How & Where to Get Cash in Japan: A 2023 Guide & Tips

Japan, Travel Tips

by Coco Tran On October 14, 2023

Heading to Japan and unsure about how to get cash in Japan? I’ve got you covered! it’s actually quite easy once you know the right places to go. As a recent visitor to Japan, I’ve mastered the art of getting Japanese yen quickly, efficiently., and for free. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through all the options for obtaining cash during your trip to Japan.

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Key Takeaways

Here are the key things I’ll cover in this guide on getting cash in Japan:

  • ATMs at 7-Eleven and post offices are the best options for getting yen with a foreign debit/credit card
  • Avoid exchanging money at airports or hotels due to poor rates
  • Major credit cards like Visa and Mastercard can be used at compatible ATMs
  • Notify your bank of travel plans to prevent declined transactions
  • Have at least one back-up payment method in case of issues
  • Post office ATMs have more limited hours than 7-Eleven ATMs
  • Japanese bank ATMs generally don’t accept foreign cards
  • Get cash immediately upon arrival at airport ATMs
LocationForeign Card CompatibilityFeesOperating Hours
7-Eleven ATMsYes – Visa, Mastercard, etc.free24/7
Post Office ATMsYes – Most major foreign cardsfree Varies – some open 24/7 but most close at night and weekends
Other Convenience Store ATMsSometimes – Look for Visa/Mastercard stickersHigher than 7-Eleven or Post Office24/7
Japanese Bank ATMsRarely – Look for “International ATM” labelN/AVaries by bank
Airport ATMsYes – 7-Bank and Japan Post ATMsSame as respective ATM brands above24/7

How & Where to Get Cash in Japan: A 2023 Guide & Tips

Before You Leave to Japan: Notify Your Bank

The first step is preparing your finances before you depart for Japan. Call up your bank and inform them of your travel dates and destinations. This will prevent them from freezing your account due to suspicious activity. Nothing’s worse than having your card declined at a foreign ATM!

While you have your bank on the phone, confirm that your debit and credit cards will work overseas. Most major cards like Visa and Mastercard will be fine, but it never hurts to double-check. You may also want to ask about international transaction fees. Some banks charge a small percentage on foreign purchases.

Finally, check on your daily ATM withdrawal limit, as well as how many withdrawals you can make per day. Know these amounts so you can plan your cash withdrawals accordingly. The last thing you want is to hit a dispensing limit mid-trip!

how to get cash in japanFrom below of traditions Japanese paper lanterns with various hieroglyphs decorating facade of ancient Yasaka Shrine located in KyotoPin

Money in Japan Tips

Don’t Exchange Money at Japanese Airports or Hotels

When you arrive in Japan, you may be tempted to exchange money for yen at airport currency exchanges or your hotel front desk. Don’t do it! The exchange rates and fees at these places are generally terrible. You’re much better off getting cash straight from an ATM in Japan. The ATM rates are way more favorable.

Wait until you’re in Japan to get your first batch of yen. As soon as you clear customs at the airport, hunt down an international ATM (more on suitable ATMs below). Japanese airports have plenty of them in the arrival zones. Then you’ll have local currency in hand for taxi fares, train tickets, and other immediate expenses.

ATM Machines in Japan

7-Eleven ATMs Are The Best Place to get cash in Japan aka Your New Best Friend

The easiest and most convenient way to get cash in Japan is via one of the 27,000+ 7-Eleven stores nationwide. Nearly all 7-Eleven’s have ATMs that accept foreign debit cards and credit cards. This includes major networks like Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, and Plus. The machines have English instructions and are available 24/7.

7 11 Japan atm withdrawal fee japan

Better yet, 7-Eleven ATMs don’t charge huge fees.

The ATM’s themselves are FREE to use and don’t charge a convenience fee. You’ll only pay a small service charge of about 1-2% per transaction, depending on your home bank’s policy!

Tip: Get a Checking account that doesn’t charge atm fees or refunds gees such as Capitol one 360 (what I used) or Charles Schwabb checking account, 

That’s a bargain compared to airport money changers. Withdrawals are limited to 30,000-50,000 yen, but you can make multiple transactions as needed.

I like to withdraw just enough yen to last a few days, then make another ATM run if I need more cash. That way I’m not carrying huge wads of bills around. When in doubt, find the nearest 7-Eleven for quick and easy money access!

Tip: Standalone 7-Bank ATMs, often located at train stations, work just like 7-Eleven machines.

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Japan ATM Withdrawal Fees

  • Fees for withdrawing cash from ATMs in Japan are typically 1-3% of the transaction amount. NOTE: Foreign credit cards/debit cards will NOT work in Japanese ATMS! 
  • 7-Eleven ATM fees are free and don’t charge a withdrawal or convenience fee,your bank may charge you a fee of around 1-2% per transaction depending on your home bank.
  • Post office ATMs also are fee free, similar to 7-Eleven.
  • Your home bank may also charge an extra 1-3% foreign transaction fee for using your card overseas.

Bank of America ATM  in Japan

  • Bank of America customers can withdraw cash fee-free from Seven Bank (7-Eleven) ATMs in Japan.
  • BoA debit cards and ATM cards will work at 7-Eleven ATMs. Simply select the “International Networks” option.
  • BoA credit cards can also be used, but will incur a cash advance fee and interest charges.
  • Post office ATMs unfortunately don’t partner with Bank of America for fee-free access.

Japan ATM Withdrawal Limits

  • The daily withdrawal limit at 7-Eleven ATMs is typically 40,000-50,000 yen per transaction.
  • Post office ATMs often have lower limits, around 10,000-30,000 yen per transaction.
  • Your home bank may also impose additional limits on how much you can withdraw per day/week overseas.
  • Transaction size limits vary across other convenience store ATM brands.
  • If you need to withdraw more than the per-transaction limit, simply conduct separate transactions.

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Japanese Post Offices Also Have No Fee Foreigner-Friendly ATMs

After 7-Eleven, my next choice for getting cash is any of Japan’s 24,000 post offices. Conveniently located in all cities and most towns, post offices have ATMs that accept overseas debit/credit cards. The interface has an English mode and is simple to operate.

Compared to 7-Elevens, postal ATMs have more limited hours. In bigger cities, the main branch may be open 24/7, but smaller locations close at night and on weekends. Before visiting a post office for cash, check online that the ATM will be available at that time. As long as you plan accordingly, post offices make reliable yen dispensers.

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Other Japanese atm machines and Convenience Store ATMs

In a pinch, convenience stores like Lawson or Family Mart can be used to withdraw Japan cash. However, not every store’s ATM accepts foreign cards. Look for stickers indicating compatible networks like Visa and Mastercard before inserting your card. The fees at convenience stores may also be higher than 7-Eleven or post offices.

I’d only use Lawson/Family Mart ATMs if there weren’t any better options nearby. But when you need yen fast, they can get the job done. The instructions will be in English if foreign cards are supported. Hit the button that says “English” to activate the translator.

Avoid Regular Japanese Bank ATMs

You know those rows of sparkling ATMs inside Japanese banks? They’re basically useless for foreign cards, so don’t even bother. Japan’s domestic banks have limited compatibility with overseas networks. The only exceptions are Shinsei Bank and some Mibuyo Bank ATMs, which enable international withdrawals.

When scanning your options for getting cash, look for “7-Bank”, “Japan Post”, or “International ATM” signage on machines. Random ATMs on the street or in banks won’t cut it unless specifically labeled for foreign cards. Remember, 7-Eleven and post offices are your friends!

Always Have a Backup Payment Method in Japan

Here’s an important tip based on personal experience: always carry a backup payment method when traveling in Japan! Debit cards can stop working randomly due to fraud protection or network issues. If that happens, you’ll need a backup to access cash.

I recommend bringing both a debit card and a credit card. Keep the credit card in reserve for cash advances if your primary debit card fails. Having emergency alternatives prevents getting stranded without money. Before departing, notify your credit card company about using the card abroad too.

Get Cash in Japan Upon Arrival at the Airport

After the long flight to Japan, the first thing I do is find an ATM right inside the airport to withdraw local currency. Both Narita and Haneda airports in Tokyo have numerous ATMs in their arrival zones. Just look for the 7-Bank or Japan Post logos when exiting customs.

Other main airports like Osaka Kansai and Fukuoka also have ATMs available right as you enter the country. Just memorize the Japanese symbols for 7-Eleven (セブンイレブン) or post office (郵便局) and you’ll easily spot them. Having yen in-hand makes catching trains, taxis, or buses from the airport a smooth process.

Managing Your Cash in Japan

Now that you know how and where to withdraw cash in Japan, let’s discuss some tips for managing it:

  • only withdraw what you need for a few days at a time to avoid large amounts
  • store spare cash in a money belt or safe at your accommodation
  • separate large notes from smaller ones for easy payment
  • keep an envelope or binder clip handy for organizing bills
  • have coins exchanged for bills at convenience stores when needed
  • monitor your account balance online if possible to track withdrawals

Following these simple cash management principles will make your Japan trip easy and stress-free when it comes to money matters.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto, JapanPin

Paying With Plastic/ credit cards in Japan

Don’t forget, cash is not the only way to pay in Japan these days. More and more places accept credit cards, especially tourist shops and major retailers. Some tips for using plastic:

  • Contactless payments like Apple Pay are becoming more widespread
  • Visa and Mastercard have high acceptance rates
  • American Express is accepted less frequently
  • Have a card with chip technology for enhanced security
  • Ask “credit card wa tsukaemasu ka?” (can I use a credit card) if unsure
  • Offer both the chip & magnetic strip side when paying

So feel free to use plastic for large expenses like hotels and fancier restaurants. Just be ready with old-fashioned yen cash for small shops, taxis, restaurants, and everything in between.

Additional Tips on getting cash from ATMS in Japan

  • Bring both your debit card and credit card if they are separate, and also bring backups of each if possible in case there are any issues.
  • Get a debit/atm card from the US that doesn’t have atm withdrawal fees! Such as Capitol One 360 checking accounts and Charles Chwabb Checking accounts. 
  • When paying by credit card in Japan, choose to be charged in yen rather than your home currency to avoid extra foreign transaction fees from your bank.
  • ATMs in Japanese post offices have lower maximum withdrawal amounts than 7-Eleven ATMs.
  • Some major Japanese banks like SMBC and Aeon Bank have begun offering partner ATMs that accept foreign cards, mostly in areas frequented by tourists. But 7-Eleven and Japan Post are still the most widely compatible.
  • Notify your credit card company in advance if you plan to use the card for cash advances at ATMs.
  • Before leaving any ATM, make sure to collect your card, cash, and transaction receipt.

how to get cash in japan atm

Here are some tips for getting cash from ATMs in Japan:

  • Use ATMs at 7-Eleven convenience stores whenever possible. They accept most foreign bank cards and have English instructions.
  • Post office ATMs also work well for foreign cards. Check opening hours for each location.
  • Avoid regular bank ATMs in Japan as most don’t accept overseas cards.
  • International ATMs can be found at airports, some hotels, and in tourist areas.
  • Insert your debit or credit card, select English language, enter your PIN when prompted.
  • Choose the account you want to withdraw from – savings or checking.
  • Enter the amount in yen you want to withdraw, paying attention to transaction limits.
  • Remove your card when the transaction completes, and don’t forget to take your money and receipt.
  • Withdraw only what you need for a few days at once to avoid carrying large cash amounts.
  • Have a credit card or second debit card as a backup in case your first card fails.
  • Notify your bank and credit card company before traveling overseas to prevent issues.
  • Check for ATM fee amounts so you know the total withdrawal cost.
  • Look for on-screen or sticker indicators that a machine accepts foreign cards.

Do you need cash in Japan?

  • Yes, having cash is still important in Japan. Cash is still commonly used for small purchases, restaurants, shops, taxis, vending machines, etc.
  • Larger stores and hotels may accept credit cards, but cash is widely expected especially at traditional places.
  • Make sure to carry enough yen cash for transportation, food, shopping, and sightseeing activities.
  • Use ATMs to withdraw Japanese yen after arriving in the country. Avoid exchanging money at airports or hotels.

Does Japan accept US dollars?

  • No, you cannot use U.S. dollars directly for payment in Japan.
  • Some airport vendors may accept dollars, but once in the country you need Japanese yen cash.
  • Dollar bills and coins won’t be accepted for public transportation, taxis, shops, or restaurants.
  • Rare exceptions are high-end hotels or stores aimed at foreign tourists. But don’t count on using dollars.
Lake and Fuji Mountain behind The Ultimate Tokyo to Mount Fuji Day Trip GuidePin

What is Japanese money called?

  • The currency in Tokyo and all of Japan is called the Japanese yen.
  • The ISO code used to represent the yen is JPY.
  • Banknote and coin denominations include:
  • 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 1,000 yen coins
  • 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen bills
  • Colloquial terms for money include “okane” and “o-kane” in Japanese.

You’re Ready to Visit Japan!

And that wraps up this complete guide to getting cash in Japan as a foreign visitor. Follow these tips and you’ll have instant yen access wherever your travels take you. Enjoy the convenience of withdrawing from ATMs as needed instead of carrying wads of cash everywhere.

Remember, 7-Eleven and Japan Post ATMs should serve most withdrawals needs with minimal fees. Have a fantastic time in Japan, and don’t stress about getting money—you’ve got the knowledge now to breeze through the process! Let me know if you have any other questions. I’m always happy to help fellow travelers master Japan money matters.

Planning a trip to japan:

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