Which travel adapter do I need to bring to use a curling iron in Japan?

Japanese power outlet

Summary

Check that your curling iron can work in Japan:

  • If your curling iron can run using 100 volts or can support dual voltage (how to tell) then you'll only need to use a suitable power adapter listed on this page if the plug on your curling iron will not fit.

If not then:

  • Use a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] - you might still need the correct power adapter for Japan but these cheap lightweight accessories are designed specifically for travel.
  • Use a power converter (or voltage transformer) - this enables you to use your existing curling iron and other applicances with a 100 volt Japanese power outlet, however this is noticeably heavier, bulkier and more expensive than a dedicated travel curling iron. A power converter changes the voltage but not the physical shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit in the types of power outlet used in Japan, so check that your voltage transformer comes with a suitable power adapter for Japan otherwise you will need to purchase another power adapter. Be aware that your existing curling iron might not be suitable for travel and you could risk damage in your suitcase. [7]
Warning: If your curling iron won't handle 100 volts used in Japan you run a risk of an electrical fire hazard, a blown fuse or damage to your curling iron. Before using your curling iron in Japan check the instruction manual first to ensure safe operation.

Using a curling iron in Japan

Will my curling iron work in Japan?

This depends on if your curling iron can handle the 100 volts which are used in Japan:

Can I use my US curling iron in Japan?

The instructions on this page assume that you are an America reader visiting Japan and provide guidance for using your American curling iron with a Japanese power outlet.

Japan

Japan power outlets and plug sockets

What is the electrical frequency used in Japan?

The frequency of the current from a Japanese power outlet is 60Hz. [8]

What mains voltage is used in Japan?

The standard voltage in Japan is 100 volts.

Which power adapter do you need to bring to use a curling iron in Japan?

Type A and B power outlets

Which power adapter do you need to bring to use a curling iron in Japan?

There are two different types of power outlets used in Japan, types B and A with the primary power outlets being type B:

  • Plug Type A - This ungrounded power socket, also known as a type A power outlet, can be recognised by 2 slots adjacent to each other.
  • Plug Type B - This power socket, also known as a type B power outlet, can be recognised by 2 slots adjacent to each other where the live and neutral blades slide into with a hole below for the slightly long grounded pin.

A recommended plug adapter to bring when using a 100 volt curling iron in Japan is a Type B power adapter, read the step by step instructions below for full details of how to use a curling iron in Japan. Please be aware that unless you that have a dual voltage curling iron you might also need to use a voltage converter.  [4] [9]

Dual voltage curling irons

Is my curling iron dual voltage?

One method to tell if your curling iron can accept dual voltage is to look for either a sticker or numbers printed on the handle or the plug of your curling iron. The location might vary depending on the make or model of your curling iron, it could also be written on the box. Some dual voltage models will change automatically, however other irons will feature a button which allows you to operate between different regions depending on which country you are in.

  • Single voltage could say a specific number - such as 110V. If this number matches the 100 volts used in Japan then you should be able to use your curling iron with a Japanese power outlet.
  • Single voltage might also have a small voltage range with a dash to accomodate small voltage fluctuations - such as 100-120V. If the 100 volts used in a Japanese power outlet falls within the range shown on your curling iron then you should be able to use it in Japan.
  • Dual voltage will typically say a large range separated with a slash - such as 100/240V. Your curling iron will be capable of being used in Japan or any other country if these numbers are shown.

Travelling to Japan with a curling iron

Can you carry on a curling iron to Japan?

According to the TSA guidelines for curling irons there is no restriction on carrying a mains powered curling iron in your hand luggage through airport security in the United States. The TSA suggests that you should verify that your airline who is taking you to Japan will allow a curling iron onboard and that it will fit in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the aircraft. Packing your curling irons in a dedicated heat resistant protective hot tools travel case leaves it easily accessible for airport security checks, it can be packed away quickly and should avoid a tangle of wires in your carry on luggage (the TSA suggests wrapping cables tightly around electronic items). If you intend to bring fragile or expensive curling irons in your hand held luggage then it is recommended to use hard carry on luggage as this provides the most protection against knocks and drops during your journey.   [10] [11] [12]

Should I bring my domestic curling iron or dual voltage curling iron to Japan?

It is preferable to bring a dual voltage curling iron as opposed to bringing your existing domestic curling iron to Japan as it is safer to assume that it will work with the 100 volt power outlets used with a Japanese power outlet, provided that you use the correct plug adapter for Japan.

It is also worth bearing in mind that bringing your expensive domestic curling iron might place it at risk due to potential loss or damage in your check in luggage by an airline baggage handler in Japan. The inconvenience and costs involved in replacing an expensive specialised domestic curling iron in Japan could outweigh the costs of purchasing a cheap dual voltage travel curling iron [2] before setting off. If you intend to bring along your own personal curling iron in your luggage either slot it inside a boot or sneaker to protect from light damage, alternatively use a heat resistant and shockproof hot tools travel case which will also allow the curling iron to be packed whilst hot without risk of burning.  [11]

Power converters for Japan

Do I need a voltage converter for Japan to use a curling iron?

The correct type power converter (or voltage transformer) will allow your curling iron using a different voltage to work using a 100 volt power outlet used in Japan. Travellers who wish to use their own curling iron can use a power converter, but it can be more costly to purchase a power converter than it is to buy a dedicated dual voltage travel curling iron [2]. A power converter is also noticeably heavier than a travel curling iron making a power converter less suitable for packing compared to a travel curling iron. [7]

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for Japan?

Voltage converter

What is the difference between a plug adapter and a power converter for Japan?

A small, cheap and lightweight power adapter (or plug adapter) changes the shape of the plug on your curling iron to fit into a power outlet found in Japan, whereas a more expensive and heavier power converter converts a 100 volt Japanese power outlet to work with a non-100 volt curling iron. [7]

How to use a curling iron in Japan using a type B power adapter

A guide showing how to use a curling iron in Japan with a 3 pronged Type B travel charger.

  1. Please ensure that your curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or is compatible with a 100 volt power outlet but if it doesn't then don't continue because you might create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Dual voltage curling irons sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating the iron ensure you have set it to the 100 volt setting; please refer to the user guide to find out where this switch is.
  2. You'll need to buy a Type B plug adapter [4] if the type of power outlet used in Japan isn't the same shape as the plug shape of your curling iron. This plug adapter is designed to convert different plugs from other countries for an electrical outlet used in Japan by changing the shape of the plug, but the adapter doesn't change the frequency or voltage of your curling iron to work with a 100 volt supply.
  3. Begin the process by plugging the Type B plug adapter into the Japanese power outlet. This power outlet, sometimes known as a Type B power outlet [3], can be recognised by two slots adjacent to each other for live and neutral blades with a hole below for the slightly long ground pin.
  4. Plug in the curling iron into the Type B plug adapter.
  5. Switch on the Japanese power outlet.
  6. The curling iron can now be turned on.
How to use a curling iron in Japan using a type B power adapter

How to use a curling iron in Japan using a type A power adapter

A page showing how to use your curling iron in Japan with a Type A travel charger.

  1. Make sure that your curling iron is either a dual voltage travel curling iron [2] or is compatible with a 100 volt power outlet but if it doesn't then don't continue because you might create an electrical fire hazard, damage your iron or blow a fuse. Dual voltage curling irons sometimes have a switch to toggle between voltages, before operating the iron ensure you have set it to the 100 volt setting; please refer to the user guide to find out where this switch is.
  2. These instructions assume that you don't already own a curling iron with a Type A plug - if it does then you won't need a power adapter (but still check that your curling iron will work with a 100 volt power outlet). So, if the plug on your curling iron isn't the same shape as the outlet which is used in Japan you will need to use a Type A plug adapter [6]. This Type A plug adapter will adapt plugs on appliances from other countries for use in a power outlet in Japan simply by changing the shape of the plug, however it doesn't change the voltage of the curling iron to work with a 100 volt outlet.
  3. First you'll need to plug the Type A plug adapter in the power outlet. You can identify this plug supply by the 2 thin slots for live and neutral blades.
  4. Plug in your curling iron into the Type A plug adapter.
  5. Turn on the Japanese power outlet.
  6. The curling iron can now be turned on.
How to use a curling iron in Japan using a type A power adapter

See also

  1. Japan - Japan National Tourism Organization Web Site
  2. Amazon - dual voltage travel curling iron
  3. iec.ch - Type B power outlet
  4. Type B plug adapter - US and Japanese 3 pinned Type B plug adapters have a single unearthed round pin along with 2 shorter parallel rectangular flat blades containing holes in each blade, between $5 to $10.
  5. iec.ch - Type A power outlet
  6. Type A plug adapter - There are 2 parallel rectangular flat blades on an unearthed Type A plug adapter with small holes in each blade, priced under $15.
  7. Power converter - A step up step down power converter converts 110-120 volts up to 220-240 volts and 220-240 volts down to 110-120 Volts, priced at between $90 to $100.
  8. Wikipedia - WikiPedia - Mains electricity by country -
  9. iec.ch - IEC World Plugs by location -
  10. tsa.gov - TSA guidelines for curling irons -
  11. Hard case for hot tools - Hard case designed for storing and protecting a flat irons, curling irons and hair straighteners, estimated price between $10 to $15.
  12. Hard carry on luggage - Example of hard cases, suitcases and luggage suitable for airline carry on, under $50.