Public telephones in Japan are plentiful and can be found almost everywhere––in train stations, at neighborhood police stations, in restaurants, near bus stops and taxicab stands, on busy corners and in small shops. In pink, blue, yellow, green and red, these telephones are difficult to overlook.
The colors of the phones denote different kinds of service. For example, yellow and green telephones accept both ¥10 and ¥100 coins (but do not return change), making them ideal for long-distance calls. Many people today, however, use magnetic, prepaid telephone cards instead of coins. Most public telephones, and all push button ones, are now equipped to accept the handy cards, which can be purchased from vending machines, kiosks, tobacco shops and several other outlets and are sold in denominations of ¥500 to ¥5,000.
International Direct Dialing
From public phones that carry the “International & Domestic Card/Coin Telephone” designation, it is possible to make direct international calls. Three telephone companies now offer competitive rates for overseas calls, and their different access codes are 001 for KDDI, 0041 for Japan Telecom, and 0061 for Cable & Wireless IDC. To make an international call, simply dial one of the access codes and follow with the country code, the area code and number you wish to call. The dialing sequence to place a call to Los Angeles through KDDI, for example, would be 001-1-213-telephone number. .
To place an overseas call through an operator from anywhere in Japan, use the following number:
Overseas Operator 0051
Charges for this type of call are based on a fixed rate for the first three minutes, with additional charges for each minute thereafter..
Home Country Direct
For collect calls and credit card calls to your home country operator, dial the toll-free access number (for the USA, the number is 00539-111). This service is free and available on International Domestic Card/Coin Telephones, special Home Country Direct phones and home phones..
Domestic Phone Calls
To use general public telephones, simply insert a ¥10 coin into the slot and dial the number. A local call costs ¥10 for one minute. If you intend to talk more than three minutes, deposit several coins. When you hang up, the unused portion will be returned. Otherwise, at the end of three minutes a buzzer will sound and your call will be terminated..
The Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) has helped to reduce anxiety for American travelers who do not speak Japanese by providing English-language assistance or travel information over the telephone. The phone service, called Japan Travel-Phone, is free to callers outside of Tokyo and Kyoto. In these two cities, there is a regular phone charge of ¥10 per 1 minute (see Tourist Information Services in this section for more details on JNTO’s services to tourists).
Outside of Tokyo and Kyoto, Travel-Phone is available through private phones and all public ones except red phones. Simply dial 0120-44-4800 or 0088-22-4800. Travel Phone is in operation between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. throughout the year..
Tokyo Travel-Phone (¥10 per min.) 3201-3331 for TIC.
Kyoto Travel-Phone (¥10 per min.) 371-5649 for TIC.
In addition, a Teletourist service is available in Tokyo and Kyoto, enabling you to reach a tape-recorded message containing entertainment information.
Police – General Information (03) 3501-0110
- Lost & Found (03) 3814-4151
Medical Information Service (03) 5285-8181
The Japan Helpline (0120) 461-997
JR East Infomation (03) 3423-0111
Subway Information Service (03) 3837-7111
Lost & Found
Tokyo Station (03) 3231-1880
Ueno Station (03) 3841-8069
Eidan Subways (03) 3834-5577
Tokyo Metropolitan Buses, Subways & Streetcars (03) 3812-2011
Taxis (03) 3648-0300
Directory Assistance 104
Collect Calls 106