Getting Connected to Landlines in Japan

Find out how to get your new home connected to the landline telephone service in Japan...

The main telephone company in Japan is NTT, a former state monopoly.

In order to set up a landline in Japan, a telephone subscription right needs to be bought or rented. This is frequently referred to as "buying a telephone line" by foreigners. A one-off subscription fee must be paid to get connected, and this is relatively expensive.

Landline services are provided by NTT East or NTT West, depending on which part of the country the line is to be connected in. A subscription right can be bought from them. Regular monthly telephone fees are less if the line is owned rather than rented. Second-hand subscription rights can be bought from dealers or from users who no longer need them. When buying a subscription right second hand, it is vital to ensure that the name on it is transferred. An ownership transfer form should be completed and signed and sent to NTT with copies of identification (a resident card/alien registration card) from both the buyer and the seller. It is advisable for the buyer to ensure that the form reaches NTT.

  • For more information on changing the name on a subscription right from NTT East: Click here
  • For more information on changing the name on a subscription right from NTT West: Click here

Note: the resident card replaced the alien registration card in July 2012 as part of the new residency management system, although the alien registration card remains valid until July 2015.

Getting connected

Applications for a new telephone service from NTT can be made by visiting an NTT East or NTT West service counter. Applications can also be made by telephone.

  • NTT East
    : 0120 364 463
  • NTT West
    : 0120 064 337

A resident card/alien registration card is needed to make an application. The cost of installing a new line depends on the amount of work that needs to be done.

NTT offer a wide range of calling plans and Internet packages, including Internet telephone services, to suit the needs of different customers.

Once a telephone line is set up, customers can choose a different provider for local, long distance and international calls, although in practice it may work out cheaper to select one provider for all calls. A guide to the different providers for these calls can be found on the MYLINE website.

Paying bills

Bills can be paid by direct debit, at a customer service centre or in cash at a convenience store or bank.

Other landline providers

Domestic telephones, as well as dial-up and broadband Internet services, are also provided in Japan by Softbank Telecom and KDDI. They offer a range of packages and call rates; it is often cheaper to get a combined telephone and Internet package. Services can be arranged by visiting one of their shops.

It is also possible to get a landline subscription through the local cable television supplier or through an Internet service provider, and call rates can be very competitive through these providers.