A very similar bambu case clock decorated with comparable motifs, but with Roman chapters, is illustrated in Derek Roberts Carriage and Other Travelling Clocks, Schiffer Publishing 1993,p.205, fig.12-16.
The forcible opening of Japan to European trade in the mid 19th Century created a valuable new export market for clockmakers. Previously Japan had its own timekeeping systems and a domestic clock industry to cater for them: however, on 1 January 1873 these were made obsolete when the European time and calendar were made compulsory.
It is most likely that the present clock, with its Japanese characters, was indeed made for the export market. However, as trade with Japan developed japonaiserie, whether in bamboo furniture or operas such as The Mikado (1885), became very fashionable in Europe and a strong influence on European decorative arts. Many such clocks could therefore as easily have been sold in Europe as Japan.