A few years ago, most incoming JETs were given/bought phone lines through their predecessor. They used to cost a LOT of money. However these days the cost has dropped significantly and there are a lot more options for you to consider. If you’re lucky, your Board of Education might pay for it. If your predecessor doesn’t have one to sell you, and you find that there is no phone line installed in your home, then you may want to get one. There are two types of phone lines in Japan – normal (analog), and ISDN (digital). ISDN lines are more expensive, but may be of interest to you if you are planning on connecting to the Internet at home.
There are four ways to get a landline.
1. Buy new: There is no longer an NTT office in Toyama that you can visit. The best way to find out how to get a new landline is by contacting NTT at 012.036.4463 (English language service). A new line can potentially be expensive, however, in recent years the cost has dropped significantly. Please check to find out the current cost.
2. Buy second-hand: A less expensive way of getting a landline is buying one second-hand. One highly recommended website for second-hand landlines is Com’z. The website is in Japanese, so you may need some help from a Japanese-speaker. This company can sell you a second-hand line for about half the cost of a new line.
3. Rent: You can rent a line from Hello KDD Corporation (012.040.8640). They will rent you a line through a contract with your employer. Installation is 2,000 yen and basic subscription is 840 yen per month plus NTT fees and call charges.
4. Get the Internet package: Check out the Internet Service section for more details, but if you subscribe to Yahoo!BB or most other ISPs, you can rent a landline through the company. You may only be able to use it for internet-based calls, so make sure you’re clear on the details. If you sign up through the website they can sort it all out for you.
Ask your predecessor what they opted to do. It may also be worth noting that if you stay for the full three years renting may turn out to be more expensive than buying (although far less hassle!)