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How to call Japan from the United States: Step-by-step guide

How to call Japan from the United States

The USA makes 34 billion minutes’ worth of international calls every year — many of which are directed toward Japan. 🗾

If you’re trying to reach someone in the Land of the Rising Sun, you’ll be thrilled to know the process takes just four steps. And if you already have a VoIP phone number, things will be even easier and less expensive.

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough of how to call Japan from the United States using a cell number or VoIP. 

Call Japan from the United States in just four steps

As long as you know the right process, it’s possible to dial local numbers in Japan in less than a minute. But calling a mobile or landline number requires a slightly different approach. We’re going to break this down into steps for mobile or landline phones, beginning with landline numbers. 📞

How to call a Japanese mobile number from the United States

From the US, Japanese mobile numbers have a four-part calling code:

  • The exit code
  • The country code
  • The area code
  • The telephone number

Let’s walk through each of these in greater detail. 👇

1. Dial the exit code

Exit codes tell carriers you’re preparing to make an international call. Since you’re calling from the United States, your code will be 011.

You won’t necessarily need to dial this manually. If you’re calling from a mobile phone or a VoIP number, just hit the plus (+) symbol. On OpenPhone, this will instantly add the exit code to your string of numbers.

2. Add Japan’s country code

All countries have a special number used to guide incoming international calls — including those from the US. In Japan, this access code is 081. You can enter this as just 81 on your phone. 

3. Enter the area code

Similar to the US and Canada, Japan is split into different area codes for ease of access. These range from one to five-digit codes, depending on the area in question.

Here’s what this looks like for some of Japan’s largest cities: 

LocationArea Code
Ginowan (Okinawa) 098

Check out tools like to get a more comprehensive list of Japan area codes.

4. Dial the rest of the mobile code

Japan’s mobile numbers are typically 10+ digits long. 📲

Put it all together, and you’ll have a code that looks similar to this:

+081 66 12345-67890

To recap:

  • First dial the exit code or press the plus (+) symbol on cell phones and VoIPs
  • Punch in the country code for international dialing (081)
  • Use the area code provided by your Japanese contact
  • Finally, add the rest of the telephone number

And that’s it! Now you know how to call a Japanese landline number from the US. 🎉

How to call a Japanese landline phone from the US 

Feeling confident about the process for mobile numbers? Fortunately, calling a Japanese landline phone is almost just as easy.

The only difference here is the number length. Landlines in Japan are anywhere between four and eight digits long, while mobile numbers can be 10 or more.

Got it? Good. Let’s dive in!.

1. Start with the exit code

Begin the process by dialing ‘011.’ And remember: just enter plus (+) to instantly add your exit code on mobile phones or OpenPhone.

2. Add your country code

This is ‘081’ if you’re calling Japan.

3. Find the right area code

Use the city code provided by your contact, or hunt for the right prefix via

4. Punch in the landline number

The last leg of the journey is dialing the remaining landline number. In Japan, this is typically seven digits long.

If you’re trying to call someone in Tokyo, your screen might look something like this:

011 (or + for the exit code) 081 (country code) 03 (Tokyo area code) 1234567 (fictional mobile number)

And that’s it! You’re ready to dial.  ☎️

How to factor in the time difference to call Japan from the US 

Placing calls to Japan might be the easiest thing you do all day — but scheduling a call that works on everyone’s schedule definitely won’t be. 🕘

Japan runs under a single time zone, aptly named Japan Standard Time. And while there’s no daylight savings time to worry about, the 13+ hour difference between the US and Japan makes it tricky to book calls while everyone’s awake.

Here’s how the US’s major time zones compare to JST:

  • Eastern Time: Japan is 13 hours ahead of you, so at 12 PM, it will be 1 AM the following day in Japan.
  • Central Time: Japan is 14 hours ahead of you, so at 12 PM, it will be 2 AM the next day in Japan.
  • Mountain Time: Japan is 15 hours ahead of you, so at 12 PM, it will be 3 AM the following day in Japan.
  • Pacific Time: Japan is 16 hours ahead of you, so at 12 PM, it will be 4 AM the next morning in Japan.
  • Alaska Time: Japan is 17 hours ahead of you, so at 12 PM, it will be 5 AM the day after in Japan.
  • Hawaii-Aleutian Time: Japan is 19 hours ahead of you, so at 12 PM, it will be 7 AM the following day in Japan.
Graphic showing time difference between EST and JST when calling Japan from the US

During daylight savings, tools like Time and Date are great to confirm the local time elsewhere on the fly, as well as World Time Server. 🌐

How much does it cost to call Japan from the United States?

The good news: the US doesn’t have standardized fees for long-distance calls to Japan. The bad news: calls can get pricey. 💸

Some sources indicate just a few cents per minute, while others indicate $200+ per hour. Calling cards and prepaid phones mitigate some of this burden but be prepared for the line to drop if your credits run out. Couple that with activation costs and other hidden fees, and you may be spending a lot more than you think.

If you make regular calls to Japan, bills can add up fast. But using a modern VoIP system like OpenPhone can keep your budget (and your business) at the top of its game.

How to reduce your calling costs to Japan

Dialing Japan from the US using the OpenPhone app

At OpenPhone, we’ve built a full-service VoIP that lets you build relationships with your customers more effortlessly.

Starting at just $0.12 per minute, you can call contacts in Japan on a schedule that works for you — no guesswork, no prepaid cards, and no sneaky fees. $15 per user per month gives you access to OpenPhone, including the ability to enable international calls. Just add credits to your account, set up auto-charges, and make as many calls as you want to Japan and beyond. 📱

But great rates aren’t the only reason users have fallen in love with OpenPhone:

  • Enjoy free calling and texting to contacts in Canada and the US; all you need is WiFi
  • Assign local and toll-free numbers to teams in different departments or cities, or share the same number to collaborate from anywhere
  • Port existing phone numbers to OpenPhone for free 👍
  • Get access to business services like call recording, voicemail transcripts, and call routing on the basic plan
  • Establish voicemail greetings and business hours that set expectations while you sleep
  • Use devices you already own, including mobile phones, laptops, and desktop browsers
  • Integrate your number with Slack, HubSpot, Zapier, and other platforms already in your tech stack 

Call Japan from the United States for less with OpenPhone

Whether you call Japan once a month or twice a week, OpenPhone’s transparent calling rates and device compatibility makes it seamless for you to reach anyone else across the globe. Our software was built to simplify international calls for everyone — which is why we rank as G2’s #1 business platform.

Make your first call to Japan today by signing up for a free trial of OpenPhone

Check out our other international calling guides:

How to call Spain from the US

How to call Australia from the US

How to call the Philippines from the US

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