Telephone numbers in Japan consist of three parts, for example, (03) 1234-5678.  The first part is the area code, the second is the exchange and the third is the subscriber’s number.  Keep in mind that area codes can consist of up to four numbers.  Phone numbers starting with 0120 are toll free calls (free dial) but cannot be called from outside Japan.  People answer the phone by saying "moshi, moshi" which is the greeting used for telephone calls only.

Public telephones (koushu denwa) are either green, gray or orange and accept 10 yen and 100 yen coins and/or prepaid telephone cards.   

  green phone  The green phones are very common and accept 10 yen and 100 yen coins and prepaid cards.  International calls  can only be made from ones that have gold faces.

  gray phoneThe gray phones are also very common and accept 10 yen and 100 yen coins and prepaid cards.  International calls can only be made from specially marked phones.

orange phone The orange phones are the newest type and accept 10yen and 100 yen coins and prepaid cards.  International calls can be placed from all orange phones.

A local call costs 10 yen per minute.  No change is given for partial use of a 100 yen coin.  Prepaid telephone cards in different denominations can be purchased at numerous locations including convenience stores, train kiosks, vending machines and even souvenier shops.  Domestic calls are cheaper in the early morning, late evening, weekends and national holidays.

Cell phone rental service is available and is provided by several companies and can be as simple as just bringing along your SIM card.  There are rental counters in the major airports but check out these sources beforehand as it is usually more cost effective and convenient planning your service prior to departure: Cellular Abroad, Vodafone Global Rental,NTT DoCoMo International Roaming Center, and PuPuru.

If you would like to use your personal cell phone (needs to be unlocked and GSM capable) or have another unlocked device, you may also consider purchasing OneSimCard. It is a prepaid service the offers coverage in over 200 countries, including Japan. If your trip will be relatively short, they also provide renting options as well (this option is only available for individuals in the U.S) 

Some helpful numbers while in Tokyo:

Emergency Assistance:

  • (0120) 461-997 English

Emergency: if calling from a public phone some require you press the red button and then dial

  • 110 for Police
  • 119 for Fire/Ambulance

Police: General Information

  • (03) 3501-0110 Japanese/English
  • (03) 3503-8484 English and several other languages 

Tokyo Tourist Information:

  • (03) 3201-3331 English                

010 ( zero one zero ) is the International Access Code you use to dial an overseas number from 'within' Japan. 

81 ( eight one ) is the International Telephone Country Code for Japan