This is but a single section of a multi-part guide to travelling across the world! It’ll inform you of everything from the currency that is used in the country, the currency symbol to the card usage and advice on what ATM’s that you should be using. I will also try to incorporate any popular specific mechants. All information should have an accuracy date that covers the section.
This guide assumes that you are using one of the Neobanks that give you a mid-market rate when it comes to money exchanges, and that they don’t charge you massive amounts foreign-ATM withdrawals. (Starling et al)
Obviously, using the information you find in this guide is at your own risk and I shall accept no liability.
- Japan uses the Japanese Yen (Japanese: 円)
- ISO 4217 Currency Code: JPY
- Symbol: ¥
- Prices can be written as ¥100 or as 100円
Japan is quite behind the times when it comes to card, unfortunately. Make sure your swipe is enabled and ensure you carry around a good sum of cash for any purchases. It’s also recommended to carry a visa and a mastercard as some shops give discounts for using particular card networks, although you should carry both regardless in case of network outages!
Card acceptance should also be improving as the Olypmics will be hosted in 2020 in Tokyo. Although this means that there may be improvement they are mainly cash based, as I mentioned, carry a good sum of cash.
When purchasing from merchants using card in Japan, the authorisation is commonly in American Dollars (USD), although the merchant will claim the money as JPY in the end, the USD authroisation will not be claimed and will be released to your account.
Although NFC payments are actually more common in Japan than EMV (Chip & Pin/Chip & Signature), your Mastercard/Visa isn’t likely to work in this way as Japan uses their own contactless system!
Just as a preface to this section, ATMs in Japan typically have operating hours and these have the potential to really ruin your day if you don’t take cash out during these hours. These will vary by the establishment but as a general rule they should be open during late morning to afternoon, although public holidays may change this.
There will be (Free) in brackets if there is no charge for the ATM usage, and there will be prices in brackets if there are known prices. If I am unsure there will be no prices in brackets. If there are any notes about specific bank ATMs, I will also put them within these brackets, separated by a comma.
- Seven Bank (Japanese: 株式会社セブン銀行) (Free, Seven Bank has suspended ATM service before for MasterCard/Maestro so it is highly recommended to carry a Visa on your trip to Japan, accepts Maestro)
- JP Post (Japanese: 日本郵政公社) (105円-210円, accepts Maestro, American Express)
- Lawson (Japanese: 株式会社ローソン)
- AEON Bank (Japanese: イオン銀行) (Free, accepts Maestro)
- E-net (Japanese: イーネット) (accepts Maestro, 24hr operation time)
- Mizuho Bank (Japanese: 株式会社みずほ銀行) (accepts Maestro)
- McDonalds accepts card, Visa/Mastercard will work, however I’m unsure about Maestro. They accept contactless, I’m unsure about chip and pin.
- 7-Eleven should also accept your Mastercard fine, I’m unsure about Visa and Maestro. They use swipe.
- AmiAmi accepts card, not sure whether Visa or Maestro is accepted. They use chip and pin.
- MiniStop accepts card, not sure whether Visa or Maestro is accepted. They use Swipe and Signature.
- Mandarake accepts card, not sure whether Visa or Maestro is accepted. They use chip and pin.
- Lawson accepts MasterCard, I’m unsure about Visa/Maestro. They use chip.
- Odakyu Rail accepts Mastercard, I’m unsure about Visa/Maestro. They use Swipe and Signature.
- Prices in convience stores (コンビニ) will unfortunately normally not include consumption tax. If you want the proper amount look for the largest amount, often in a smaller font.
- It’s probably a good idea to get an IC card while you’re in Japan, if you want to do most of your spending by card, as the acceptance is much higher and you won’t have to carry as much cash around.
Disclaimer: The information in this guide was acquired from numerous sources and is often not of my own experiences
Date of Accuracy: 18/11/2018