For first-time travellers to Japan, may it be for business or pleasure, there are some things you should keep in mind with regards to currency.
Japan is a cash-based society.
Despite the very modern life in Japan, credit cards and debit cards are not wildly used in local businesses.
It’s a bit surprising to know that despite the very modern life in Japan, credit cards and debit cards are not wildly used in local businesses. Japan is pretty much a cash-based society, unlike in Australia where credit cards are more commonly used.
Before travelling to Japan, here are some things that you should know when it comes to exchanging your AUD to YEN.
Exchange your money in Australia
Even though your Australian dollars can be exchanged at major hotels and banks in Japan, it is best to exchange your currency prior to leaving Australia so you can get a high exchange rate for cash.
XE is a great online currency converter where you can get live exchange rates from AUD to YEN. There are many places you can exchange currency in Australia, from banks to currency exchange outlets. You can also exchange your currencies online from one of the following:
Exchange your money at the Airport
If you prefer to withdraw your money in Japan, you can do so at the airports. Upon arriving, there are several places where you can exchange your currencies. You can do this at one of the bank’s counters or at a foreign exchange counter. Here’s the list of the airports and the locations of the money exchange counters:
- Narita Airport
- Haneda International
- Kansai International Airport
- Chubu Centrair International Airport
- Osaka International Airport
- Senadai Airport
- Oita Airport
Withdraw YEN from ATMs
You generally need cash for your daily expenses in local restaurants, bars, markets and tourist sights. A good thing is that automated teller machines are nearly as common as vending machines in Japan.
Your foreign credit or debit cards can be used at Post Offices and Seven Bank ATMs which you can find at 7-Eleven convenience stores that are available 24/7 across Japan. These ATMs can provide you an English user menu.
Accepted credit cards are VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and China UnionPay. But keep in mind that not all foreign-issued cards are accepted, even though they display the logos.
It’s better to check with your credit card company beforehand to see the locations of each ATM you can use. Make sure that your credit and debit cards can be used abroad and that your bank has been informed that you’re going to use your card overseas, since banks can block a card which is suddenly used abroad, suspecting a fraud.
It is highly recommended that you carry cash with you at all times since Japan is a cash-based society. Like anywhere, you have to be careful when you carry a large amount of cash on your person, however in saying that, Japan is a very safe country with a low crime rate. Having a travel card, a plan of where to make withdrawals and knowing the associated costs are very important before you go.
Have you been to Japan? Share with us your experience in the comment section on how you exchanged your money from AUD to YEN.