Jan 23 2012

Travelling in Japan – Part One – Money


WILT has spent the last couple of weeks on sabbatical in Japan.

There are many circumstances when you need cash in Japan, especially outside Tokyo. Most places do not use Eftpos, and many do not take credit cards. This is surprising in such a technological country, and it is doubly surprising tha getting cash while in Japan can be surprisingly hard.

Before you go, the Australian Post Office tends to have the best rates for ¥.  You need to give them a few days notice.

When using our credit card in Japan, most cards seem to have a 3% surcharge plus $8 or so fee when you use them.

Let your credit card company know the dates you will be away before you go, and it is best to have a PIN number for your card, as some places expect a PIN rather than signing.

Many ATMs do not accept International Cards. Some will accept Credit Cards for cash advance, but not debit cards. It can be a bit hit and miss. The Cirrus and Maestro logos on the machine make it more likely they will work, but are still not a guarantee.


The ATM in the arrivals hall at Narita (to the R of the customs exit) accepts international cards and is a good first call.

Sometimes you can have luck with ATMs in a Seven11 store. Post offices will often have an international ATM. Citibank machines tend to work well, as do other international banks. 


Citibank Office near East Exit Shinjuku Station.

It is daunting at first entering the lage amount of zeros when withdrawing money from an ATM.

As a rule of thumb, it can help to remember that a Yen is about a cent.

  • A 100 Yen coin is about a dollar (in fact, 80c)
  • A 1000 Yen note is about $10 (in fact, $8)
  • A 10000 Yen note is about $100 (in fact, $80)
What are your top tips about money in Japan?
Tomorrow – transfers.

What I Learnt On 23rd January in other years

One Response to “Travelling in Japan – Part One – Money”

  1. bourkefamily says:

    For the great unwashed amongst WILT’s readership, a more readily understandable currency lesson involves application of the beer unit. 1 standard beer unit (1 schooner, naturally) presently sets you back 600 Yen. In some of the finer establishments, i.e. those places not frequented by WILT’s readership, you will need to part with 900 or even 1000 Yen for a frosty glass of mood enhancer. But when you can get beer over the counter at Shibuya’s Burger King, why waste your hard-earned at the toffy end of town?5000 yen is enough for 8 foaming tankards of Asahi, which will make you better looking, uproariously funny and more attractive to women. You will also have 2 x 100 Yen coins left over, enough for 20 minutes in the massage chair or a small tub of Norgen Vaaz ice cream. Now what could possibly go wrong with that start to an evening?

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