Japan Currency Exchange
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 suspended account.