Managing Money in Japan – The Yen and You

in Japan

The official currency of Japan is the yen. It is pronounced like the letter n, with no y sound. The yen is roughly equivalent to one US cent. The yen is available in ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100 and ¥500 coins and ¥1000, ¥2000, ¥5000 and ¥10, 000 banknotes.japanese yen

While Japan has many automatic teller machines, most will only accept cards issued in the country. However the nation’s post offices have ATMs which accept most foreign bank cards. These include cards belonging to the Visa, Plus, MasterCard, Cirrus American Express, Maestro, and Diners Club networks. If your bank card is not accepted by the post office ATMs, it can be very difficult to get cash in Japan. For this reason, tourists with cards outside these networks should bring cash or travelers checks to Japan.

Most postal ATMs are available from 9am to 5 pm on weekdays and from 9 am to noon on Saturdays. As they are unavailable on Sundays and public holidays, tourists are advised to ensure they have always carry adequate cash.

While postal ATMs have Japanese instructions by default, international visitors can press the “English Guidance” button on the touch screen for an English translation.

Travelers can also access some international ATMs in large tourist areas like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, as well as the major airports of Narita and Kansai. International cards are also accepted by the ATMs at Citibank branches.

Visitors should not rely on credit cards as their primary source of money. While most major department stores, high-end restaurants, and luxury hotels accept cards, many Japanese businesses do not. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in Japan, followed by MasterCard, Amex, and Diners Club.

Tourists can exchange their money and travelers checks for yen at Japan’s banks, post offices, and discount ticket shops. The discount ticket shops tend to have the best exchange rates. They are located around Japan’s major train stations. Most currencies are easily exchanged, except for the New Taiwan dollar and the won of Korea. Travelers holding this currency are advised to change it before arriving in Japan.

When managing money in Japan, it’s worth noting that the country has a consumer tax of 5%. Luxury hotels and restaurants have an additional service charge attached, which may be between 10 and 15%.

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