How to use a public telephone in Japan


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Thinking about going to Japan?
Then it would be a good idea to consider using public telephones in order to inform others about your whereabouts in the event you do not have a cell phone at hand.
The first thing to take into consideration is that public telephones require you to use either coins or a prepaid card. If you use coins, you can use a 10 yen one for a short call, but if you use a 100 yen one for a long call, you will not receive any change back. That brings us to the second option: prepaid cards. You can purchase them at Seven Eleven, Lawson, Family Mart, Daily Yamazaki, Circle K, Sunkus, Mini Stop, Three F, Popula, Kurashi Saika, Kurashi House, Three Eight, and JR East Japan Retail Net.

Now you are ready to use a public telephone!

  1. Find a pay phone in a public space (see photo number 1). They can also be found in the form of a telephone box (see photo number 2).

    Photo number 1

    Photo number 2

  2. After entering into the telephone box (if it is the case), lift the receiver. If you hear a beep, it means it is working. You can use the sound buttons if you do not hear the sound properly.
  3. Insert the coins or card.
  4. Dial the telephone number (make sure it has 10 digits).
  5. Do your call.
  6. End the call by replacing the receiver (after doing so, you will receive your card back).



Most people who come to Japan to teach as ALTs have the goal of learning the Japanese language in their minds. This is because ALTs interact with the Japanese teachers and students everyday and they become part of the community.

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