Whether visiting Japan for business or pleasure, this guide
will offer a few tips about perhaps the most important aspect
of your Asian adventure: Money.
When you arrive into Japan, you are not limited on the amount
you may bring in. However, as of the publishing date of this
article if you are bringing in more than the equivalent of
1 million yen, you must declare it with customs. Japanese
currency is measured in Yen. The Yen measurement is more like
a US cent than a US dollar. Yen coins are distributed in amounts
of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen. Paper “dollars”
are distributed in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and
10,000. Yen currently trade for about 112 yen = 1 US Dollar.
An easy way to convert this exchange is divide the yen amount
by 100, and you get a rough estimate of the cost of something.
For example, a fast food hamburger costing 300 yen is about
3 dollars. Actually it is closer to $2.70, but you get the
point, and get an easy way to figure an amount.
Japanese businesses do not accept USD as a general
rule, so you must use the Japanese currency.
Major credit cards are taken at most major hotels, restaurants,
stores, etc. around Japan. If you are in a remote area that
doesn’t see foreigners often, they may refuse to take
your international card. It is smartest to take Japanese cash
with you if you head to the rural areas.
Most ATMs do NOT accept foreign credit
cards, bank cards, cash cards, etc. Most ATMs will only
operate during a bank’s business hours and not on weekends
or holidays. However, you can find International ATMs at more
than 21,000 post office locations nationwide. These ATMs are
easy to use, allow you to select the language of your choice,
and guide you through the process. Most of the time, these
machines do not even charge a usage fee. Post offices with
these International ATMs usually display a sign outside.
Many train stations, airports, and other major tourist and
traffic spots also have International ATMs. ATMs are the smartest
way to go, as you do not have the high priced service charge
applied at exchange centers, and most of the time your bank
gives you an excellent exchange rate.
Many claim that Japan is an expensive country. It really
is not much more, if at all more, than any major US city,
in regards to lodging, meals, and expenses. Even though many
of our technology products are created in Japan, these products
are generally not cheaper to purchase in Japan. Some products
are even more expensive. Clothing, as in the US, can be purchased
for incredibly cheap all the way to designer expensive.
Many 100Yen stores around the country offer almost everything
you could ever want or need, for just, you guessed it, 100
yen (less than $1). While the quality of these items may not
be the best, you can find incredible souvenirs, personal and
toiletry items, household items, and much much more.
On a final note... When traveling to any country it is advisable
to call your bank, credit card companies, and other business
interests before you leave, as your overseas purchases and
transactions may look suspicious, resulting in a frozen or