Tokyo stock prices rose strongly yesterday, ending three straight losing sessions. The benchmark Nikkei average of 225 selected issues, which fell 388.49 points Wednesday, bounced back 583.29 points to 23,400.28 points.

The dollar closed lower on European currency exchanges that were dominated by news that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had resigned. At the close in London, the pound stood at $1.970 dollars, up from Wednesday's close of $1.968. Dealers said the pound was strengthened by the feeling that whoever succeeds Thatcher will unify the business-oriented Conservative Party in time to win the next general election.

Gold prices were higher in European trading, closing in London at $380 a troy ounce, up from $378.25.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, pinched by a 10 percent drop in visitors this year, hopes to save at least $1 million by offering early retirement to 360 employees, about 8.6 percent of its staff. Eligible employees include landscapers, tour guides and managers. The restored colonial town and museum has about 4,200 employees.

Longshoremen in the Hampton Roads area voted 876 to 127 to ratify a new contract that includes annual $1-an-hour wage increases that will bring base pay to $22 an hour by 1994. One local union official described it as the most lucrative contract ever negotiated on the waterfront.

National Semiconductor confirmed it has signed a letter of intent to sell an advanced semiconductor manufacturing plant in Puyallup, Wash., to Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. of Japan for $86 million in cash.

Avon has come calling in China with a Chinese-style sales approach for its beauty supplies. Instead of knocking on doors as in America, Avon salespeople will use the Chinese custom of working through personal contacts.