Money, Currency & ATMs in Japan

Most Important Points

Accessing Money in Japan

Japan is a cash society, and while some large department stores, restaurants, and hotels in large urban areas accept credit cards to be used, most expenses must be paid in cash. Therefore, it is important to bring some money with you when you first enter the country (you can exchange it at airport money exchange counters, depending on what time you arrive) and have a plan for getting money while you are traveling. Banks often have booths in airports where you can exchange your local currency for Japanese yen. Your local bank should be able to let you about accessing money in Japan from ATMs. Moreover, do note that traveler’s checks are not widely accepted in Japan, and thus not recommended.

Post Office ATM’s

Post offices ATM’s are a very good way to withdraw money while in Japan because they accept foreign VISA, Plus, MasterCard, Euro Card, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, Diners Card, and JCB cards. There are a few other types of ATMs that can be used to withdraw money from overseas bank accounts. Moreover, post office ATMs provide an English user interface. Please note that these ATM’s are not accessible 24 hours a day – smaller post offices are usually open from 9:00 am till 16:00 (4:00 pm) on weekdays, and larger post offices are often open until 21:00 (9:00 pm) on weekdays and have limited or no weekend hours.

Before departing your country please make sure that your card can be used in Japan and you know its secret 4-digit or 6-digit PIN number. Also, it is a good idea to check what fees and daily or monthly limits are associated with international withdrawals. These details can be ascertained by contacting your bank. Your bank or credit card company may also be able to tell you the locations of international ATMs you can use while in Japan.

Using Cash in Japan

Compared to some countries like the United States, people living in or visiting Japan tend to carry larger amounts of cash, since they often have to pay for transportation, food and beverages, shopping, and even lodging in cash. Bills come in denominations of 10,000, 5,000, 2,000 and 1,000 yen, and coins come in denominations of 500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1 yen.

Even though Japan is considered a very safe place for travelers, it is still a good idea to use a money belt or similar travel pouch. Losing your money, credit cards, or passport while overseas can create a very stressful situation.

Please note that it is not customary to tip in Japan and that an extra fee is sometimes figured into restaurant bills as a substitute.

Money Related Links

Money in Japan from the Japan National Tourist Organization

Exchange Rates Table for converting your currency into Japanese Yen

Japanese Post Office information about Postal ATMs

Why Reserve Your Ryokan with JGH