Electricity in Japan 電気
Plugs, voltages, adapters: Everything you need to know about using electricity in Japan for your trip.
Electricity supply in Japan is 100 volts, unlike the United States (110-120V) or Europe and much of the rest of the world (220-240V).
The electric current in eastern Japan (from Yokohama and Tokyo up towards Hokkaido) is 50 Hertz, and in western Japan (Nagoya, Osaka, down towards Kyushu and Okinawa) is 60 Hertz.
Electric Plugs in Japan
The Japanese plug and socket are Type A: parallel flat two-pin (JIS C 8303, Class II), almost identical to the United States' standard plug and socket (NEMA 115 ).
However, whereas the two pins of many US plugs are of differing width, the Japanese plug and socket is unpolarized, meaning the slots in the sockets are the same size. A Japanese plug can therefore be freely inserted into a socket without worrying which pin is which.
Many appliances, especially those designed for travellers, are compatible with a wide range of voltages, from 100 to 240; so there should be no problem using such appliances in Japan as is. Most laptop computers are automatically multi voltage. Desktops may or may not have a manual multi voltage switch. Check with the manufacturer beforehand. Even if switchable, check if you need an adapter for the plug.
The difference in voltage between Japan and North America is only about 10 volts, so North American products should be usable in Japan as is. However, appliances made for North America that produce heat, such as heaters, irons, hairdryers, etc. will not get as hot in Japan as they do in North America.
However, if your appliance has a three-prong plug, you will need an adapter for the plug to connect to the socket. Adapters are available to purchase in Japan at international airports such as Narita, in Yamada Denki and Bic Camera stores, on the stalls of Akihabara, or in 100 yen shops, for an affordable price (300-500 yen). Also remember to ask at the reception of your hotel, many have them available for their guests. For travelers we do suggest bringing a multi-socket adapter from your country and one international adapter will be sufficient to charge all your devices.
The use in Japan of a device designed solely for 240V should be avoided, unless you use a step-up transformer.
Purchasing Electronic Equipment in Japan
To buy electric or electronic equipment in Japan: to ensure that the transformer indicates an "INPUT" voltage consistent with that used in your country (220 volts). If this is not the case you need to buy a voltage transformer.