I have been reading that in Japan, the standard electrical outlet only has 2 prongs. In the USA, we have some 3 prong devices. I see many places reference getting a travel adapter which convert 3 prong devices to a 2 prong. Can a simple grounding adapter like this on work in Japan? Assuming the voltage level is correct.



In Japan, on the outlets near the area where one would plug in a refrigerator or washing machine, there is a flap at the bottom which if you lift up reveals a screw that sandwiches two copper plates (that are then linked to ground.) So you just loosen the screw and wedge the tongue plate in and screw it back down.

You just need to add this cord to your cheater plug to be able to do the above dance: enter image description here

But in general, grounding systems don't work in Japan anyway. The land mass of the islands is too small to sufficiently take up the misdirected electricity.

  • Cute. Not an original joke, but cute. – Zach Lipton Jun 8 '17 at 4:28
  • You do see some three pronged outlets, particularly in more modern installations. – Calchas Jun 8 '17 at 17:15
  • If you make such jokes on serious site, you should wrap them so to prevent people in actually believing that. For someone without decent school physics background this could be believable. – Rg7x gW6a cQ3g Jun 9 '17 at 13:39

It's unclear if that adapter has polarized prongs (one bigger than the other). If it doesn't, it will work. If not, you'll have to find one that is not polarized (i.e. both flat pins are the same).

Also keep in mind that the electronics you plug in will need to have a converter built in. Ones that do will say something like ~100-120v, ~50-60Hz.


When I went to Japan in March we came up with a great solution to the problem that is the voltage is the same, but the plugs don't have a grounding pin (so laptop AC adapters wouldn't work). I went down to the dollar store and bought a cheapo power bar, took a pair of pliers and ripped the ground pin off the power bar, and pronto, had a very cheap multiple device adapter for all my grounded stuff.

  • 1
    sounds potentially dangerous, but interesting. I know one good thing to do is to take a power bar without a plug and then buy a local plug from a DIY shop and attach that. – the other one Jun 9 '17 at 10:38

YES. That will work to allow you to use a Type B plug in a Type A outlet, just as it would in the US and Canada.

The electrical system in Japan is essentially similar to North America with a minor difference in voltage that shouldn't affect most things you'd travel with.

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