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Cash & ATMs in Japan: Fees, limits, exchange & more for travel

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cash currency exchange atms in japan

Japan is a place that has it all – from ancient temples to the latest technology to stunning natural landscapes. It’s a country that beautifully combines tradition with modernity. Japan offers a wide range of experiences, from the vibrant streets of Tokyo and the ancient temples of Kyoto to the snowy mountains of Hokkaido and the peaceful gardens of Kanazawa. Getting around this awesome country with ease means knowing the ins and outs of the local cash, ATMs in Japan, and the different ways you can pay for things. This guide has got you covered when it comes to all the financial insights you need to explore Japan’s rich history, vibrant culture, and cutting-edge innovation.

Do I need to have cash on hand in Japan or can I get by, by just using my card?

Japan is a country that embraces both cash and card payments, even though it is known for its technological advancements. Around 40-50% of transactions are still done in cash, but the use of credit and debit cards is on the rise, especially in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

Bring some cash with you for…

Small local eateries and bars, especially in less touristy areas. They usually only accept cash.
Public transport in certain areas, especially buses and trams, might not have fully integrated card systems yet.
Good old-fashioned markets and street vendors, where cash is still the preferred method of payment.
When visiting temples and shrines, either as an entry fee or to take part in rituals.

In Japan, tipping is not a thing. However, on rare occasions, you may choose to show your appreciation for exceptional service by giving a small cash gift in an envelope.

You can use your card at…

Popular hotels
Department stores
Chain restaurants
Convenience stores and supermarkets
For shinkansen (bullet trains) and major urban transit systems
Museums, especially in big cities and popular tourist areas

What kind of currencies does Japan accept? Can you use US Dollars, Euros, or Pounds in Japan?

In Japan, the local currency is the Japanese Yen (JPY). They have notes in denominations of ¥1000, ¥2000, ¥5000, and ¥10000. Yen is also the main accepted currency.

When it comes to using foreign currencies, it’s not usually possible for establishments to accept currencies like US Dollars, Euros, or Pounds.

How to get the local currency in Japan?

You’ve got three main options for getting your hands on some cash – ATMs, currency exchange, or money transfer.

Since the Yen is a popular currency worldwide, you have the option of getting the Yen before your trip from home or waiting until you arrive in Japan.

Looking for ATMs in Japan… where to find them?

Japan has over 60,000 ATMs. These are run by Japan Post and over 25 commercial and specialised banks, including a few foreign banks as well. In cities, you’ll find plenty of ATMs, and even in smaller towns, there are usually a few options available to get cash in Japan.

ATMs are pretty common at:

Big airports
Market and town squares
Popular streets in any big city
Shopping malls and food lanes
Branches of the bank
Convenience stores
A few office buildings
Little airports

Here are some spots where finding ATMs might be a bit challenging:

Islands and regional bus stops
Village interiors
In small towns, away from the main streets
Places of worship
Secluded resorts and retreats

Currency exchanges in Japan

You can use these places to exchange cash in Japan:

Authorised currency exchange centres: You will find them in all touristy destinations in Tokyo and Osaka branded as currency exchanges.
Banks: Bank branches can also easily convert your currency to Yen, especially from currencies like US dollars, Euros, Pounds, Thai Baht, and Singapore dollars. Expect a pay a commission of 0.5% to 2% per transaction.
Hotels and airports: Airports have lots of currency exchanges and so do many large and small hotels. But the exchange rates are not great.

Pro-tip:

Don’t exchange at airports – Rates are poor
Don’t exchange at the black market – You’re likely to be scammed
Bring new notes – Damaged, dirty notes will get you lesser rates or higher fees

Which types of cards are accepted in Japan?

Most ATMs in Japan accept a wide range of cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Plus, JCB, UnionPay, Amex, Discover, and Diners.

For swiping, most types of cards are accepted.

Most currency exchanges prefer to deal with physical cash when exchanging currencies. You can use Visa at a lot of places, and then Mastercard comes next. Just a heads up, there are some fees you’ll need to keep in mind if you decide to use your card at a currency exchange.

Are ATMs in Japan similar to other countries?

Japanese ATMs look a bit complicated as it has a lot of signs and words in Japanese. They are also shaped a tiny bit differently than the ones you’re probably used to seeing in the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and India. However, they do have an English language option. Also, some ATMs can keep your card inside while you’re doing your transaction. So, make sure you don’t forget to grab it back after you’ve withdrawn your cash.

ATMs also give you the option to choose currency conversion, either by accepting or declining it. It’s usually a good idea to choose ‘Without Conversion’ or ‘Decline Conversion’ to avoid any additional fees.

Most popular ATMs in Japan

Mizuho Bank
Resona Bank
Seven Bank
Japan Post
Aeon Bank
Rakuten Bank
Lawson Bank
SMBC
MUFG
E-net

There are plenty of other banks with ATMs that happily accept international debit and credit cards.

What do they call ATMs in Japan?

ATMs are known as Ginkou-no-ATM or the word ‘ATM’ is used. You will also see the name of the bank as signage on top of the ATM.

ATM PINs in Japan

ATM PIN Length: Typically 4-digit PINs.

Merchants accept both magnetic stripe and chip cards, but we highly recommend using chip cards as they offer better security.

Language options at ATMs and Currency Exchanges in Japan

By default, ATMs in Japan offer two language options: Japanese and English. If you’re not familiar with these languages, just whip out your phone and use Google Translate’s camera feature to instantly translate the options! Just a heads up – these translations might not always be spot-on, so no need to hurry. Take your time with the transaction.

When you visit currency exchange places, you’ll have no problem communicating in both languages to get your money in Japan.

What are the withdrawal limits and ATM fees in Japan?

ATMs usually have a withdrawal limit per transaction ranging from ¥30,000 to ¥100,000. However, there is one bank that allows withdrawals of up to ¥500,000 per transaction.

ATM Fees – In Japan, ATM fees can vary from ¥ 0 to ¥ 220. That means certain ATM brands don’t charge any fees at all!

Discover free ATMs, currency exchanges, and money transfers in Japan using ATM Fee Saver

Check out the ATM Fee Saver mobile and web app to easily locate ATMs in Japan that don’t charge any fees. You can also take advantage of currency exchange and money transfer services. It gives you all the information you need about the fees for international cardholders at these ATMs and the maximum amount you can withdraw. Just use the app’s calculator to easily calculate the fees for your withdrawals in Japan. Once you’ve chosen an ATM, the app will effortlessly direct you to it with its handy navigation feature. It includes details for 50 different countries, and Japan is one of them.

Tips to avoid high fees when using currency exchanges and ATMs in Japan

When it comes to ATMs:
Find ATMs that don’t charge any fees while you’re in the country.
Check out the ATM Fee Saver app to easily locate ATMs that don’t charge fees or have low fees.
Choose Decline Conversion or Without Conversion when using an ATM.
Get fee-free cards from your home country.

For currency exchanges:
Steer clear of those no-fee exchange offices when getting money in Japan. You see when they claim there’s no fee, it usually means they’ve already factored it into the exchange rate. You know, currency exchanges never really offer anything for free.
It’s best to steer clear of using credit and debit cards for currency exchange transactions.

Are currency exchanges and ATMs in Japan safe?

Yes usually. There are plenty of ATMs around that have cameras and security guards. Crime rates near ATMs are pretty low.

Try using ATMs located at bank branches for your convenience: These tend to be more secure and less vulnerable to skimming devices.
Keep an eye on your card transactions: If you notice any transactions that you didn’t authorise, please report them right away.
Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to enhance your security.
Make sure to keep your card in sight: It’s best to be cautious when giving your card to merchants who handle it out of your sight.
It’s always a good idea to have two credit cards with you when you’re travelling. Having a backup option is great because if one card has a problem, you’re covered.

Make sure to only use authorised and registered exchange places for currency exchanges.

Fine to carry cash while travelling in Japan?

Yes, usually. Follow some tips on how to keep your cash safe while travelling in Japan:

Divide your money among multiple pockets or wallets rather than keeping it all in one spot.
Carry cash either in a safety belt or a fanny pack.
It’s probably best to avoid flaunting large amounts of money in public.
Be cautious when you’re paying and do not show off all your cash.
Keep your wallet in your front pockets for added safety.
Make sure to keep your purses, wallets, and bags secure and close to your body when you’re in crowded areas like streets, trains, and buses.

Häufig gestellte Fragen

Is it possible to withdraw cash in Japan without any fees?

Sure, there are ATMs in Japan that won’t charge you any fees for withdrawals.

Can I use credit cards from the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and other countries in Japan?

Definitely. Cards from the US, UK, Europe, Australia, and other countries can typically be used at ATMs in Japan.

Any Bitcoin ATMs in Japan?

Japan has a good number of Bitcoin ATMs, especially in big cities like Tokyo.

Are there any Bank of America ATMs in Japan?

Bank of America ATMs are not available in Japan.

Are there any Barclays Bank ATMs in Japan?

There aren’t any Barclays ATMs in Japan.

Are there any HSBC ATMs in Japan?

You can find HSBC ATMs in Japan.

Are there any Standard Chartered ATMs in Japan?

There’s one Standard Chartered ATM in Japan.

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