Last updated: 2023-07-21

To sign up for many Japanese event ticketing sites, you will need a Japanese phone number to use for SMS or call verification.

Current recommendations (July 2023)

If you know a resident/citizen of Japan that's willing to help you...

They can sign up for a b-mobile SIM, activate it, and then do the SMS verification with it. You can have multiple lines open with b-mobile, so it's fine if they already have one. Instructions for how to do this are below. (There are also many other SIMs that residents/citizens of Japan can obtain.)

(One alternative to this process that people have thought of is that you can get your friend to mail the SIM to you. But this is technically illegal, since you're not supposed to buy these SIMs for other people...)

If you can go to Japan...

You can obtain a long-term Japanese phone plan that will work for SMS and call verification—a Hanacell or Mobal SIM. (They're issued from the same provider.) You don't need to be a resident to use them, but you will only be able to receive calls or SMS messages while you're in Japan.

If you get the Hanacell SIM, make sure you are getting the correct SIM by following the link above. Their home page mainly advertises their US SIMs for Japanese people in the US.

These SIMs will not work outside of Japan. So get to work on making those accounts while you are still in Japan. (You should be able to get signal at airports, so if you have a layover in Japan, this might work too.)


I don't have any further alternatives for you if you're not a resident/citizen of Japan and not in Japan. Let me know if you do find any!

b-mobile Instructions (only for Japan residents/citizens)

Starting 2022-02-14, b-mobile requires you to provide an ID issued by Japan to apply for a 190PadSIM. As far as I can tell, all accepted IDs are only obtainable by those with the right to reside in Japan—citizens, permanent residents, or those with a long-term visa. This means that only residents/citizens of Japan are able to get a b-mobile SIM with SMS now.

Therefore, the below instructions are outdated if you live overseas and are not a citizen of Japan. They are left here in case they're still useful for you.

What you need

  • an unlocked phone
  • enough money to pay for the SIM and shipping fees—about 330 yen/month for the SIM + 4000-5000? yen in one-time costs

Step 1: Get an address in Japan.

If you don't have one, sign up for a package forwarding service like Blackship, Tenso, or TensoJapan. These services will give you an address in Japan that you can use to fill in order forms on Japanese sites.

To sign up for one, you'll have to send them a picture of your ID and possibly proof that you live at your address, so I hope you're comfortable with that.

Once the package arrives at their warehouse, you can tell them to ship it to you.

(I personally use Blackship. It is a little pricier but offers handy services.)

Step 2: Order a SIM.

The SIM we'll be using (which also works while overseas) is the b-mobile 190PadSIM:

(Don't confuse this with the b-mobile Visitor SIM! You don't want that one.)

There are many other options if you are a resident or citizen of Japan, so I encourage you to do further research to see which options may be best for you. (I am in neither category...)

  • The site may not work if you have an ad blocker like uBlock on, so try turning such extensions off if you're having problems.
  • Make sure to select "ドコモ" (first screen) and "データ+SMS" (later on). If you Google Translate the site, the first option may not be clear, so double-check that.
  • Aside from that, Google Translate/DeepL will suffice for the most part.
  • If it asks for ID, skip it.

Here's a guide to the name/address part of the signup process:

Step 3: When the SIM arrives, get it sent to you.

IMPORTANT: You need to verify the SIM within 20 days of b-mobile shipping it. Don't wait too long to get it shipped to yourself, and don't use a shipment method that'll take too long.

It usually takes a couple of days for the SIM to ship domestically, in addition to whatever time it may take for a friend/forwarding service to ship to you.

If you're using a package forwarding service, refer to their site for help once it arrives.

Step 4: Activate the SIM.

The process has been updated since I personally activated one of these SIMs. The most up-to-date info is here:

It seems that the current process (as of July 2023) is to log into your My Page, click the "開通申し込み" button, and enter the USIM number (which can be found on the back of your SIM card).

Step 5: Insert your SIM and hope it works.

The b-mobile site says that if you activate within

  • 10:00 to 20:00: SMS should work within an hour
  • 20:00 to 10:00 the next day: SMS should work by 11:00 the next day

You may have to fiddle with APN settings to get it to work:

The best way to figure out whether it works, of course, is to...

Step 6: Verify your ticketing site account!

This step depends on the website, and is subject to change. Generally, this consists of either

  • Receiving an SMS and entering the code in that message.
  • Being provided a number to call and calling that number. You can make calls (but not for free) using Viber Out.

Pia and L-Tike are known to check if you're in Japan, so you may (or may not) need a VPN for those. I would activate one before using those websites, just to be safe.

Step 7: You might not want to cancel the plan...

Now that you've gotten your phone number and your account(s) sorted out, you might want to cancel your plan now.

But there are reasons you might not want to do that:

  1. Pia is known to ask for call verification on login. (Not sure what the conditions are for this, since it doesn't always happen.)
  2. Digital tickets are increasingly popular, with many events only having digital tickets, and several ticket apps are known to require SMS verification (e.g. Rakuten and e+). If you go to events in Japan, you might end up having to use one of these at some point.
  3. If the phone number is released to someone else and they sign up for a new account using that number, your account may become un-verified.

Other alternatives and why they don't work

Temporary visitor SIMs

You can get time-limited SIMs as a temporary visitor to Japan and get SMS messages this way. But these numbers can be released to others once the validity period is over. If someone uses the same number to register a new account, your account may become un-verified.

VoIP numbers (e.g. Skype numbers)

Most Japanese sites I've used that require SMS/phone verification don't allow VoIP phone numbers.

Traditional Japanese cellular service plans

They'll likely ask for a Japanese ID and possibly proof of residence. They might also only accept Japan-based payment methods.


Requires a Japanese ID and no service outside of Japan. (Linksmate SIM cards were successfully used a few years ago, but at some point, they stopped receiving service outside of Japan, and now require Japanese ID.)

I haven't used it myself, but from the description, it's not looking good unless you can make it to Japan.

Rakuten Link is an app that lets you receive SMS outside of Japan to a Rakuten Mobile number. The problem is that to activate the app, you need a verification code sent via SMS to the number—you need to be in Japan to receive that.

Theoretically, a way to do this might be to sign up for a plan, send the SIM card to a friend in Japan, and have them receive the SMS and tell you the code. But it's not clear to me whether the app checks that the number you use for the app matches the SIM on your phone, so there's no guarantee it'll work.