Japan Travel Guide

Communications

Internet

Except for some traditional ryokan and minshiku, nearly all hotels have high-speed Internet access. Wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi) is increasingly available for free at coffee shops and in hotel lobbies across the country, however there are still a number of hotels that do not offer in-room Wi-Fi. There are Internet cafés in many cities, often doubling as manga (comic book) libraries where you can rent a relaxation room with massage chair, computer, and desk.

Contacts

Cybercafes. Cybercafes lists more than 4,000 Internet cafés worldwide. www.cybercafes.com.

Phones

The country code for Japan is 81. When dialing a Japanese number from outside Japan, drop the initial "0" from the local area code. The country code for the United States is 1.

Calling Within Japan

Public telephones are a dying species in cell-phone-happy Japan. But there are usually public telephones near convenience stores, train and bus stations, and, of course, in hotel lobbies. Phones accept ¥100 coins as well as prepaid telephone cards. Domestic long-distance rates are reduced as much as 50% after 9 pm (40% after 7 pm). Telephone cards, sold in vending machines, hotels, and a variety of stores, are tremendously convenient.

Operator assistance at 104 is in Japanese only. Weekdays 9–5 (except national holidays) English-speaking operators can help you at the toll-free NTT Information Customer Service Centre.

Contacts

Directory Assistance (104.)

NTT Information Customer Service Centre (0120/364–463.)

Calling Outside Japan

Many gray, multicolor, and green public phones have gold plates indicating, in English, that they can be used for international calls. Three Japanese companies provide international service: KDDI (001), Japan Telecom (0041), and IDC (0061). Dial the company's code, then the country code, then the city or area code and number of your party. Telephone credit cards are especially convenient for international calls. For operator assistance in English on long-distance calls, dial 0051.

Japan has several telephone companies for international calls, so make a note of all the possible access code numbers to use to connect to your U.S. server before departure.

Access Codes

AT&T Direct (800/731–8230.)

MCI WorldPhone (800/888–8000.)

Sprint International Access (800/877–4646.)

Calling Cards

Telephone cards for ¥1,000 can be bought at station kiosks or convenience stores and can be used in virtually all public telephones. For international calls, look for phones that accept KDDI prepaid cards valued between ¥1,000 and ¥7,000. Cards are available from convenience stores.

Mobile Phones

Japan is the world leader in mobile-phone technology, but overseas visitors cannot easily use their handsets in Japan because it is a non-GSM country. It's best to rent a phone from one of the many outlets at Narita, Kansai, and Nagoya airports. Softbank sells 3G SIM cards so you can use your own number in Japan. Most company rental rates start at ¥525 a day.

Contacts

G-call (www.g-call.com.)

JALABC Rental Phone (www.jalabc.com/rental/domestic_eng/index.html.)

Softbank (www.softbank-rental.jp.)

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