my iPhone instead this time around.

We normally use Global Advanced Communications in Japan -- they've always got good prices and they're reliable. And the cost between SIM card rental and MiFi rental is negligible. But, it is a bit convoluted trying to decipher the cost of the calls and the airtime you'll actually get when you rent a SIM.

Looks like 24JPY/minute and you a 1000 JPY credit at the onset of the rental. That doesn't seem like much credit and it does seem like calls could add up and end up being quite a bit more than MiFi after all.

Any advice from those in the know?

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