Virtual phone number countries

Virtual phone number in Japan

Have your own phone number in Japan for a few dollars per month. Incoming calls can be forwarded anywhere worldwide at the cost of a local call.

In this article we will explain how it works and how you can get a virtual phone number in Japan now.


A virtual number is a real phone number

A virtual phone number is actually a normal, real phone number. The only difference is that a virtual number isn’t connected to any physical phone line or to any SIM-card.

You can make and answer calls with free apps for Android and iOS or your laptop.

People calling your Japanese virtual phone number will have the same experience as if calling a regular local number.

When you make calls from your number – people you call will see your number before answering.

You can get your phone number in Japan here.



Different types of numbers

In Japan, there are two types of numbers that you can purchase as virtual phone numbers.

  • National numbers
    These numbers are not related to any city and are mainly used by businesses. National numbers start with 50
  • Toll-free numbers
    These numbers are free for the caller to call – as long as they are calling from within Japan. Toll-free numbers start with 800 or  120. The owner of the phone number pays an extra per-minute fee for all calls received.


Who can buy a Japanese phone number?

Anyone in the world can buy a national phone number in Japan. You do not need to be a citizen of Japan or live there to buy one.

Any registered business – anywhere in the world – can buy a toll-free Japanese phone number.

We are required by our providers to know who our subscribers are. Due to this, you are required to submit your address and an ID number.  In some cases, you may be asked to provide proof of address and ID.



What does it cost?

The cost of having a virtual Japanese phone number is based on the following components.

  • Monthly cost
    From $5.99
  • Calls and call forwarding
    Costs as a local call
  • Optional add-on services
    Voice response and call recording require that you have a paid plan (starts at $9.95 per user and month). This includes free calls, call forwarding, and free phone numbers.



Answer calls

The easiest way to answer incoming calls to your Japanese phone number is to forward all calls to your regular mobile phone number or a landline number.

When you receive a forwarded call, you can see the number of the caller – or the virtual number they called – depending on your settings.

Call forwarding worldwide costs like a regular local call.

There are many other options available for call forwarding, such as answering calls with voice response, sending calls to team members, etc.



Make calls

You can make calls from your Japanese number by using our free Android, iOS, or web app. You can import your regular mobile contacts into the app and call anyone you know with a click.

The person you call can see your number. You can choose if you want to show one of your Sonetel numbers or your regular mobile number.

You will be charged local call rates for the calls you make.





SMS is not supported on the Japanese virtual numbers.



Voice response

If you want to add voice response to your phone number (“For sales, press one…”.) you need to have a paid plan. This gives you access to the “Voice apps”.

You can easily create menus for callers, announcements, or voicemail boxes.

Text-to-speech can be used to create the messages to be played to callers. Simply type in the message you want to be converted into an audio message. You can also upload audio files or record new messages with your phone.



Call recording

Call recording is available if you have a paid plan.

Only use call recording if you can do it without breaking any laws in the country of the phone number, or in the countries where you – and the person you are talking to – is in.




Subscription options

Here are the different subscriptions available.

  • Free with Plans
    Premium and Business are optional “all-inclusive” plans that are charged per user and month. They include free phone numbers for every user in your team.
  • Pay for it
    You can subscribe with monthly renewal, or 1-year or 3-years. The longer the subscription – the lower the monthly cost. You pay in advance for the entire subscription period. You can turn off auto-renewal whenever you want.



Are there any limitations?

Yes, there are different limitations, depending on what type of subscription you have.



Difference between toll-free and Local VoIP numbers in Japan

When considering a Japanese phone number, options available are generally of two types: toll-free and local VoIP numbers. There are key differences between these two types of Japan telephone numbers that one should understand before making a selection.


Toll-free Japan Numbers

A toll-free Japan number is a distinct choice for businesses that wish to offer clients cost-free calling. In Japan, these numbers usually start with the digits 800 or 120.

However, it’s crucial to note that the owner of the toll-free number pays an additional per-minute fee for all received calls. This type of number is particularly suitable for large-scale or customer-focused businesses; it signifies customer service dedication by enabling a smooth communication avenue.


Local VoIP Numbers in Japan

On the flip side, we have local VoIP or voice-over-internet protocol Japanese phone numbers. Pricing works differently as these numbers incur costs as local calls.

In Japan, VoIP numbers are not linked to a particular city, making them ideal for businesses operating across many regions. However, bear in mind that, unlike toll-free numbers, callers to VoIP lines bear the cost of calls at local rates.


Choosing the Right Option

Deciding between a toll-free and local VoIP number essentially boils down to the specific needs and objectives of your business. If you wish to portray an image of a large-scale, customer-centric business and don’t mind incurring additional charges on incoming calls, a toll-free number might be up your alley.

On the other hand, if your preference is for a number that caters to a broader geographical base without the extra incoming call charges, you should consider a local VoIP Japan virtual phone number as your pick.


Common Misconceptions

One common misconception regarding toll-free and local VoIP numbers is that you need to be a resident of Japan or have a physical office in the country to get these numbers. But this isn’t accurate.

At Sonetel, we ensure that anyone in the world can buy a national phone number in Japan. And yes, any registered business, regardless of its geographical location, can buy a toll-free Japanese phone number.

Understanding the fine line between these two options ensures you are armed with the needed knowledge to make an informed decision. Consequently, this aids in effectively enhancing your business’s global connectivity. We hope this piece has demystified the difference between toll-free and lot local VoIP numbers in Japan.



Photo by Manuel CosentinoJezael Melgoza and Unsplash