Walking on Drift Ice
Japanese phone numbers typically take the form (012)-345-6789. The numbers in parentheses are the area code which can vary in length from two to six digits; however, the phone number always has ten digits regardless of the area code's length. Mobile phone numbers typically take the form 090-1234-5678 and always have eleven digits.
Dial the number as it is shown. If you are calling from a landline to another landline in the same area code you may omit the area code when dialing, but it is not necessary. An exception is that cell phones cannot call toll free numbers (0120 prefix). 0120 numbers are free to call from landlines.
From Japan to Abroad
For example, to call the US number (123) 456-7890, dial 010+1+123-456-7890. Note that this method will work from any Japanese phone, however it is the most expensive way to make an international call. Most service providers offer an international calling program that is cheaper but requires registration.
From Abroad to Japan
For example, to call the Japanese number (012)-345-6789 from the US dial 011+81+12-345-6789. To call the Japanese mobile phone number 090-1234-5678 from Australia dial 0011+81+90-1234-5678. Again, direct dialing is the most expensive way to make an international call.
There are many services that provide discounts on international calling. Internet based services (such as Skype or VoIP) are probably the cheapest options for both residents and travelers.
Service Provider Programs
Direct dialing international numbers is possible through all phone service providers, but they offer better rates if you register for their international programs. Contact your service provider for details.
Internet Based Services (VoIP)
Internet based services such as Skype, YahooBB and Hikari Denwa connect through the internet and can offer some of the best rates for international calling with call quality similar to direct dialing. The downside is that they require an internet connection, and some services can only be bought bundled with internet service.
International calling cards can be bought at convenience stores, online, and at vending machines. Shop around for the best rates for the particular country that you wish to call.
When making a call with these services you first call an access number, let the phone ring once, and then hang up. This call starts an automated system that then calls you back and prompts you to enter the phone number that you want to call. You will then be connected through the callback service's network at a cheaper rate than direct dialing.