I'm returning to Japan for the rugby and am wondering if sim cards are still impossible to get in Tokyo? Roger
If you've ever tried to get a Japanese SIM Card after you've already left the airport, you'll be aware that it's damn near impossible. Most Japanese phone companies require you to have a Japanese credit card and residence visa before they will sell you one. If you have an unlocked phone, there's an easier way.
Don't bother with pocket WiFi - it's annoying to carry around and charge a separate device, you can use the mobile hotspot on your phone with your laptop. Also, it's more expensive than a SIM, unless you're in Japan for a very short time.
Almost every SIM card rental company offers shipping to all of the Japanese airports for your collection. Some companies have locations at the airport too for people who haven't ordered SIMs in advance, but they are usually more expensive. Airport staff are used to speaking to people who can't speak Japanese, so don't worry about this side of things. Just have your receipt ready.
Which company you choose to rent a SIM from is ultimately down to you, but I have three solid options for you to choose from.
I went with JCR when I travelled to Tokyo - like most people, I picked mine up from Narita airport and returned it to the same place. You get a real phone number with this which came in very handy when we lost the AirBnb key (miracle - it was in the local "Convini").
The Japan Experience unlimited SIM is super reliable, and allows hotspotting so it's better for groups. A recent visitor says they used "like 50 gigs and was never throttled". Another popular choice is a Mobal SIM, fast 4G and good coverage.
If you need to unlock your phone, your phone company should be able to help you do it for free. If not, there are other options; have a Google.
Two final tips: Google Maps is all you need to get around. You can save a whole area from Google Maps for offline use. Search for the area, like Toyohira-ku, Sapporo (location of one of the RWC venues), and select "Download" on the bottom-right hand side.
Google Translate has become more and more sophisticated over the years - and with Google Lens you can translate images of signs.