How To Use a Japanese Pay Phone in 10 Steps

Instructions on how to use a Japanese pay phones, explained in 10 steps.


Travel Tips

Need to make a call but you don't have a cell phone or smart phone handy? Why not try using a Japanese pay phone! Follow these 10 steps and you're good to go. Japanese pay phones have a high reputation for being safe and extremely clean, as told from this video, so don't hesitate!

1. Prepare Coins


You will need some 10 yen or 100 yen coins. If you're planning on making a short call, 10 yen coins should be fine. If you use a 100 yen for a call, even if it was only a short one, you won't get any change. If you're planning to use pay phones during your stay in Japan, you might want to consider the following option...

2. Or Prepare a Telephone Card


Telephone cards are prepaid cards for public telephones. 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. The cards come charged with 500 yen or 1000 yen.

Now you're done for preparation. Time to get into action and make that call.

3. Find a Pay Phone


Pay phones are usually found in public spaces (see above), or telephone boxes (see below). Since pretty much everyone has a cell phone or smart phone nowadays, it may be harder to find one than before. They usually comes in grey or green.


4. Get into the Phone Box

MIKI Yoshihito/Flickr

This only applies to those using a phone box. Always look at the display. Push or pull; it differs from box to box. 

5. Lift the Receiver


If you hear a beep, it means it's working. If you can't hear it loud enough, use volume button (if available). 

6. Insert Coin/Telephone Card


Insert 10 yen, 100 yen or a telephone card. You can only use either coins or a card. 

7. Dial the Telephone Number


Don't forget to start from the area code. If you don't know what the area code is, look it up. If you have a 10 digit number, it probably includes the area code, so no worries.

8. Do Your Call


Make the call.

9. End the Call by Replacing the Receiver

By doing so, you'll get your telephone card back. As I said before, no change is available for coins. 

10. Congratulations! You've used a Japanese pay phone!


Enjoy the rest of your trip!

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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