Power voltage throughout Japan is 100V. The frequency of electric current is 50Hz in Eastern Japan (e.g., Tokyo) and 60Hz in Western Japan (e.g., Osaka). The switch on the circuit breaker, located in your apartment unit or house, should be turned on once you have moved in. You should also contact your local power company to open an account.
In most apartments, gas is used for the kitchen stove and the water heater. The bathtub has an independent gas water heater used to re-heat the water. Always make sure there is enough water in the bathtub before using the water heater, otherwise this may result in a fire. Each gas appliance (e.g., stove, water heater) requires a specific gas type.
There are two different types of gas available in Japan. In most cities, underground gas pipe lines provide "City Gas", which is a mixture of liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas. In other areas, where gas pipe lines do not reach, compressed gas cylinders containing liquefied propane gas are used.
Gas supply valves are located in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure to turn off all gas valves before going to sleep and when leaving your home. Gas leak detectors must be checked periodically. Once you contact your local gas company to set up an account, a technician will come to service your apartment and inform you of safety instructions.
Drinking tap water is very common in Japan. Chlorine concentration in tap water is maintained at a safe level so there is no need to boil it before use. When moving to a new home, be sure to contact your local water supply company to set up an account.
Your local Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) can set up your home telephone line which will allow you to make local and long distance calls. Each call, including local calls, will be charged per minute. There are discount options available for calls made during a specific time of day or for calls made to numbers registered in advance. Discount option rates depend on calling frequency, duration, destination, and time (morning, evening or late night).
You are required to pay initial set-up fees for your new phone line. These fees include one of the two options: (1) a contract and subscription fee, or (2) a contract and installation fee. Monthly fees will vary with each option. For more details, visit the NTT website.
If you require long distance service, there are only a few long distance service providers, other than NTT, to choose from.
Cell phones can be purchased at electrical appliance stores, or at service shops of mobile phone companies such as, NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone or Au. There are various service packages available to suit your needs.
How to make a phone call
・ Local calls
Simply dial the phone number.
・ Long distance calls (within Japan)
Dial the phone number including the area code. If you are using a long distance provider other than NTT, include the company's 4-digit international access code just before the area code. Unlike the North American telephone system, dialing 1 is not necessary to indicate that you are making a long distance call.
・ International calls
4-digit international code (of your long distance provider) + 010 + country code + area code + phone number
Prepaid calling cards to make international calls are available. Simply dial the number on the card and follow the instructions to make your call. International calling cards can be purchased from vending machines and convenient stores.
Operator connected calls (e.g., person to person, station calls and collect calls) are provided by KDDI. Dial 0057 to tell the operator what type of call you would like to make.
・ Toll Free calls
A phone number that begins with 0120 is toll free. It can't be reached from out of Japan
?・ Emergency calls
Note: Emergency numbers for Police, and Fire or Ambulance are different.
Dial 110 Police
Dial 119 Fire or Ambulance
・ Pay phones
The dialing process is the same as using a land line. For international calls, use pay phones marked "international call available". Most orange colored IC card pay phones can be used for international calls, however, an exclusive card is required. It is possible to make international calls, using a regular telephone card, on grey colored pay phones that are marked, "international call available".
International call careers, Cell Phone Companies and Calling Card