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Should I exchange money before going to Japan?

Should You Exchange Money Before Going to Japan?

Are you planning a trip to Japan soon? One of the most important things you need to consider before leaving for your trip is your money. Should you exchange your currency before going to Japan or wait until you arrive? Here’s what you need to know about exchanging money in Japan.

The Japanese Currency

The Japanese currency is the yen (¥). It’s a unique currency that is not widely traded outside of Japan. Therefore, it may be difficult to find a place that will exchange yen outside of Japan. This means that it’s best to exchange your money in Japan.

Japanese Snack Box

Exchange Rate

The exchange rate determines how much one currency is worth in another. The exchange rate between the yen and foreign currencies can fluctuate daily. It’s important to keep an eye on the exchange rate to get the best value for your money. You can check the exchange rate online or at a local bank before leaving for Japan.

Where to Exchange Money

You can exchange money at banks, post offices, and currency exchange shops in Japan. Banks and post offices offer competitive exchange rates, but they may have limited hours and locations. Currency exchange shops are more convenient but may have higher fees and lower exchange rates.


ATMs are widely available in Japan, but not all ATMs accept foreign cards. Look for ATMs with the international withdrawal symbol (a circle with four triangles). Some ATMs may also charge a fee for international transactions.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted in Japan, especially in major cities. However, some smaller businesses may only accept cash. Make sure to bring enough cash with you for small purchases and emergencies.

How Much Money to Exchange

The amount of money you should exchange depends on your travel itinerary and budget. Consider how long you will stay in Japan, where you will be staying, and what activities you plan to do. It’s always better to exchange too much money than not enough.

When to Exchange Money

You can exchange money at the airport, but the exchange rate may not be as competitive as other locations. It’s best to exchange a small amount of money at the airport for immediate expenses and exchange the rest at a bank or post office later.

Traveler’s Checks

Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted in Japan. It’s better to bring cash or a credit card for your trip.


Tipping is not customary in Japan. In fact, it may be considered rude. Instead, show your appreciation by saying “arigato” (thank you) or leaving a small gift.

Safety Tips

When exchanging money in Japan, make sure to use a reputable location and count your money before leaving. Keep your money and valuables in a safe place, such as a hotel safe. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash with you.


In conclusion, it’s best to exchange your money in Japan for the best value. Look for a bank or post office for competitive rates, or use an ATM if necessary. Bring enough cash and a credit card for your trip, and avoid tipping. Follow these tips to have a safe and enjoyable trip to Japan!

Should I exchange yen before going to Japan?

It is not necessary to purchase Japanese yen in your home country before your trip since you may end up paying a higher commission (around 3%) and receive a poorer exchange rate than you would if you withdrew money from ATMs, banks, or airports in Japan.

Is it better to exchange money before or after Travelling?

Exchanging currency before flying may not always be the best option. In several countries, you can get a better exchange rate for your home currency upon arrival, but it is essential to avoid unreliable vendors and airports and select trustworthy institutions like banks.

Is it cheaper to exchange money in US or Japan?

When exchanging USD for yen, it is usually more advantageous to do so in Japan rather than in the US due to fluctuating exchange rates. Since yen is the local currency in Japan, exchange rates may be more favorable there.

Does Japan prefer cash or card?

Japan is predominantly a cash-based society, but in most urban areas, credit and debit cards are accepted. However, smaller establishments like local restaurants, markets, and rural inns require cash transactions. If your card does not have your name printed on the front, you may encounter difficulties using it in places where electronic payments are accepted.

Does Japan accept US dollars?

In Japan, it is possible to exchange foreign currency like the U.S. dollar, Euro, and Chinese Yuan Renminbi at different places. As some small shops or restaurants may not accept credit cards, it is advisable to carry some cash while traveling in the country.

Is $100 a day enough for Japan?

This amount of money should suffice as long as you don’t plan on visiting expensive places such as theme parks. You can visit temples and museums which typically charge 500 to 1000 yen for admission, some of which are even free. You can also comfortably get breakfast for 500 yen, lunch for 1000-1500 yen, and dinner for 1000-2000 yen.

Using a Currency Converter

Before leaving for Japan, you can use a currency converter to get an idea of how much your money is worth in yen. This can help you plan your budget and determine how much money to exchange. Keep in mind that the exchange rate can change rapidly, so it’s best to check it frequently.

Using a Prepaid Travel Card

Another option for accessing money in Japan is to use a prepaid travel card. These cards allow you to load money onto them before your trip and then use them like a debit card while you’re in Japan. They can be convenient for avoiding ATM fees and carrying large amounts of cash. However, be sure to check the fees and exchange rates associated with the card before using it.

Dealing with Leftover Yen

If you have leftover yen at the end of your trip, you can exchange them back into your home currency at a bank or currency exchange shop. Keep in mind that you may lose some money in the exchange due to fees and differences in exchange rates. Another option is to keep the yen for future trips or as a souvenir.

Understanding Japanese Coins and Bills

When exchanging money in Japan, it’s helpful to understand the different coins and bills used in the country. The yen comes in coins of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen, as well as bills of 1,000, 2,000 (rare), 5,000, and 10,000 yen. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the different denominations before your trip so that you can quickly identify them when making purchases.

Final Tips for Exchanging Money in Japan

Here are some final tips to keep in mind when exchanging money in Japan:

  • Bring multiple forms of payment, such as cash and a credit card, in case one is not accepted
  • Notify your bank and credit card company of your travel plans to avoid any issues with transactions
  • Check the exchange rate frequently to get the best value for your money
  • Be aware of any fees associated with exchanging money, using ATMs, or using prepaid travel cards
  • Keep your money and valuables safe at all times

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