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for Travelers who wish to
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Japanese Experience

Calling Home from Japan

Most tourists want to call home at least one time while they are traveling in Japan but this is not always easy or cheap. Below are 5 options but we recommend either option numbers 4 or 5 as they are the least expensive.

Option 1 - Use your cell phone in Japan...
Smart Phones in Japan - Japan Roads ToursMost of the foreign phones do not work in Japan and the ones that do can be very expensive to you. If you have a smart phone like an iPhone or Android you may have better luck but due to data charges this can also be a very expensive option. In fact, we recommend you to keep your smart phone on “airplane mode” and only use it to connect to the Internet by WIFI. Japan is famous for new technologies but free WIFI spots are not as common as it can be in other countries. Please ask your hotel front desk where you can access free WIFI.
Note: Even your cell phone provider says your phone will work in Japan please read all the fine print and understand what the actual costs are.

Option 2 - Use your hotel phone…
Nowadays the in-room phones are mostly used for room service, wake up calls and emergencies. For an international phone call this option would work but this will be very expensive and I do not recommend it.

Option 3 - Renting a Cell Phone in Japan...
This is a very convenient alternative, you just pick up the rental phone at the airport when you arrive in Japan and drop it off on the way back home. However please be careful as the rental fee is usually very attractive but the calls can be very expensive and its not ideal for calling overseas. Many rent a phone companies charge over 100 yen per minute for outgoing domestic calls. Here is a list of rental cell phone companies:
http://www.rentafonejapan.com
http://www.myjapanphone.com
http://www.jcrcorp.com
http://www.narita-airport.jp/en/guide/service/list/svc_19.html
(These are just listed for your convenience and not a recommendation of service, please research carefully.)

Option 4 - International Phone Cards...
This is one of the best and most reasonable solutions for calling home and is one of the two options that we recommend. You can use International Phone Cards with a very competitive rate to call overseas. Depending on the Phone Cards, they can be used from public phones or rental mobile phones. Phone cards are sold at convenience stores, kiosks, on the Internet and vending machines.
http://www.callingcards.com/index_japan.asp?origsel=Japan
http://www.nobelcom.com
http://www.rebtel.com
(These are just listed for your convenience and not a recommendation of service, please research carefully.)

Option 5 - Use Skype to call...
If you are at a WIFI spot you can use your computer, smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry, Android...), or iPad to make free calls to others while on Skype. You can also use Skype to make cheap calls to land lines around the world. At Japanese Guest Houses and Japan Roads we use Skype to contact each other between the US and Japan. It works great and if the person you are calling has Skype then it is all free. Once you are away from the WIFI area make sure that you put your smart phone or other device on airplane mode.
http://www.skype.com

Of course there are other options available but we feel these are the main one. The links listed above are not endorcements for any company and are only for your convience. Please check all details and make sure you understand what the service offers and the related costs.


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