Americans living in or visiting Japan are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and obtain updated information on travel and security within Japan.
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420 Japan
Outside of Japan: 011-81-3-3224-5000
Kita 1-jo Nishi 28-chome, Chuo-ku,
Sapporo 064-0821, Japan
Nagoya International Center Bldg. 6F
1-47-1 Nagono, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya
Kita-ku, Osaka 530-8543
5-26 Ohori 2-chome, Chuo-ku,
Urasoe City, Okinawa 901-2104
The temperature varies widely over the country on any given day-annual average temperatures range from 43 F/6 C to 72 F/22 C, depending on where you are. In general, the best times to visit are in October and April, when the foliage is changing and the temperatures are mild during the day and cool at night. May, June and July are the rainiest months, and June, July and August are hotter and more humid. Okinawa's beaches are nicest in July and August. Sweaters should be taken along for the occasional cool night (or if you're going into mountain regions). Winter months can become quite cold-parts of Japan are on the same latitude as Siberia-and the areas that aren't terribly cold most likely will be drizzly and dreary. The island of Hokkaido in far-northern Japan is bitterly cold in the winter.
The electricity throughout Japan is 100 volts AC, but there are two different cycles in use: In Tokyo and in regions northeast of the capital, it's 50 cycles, while in Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, and all points to the southwest, it's 60 cycles. Leading hotels in Tokyo often have two outlets, one for 110 volts and one for 220 volts; many of them also have hair dryers in the rooms. You can use many American appliances in Japan because the American standard is 110 volts and 60 cycles, but they may run a little slowly. Note, too, that the flat, two-legged prongs used in Japan are the same size and fit as in North America, but three-pronged appliances are not accepted. For sensitive equipment, either have it adjusted or use batteries if it's also battery-operated.
For dialing Japan, the country code is 81. In addition, all telephone area codes for all of Japan's cities begin with a zero: Tokyo's area code, for example, is 03, while Osaka's is 06. Use the entire area code only when dialing from outside the area but from within Japan. When calling Japan from abroad, it is usually necessary to drop the zero in the area code. When calling from the United States, for example, dial 81 for Japan followed by only 3 for Tokyo (not 03) and 6 (not 06) for Osaka. If you have questions, call the international operator in the country from which you are placing your call.
If you're staying in a medium- or upper-range hotel, you can make local, domestic, and international calls from your room. Some of the best hotels even offer in-room fax machines, most have business centers, and almost all will let you send a fax. For telephone calls, however, it's prudent to ask first whether you can make the call directly, whether you must go through the operator, and whether a surcharge will be added to your bill.
You can find public telephones virtually everywhere--in telephone booths on the sidewalk, on stands outside shops, on train platforms, in restaurants and coffee shops, even on bullet trains (but these require a magnetic telephone card; see below). A local call costs ¥10 (8¢) for the first minute, after which a warning chime will ring to tell you to insert more coins or you'll be disconnected. I usually insert two or three coins at the start so I won't have to worry about being disconnected; ¥10 coins that aren't used are always returned at the end of the call. Some older, red models available for public use outside ma-and-pa shops accept only ¥10 coins, but most public phones accept both ¥10 and ¥100 coins. The latter is convenient for long-distance calls. All gray, ISDN telephones are equipped for international calls and have dataports for Internet access. Toll-free numbers in Japan begin with 0120 or 0088.
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