The telephone number for the police, good anywhere in Japan, is 110. If it is an emergency or you have run into an accident, please call this number. When you do call, you will be asked for your name and current location. State your name clearly and try to find road signs that will specify your location. It would be best if you can identify some sort of landmark as well.
For accidents, treating the injured is the top priority, so please call emergency services first(see below).
If you have been robbed or burglarized, call the 110 number or your local police station. If your ATM card or credit cards have been stolen or lost, contact your card company or bank immediately.
For emergency services or for the fire department, the number, good anywhere in Japan, is 119. During fire hazards or accidents, please call this number. When you do call, you will be asked for your name and current location. State your name clearly and try to find road signs that will specify your location. It would be best if you can identify some sort of landmark as well.
For accidents, even if the injuries do not seem severe, do not leave the scene at your own discretion. You must call for emergency services. Following an accident, there may be aftereffects that do not become apparent until much later.
In addition to the regular postal service, savings services and insurance services may be available at your local post office. You may also process payments to public facilities here. The services offered and business hours will differ depending on the office, so please contact your postal office for more information.
In each district, there is a large post office that is considered to be the main office. These main offices are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. When you change addresses, you can sign up for a service redirecting mail from your old address to your new location free of charge for one year.
You can easily send money overseas through the Japan Post Service.
Japan Post Service also provides a foreign currency exchange services.
In Japan, credit cards, debit cards, and electronic money systems such as SUICA or PASMO are common, but it is still basically a cash economy. Even in metropolitan areas, there are many stores that only accept cash as payment, so please carry a certain amount of cash on you at all times. Vending machines and ticketing machines sometimes do not accept cash in large denominations, so be sure to keep some change on you as well. Please note that excluding large department stores or hotels, traveler's checks are rarely accepted.
The banks of Japan are usually open on weekdays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM and not all ATMs can be used 24 hours a day. In addition to the ATMs at banks, there are many placed in convenience stores and most of them have English language options available.
The transportation facilities and infrastructure of Japan are well-developed. Trains and air routes boasting speed, reliability, and safety are available in virtually every area.
The bullet train is one example that proves the high level of our technological achievement. Able to surpass 300 km/h, it is popular with travelers and business people alike.
80% of households in Japan currently own cars, but it is not really necessary in the metropolis regions due to the train networks and the high number of taxis and buses in service. In recent times, health or environmentally conscious people often choose to ride bicycles or walk. However, urban areas still wrestle with traffic congestion. Morning and evening traffic during rush hour is especially bad. Parking can also be difficult or expensive, making commuting by car relatively uncommon.
Trains, subways, buses, and other public transportation have commuter's passes available (usually in denominations of 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months) that can be purchased at a discount. Student passes may also be available. There are also single use tickets or prepaid cards that are perfect for people who are staying in Japan for a specific amount of time.
Earthquakes occur commonly in Japan. When an earthquake occurs, stay calm and do not panic. You must secure your own safety by taking cover under a table or moving to a room with very little furniture until the shaking has subsided. If you cannot find something to protect your head with, take a book or cushion and use that for protection. If you are cooking on the stove, turn it off right away. It is dangerous to rush outside. Watch out for falling roofing tiles and broken glass, then open the door or window to secure a way out. Also, when evacuating from a tall building, do not use the elevator.
A tsunami occurs during earthquakes by the ocean so please stay away from shorelines or riverbanks. In the event of a major earthquake, it is common for a tsunami to come long after the shaking has stopped. Even if you cannot communicate with others around you, watch your surroundings and follow evacuation procedures.
Household waste is collected by the local district and town. Depending on the town, trash is separated differently, so please confirm the specifics. The time and day that waste is collected may also differ depending on the district and town, so please confirm that as well.
Furniture, futon blankets, stoves, bicycles, and other similarly sized trash are considered to be oversized trash and cannot be discarded along with other everyday waste. You will have to pay a special fee to have it collected so please confirm that with your local public office.
Air conditioners, televisions, refrigerators, freezers, and washing machines are under the Home Appliance Recycling Law so they cannot be discarded as oversized trash. You are required to have it be collected by the store you purchased it from or have it be collected from your household when you purchase a new one.
The legal age for drinking and smoking in Japan is 20. Legal guardians or other supervisory persons will be punished for selling or providing alcohol and cigarettes to minors.
Recently, Japan has experienced an increase in motor accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. Consequently, the heavy penalties for DUIs (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol) have been extended to the provider of the alcohol as well as any passengers in the automobile. Currently, traffic accidents caused by driving under the influence will have the crime of reckless endangerment with casualties on a vehicle applied. It will have a maximum sentence of 15 years if an injury arose, and a minimum sentence of 1 year for manslaughter (a maximum sentence of 30 years is possible if combined). If you have been drinking, please do not drive.
To dial outside of Japan, you can use a landline telephone or public telephone and use the following procedures. However, for public telephones, we recommend that you first purchase a telephone card and use that when you make the international call.
After picking up the receiver, dial
001-010-Country Code-Telephone Number, or
0033-010-Country Code-Area Code-Telephone Number
* (If the area code begins with a 0, you can omit the 0)