In Japan, both type A or type B power sockets are used. Type A has two holes, Type B has the same two holes as A with the addition of an extra hole for ground. An A connector works in both A and B, but a B connector only works in a B socket.
Buying Japanese electronics
Before buying and bringing it home, you need to think about a few things. Since Japan’s power supply is at 100V, it is essential to figure out if the product or included power supply matches that of your home country. Plugging in a 100V product in a 230V power grid is a surefire way of destroying the product.
You may try to look at the packaging or ask the staff to find this out. A lot of the time it says 100-230V 50-60 Hz if so, there should be no problem using the product both in Japan and other countries. You may need to get an adapter for the plug to fit the wall outlet, but other than that it should work fine. If it is only 100 V 50 – 60 Hz, it will not work in a network that is 230V, plug it into a 230V wall outlet, the product will most likely be destroyed. In this case, you can buy a transformer alter the voltage from 100 to 230. Transformers can be found in most electronic stores. However, this path is not really recommended, transformers are often quite expensive, big and heavy.
It’s more and more common in Japan that you find an international export department in the electronics stores. Here you find electrical products from Japan that are made for export. So, if you want, you can buy a rice cooker at this department and take home.
Using overseas electronics in Japan Is often no problem
Many electrical products and chargers can handle 100V, but to be sure, check chargers and products what kind of currents and voltages it’s made to handle. Things like a phone charger or power supplies to laptops can most likely handle 100 V. What you’ll need is a travel adapter to make your plug fit in a Japanese wall outlet.
Japan has a complicated power grid
Japan has, for historical reasons, very complicated power grids. This is because when the power grids began spreading in the early days of electricity from Tokyo and Osaka, they used different generators. In Tokyo, AC power generators were purchased from AEG that operated at 50 Hz. When Osaka started building the power grid, systems were purchased from General Electric, running at 60 Hz. At the time, this was no problem because the networks were not connected.
The problem arises when one is trying to connect the two systems. Powerful frequency converters are needed to convert the power from 50 to 60 Hz or vice versa, which can be done to a limited extent. Instead, the country is basically divided into two parts, one with 50Hz and one with a 60Hz power grid.
After the disaster in Fukushima 2011, there was a significant lack of electricity in the east part of the country. The western part remained mostly unphased, electric wise. As far as consumers are concerned, however, this is not something but needs to be considered as regards domestic products, these work throughout the country.