Using public telephones
While modern technology enables you to connect with friends and family around the world from the palm of your hand, there still might be times when you need to make use of public telephones. Japan's public phone system has options for both domestic and international calls, meaning you can get in touch with whoever, whenever.
Public telephones accept 10 yen and 100 yen coins and/or telephone cards. A local call within Tokyo's central 23 Wards and some other metropolitan cities costs 10 yen for around a minute. Be aware that no change is given for partial use of a 100 yen coin. You can pick up a prepaid telephone card for around 1,000 yen from vending machines, kiosks at train stations, and convenience stores.
Charges for inter-city calls vary according to the distance. Domestic calls are cheaper at night and on Saturday, Sunday & national holidays. The number of public phones in Japan is decreasing due to the widespread use of mobile phones and smartphones. However, they can still be found at hotels, tourist facilities, and train stations. During large-scale disasters, public phones are known to have better connections than mobile phones.
Telephone numbers in Japan consist of an area code and a phone number (Exchange Number + Subscriber's Number). For example: (03) 1234-5678.
A direct overseas call can be made from a public telephone displaying an International and Domestic Telephone sign. These phones are not widespread, but can be found at airports, hotels, and other key facilities. Direct dial calls can be made via a telephone company using the company's access number.
Credit Card Calls
A credit card call can be made from a telephone with an International and Domestic Telephone sign. Insert a 100 yen coin—returned when you finish the call—and input an access number. The telecom business is fiercely competitive and so rates and systems change often.
Prepaid International Telephone Cards
Prepaid cards that allow you to make international phone calls at flat rates are also becoming widespread. They are sold at various prices at facilities such as convenience stores and airports. To make a call, you dial the number of the call center written on the card, and enter the security code. You can then dial the number you want to call starting with the country code. There are also cards that let you make phone calls to specified countries at discount prices—KDDI , SoftBank Telecom , and NTT Communications each offer this service.
You can use your mobile phone in Japan in SoftBank Mobile or DOCOMO's 3G (3rd Generation) service area. All you have to do is bring your own SIM card and insert it to a rental phone or your own 3G handset. In recent years, there are also services that offer prepaid SIM cards to those who are in Japan only temporarily. Please refer to the site below for information. For more details, please check with your local mobile phone service provider.
Rental phone service is also available upon arrival at Narita Airport, Haneda Airport or Kansai Airport. For further information please contact any of the following companies.
Toll Free Numbers
Telephone numbers starting with 0120 are receiver-paid calls under NTT's Free Dial 0120 service. For Japan Telecom, the toll-free numbers begin with 0088, but calling areas are sometimes limited. Toll free numbers cannot be called from outside Japan.
Useful Phone Numbers
Most organizations have English-speaking personnel:
|Lost & Found||(03) 3814-4151|
|General Information||(03) 3501-0110 (Japanese/English)|
|(03) 3503-8484 (English & Several Other Foreign Languages)|
|Hospital Information||Inquiries||(03) 5285-8181|
|The Japan Helpline||Simple questions to emergency assistance||0570-000-911|
|Flight Information||Haneda||(03) 5757-8111 (Japanese/English)|
|Narita||(0476) 34-8000 (Japanese/English)|
|Kansai||(0724) 55-2500 (Japanese/English)|
|JR East Infoline||(050) 2016-1603|
|Lost & Found||Tokyo Metro||(03) 3834-5577|
|Taxi||(03) 3648-0300 (Japanese)|
|TOEI Bus/Subway||(03) 3812-2011|
|Road Traffic Information||(050) 3369-6600 (Japanese)|
|Tokyo Metro Customer Relations Center||(03) 3941-2004|