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Thread: Travelling in Japan - Money?

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    Travelling in Japan - Money?

    Hi all,

    I'm planning a trip to japan over xmas and new year, and wondering which would be the best way of taking care of my funds when over there. Have any of you been to japan before? Is maestro accepted widely? Would I be best off getting a credit card (maybe issues here due to me leaving my job)? Or should I just sack it and take a shoebox full of cash?

    Cheers

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    Maestro - Japan Forums

    have a nosey
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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    Cash is pretty safe to have in Japan, credit card would be good as well though. No one I knew had Maestro when I went so I don't know how well accepted they are. Getting a credit card will be fine as long as you apply before you leave the job, and you're on the electrol roll.

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    We took cash, as most European Visa/Mastercards don't work for purchases or ATMs. My wife's Amex card was OK when paying hotel bills.
    Apparently, Japanese post offices have ATMs that are more tolerant of European credit cards, but we never tried those.

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    I'd go with cash, although I've never been to Japan I've set foot in most other Asian country and for small shops/restaurant EU credit card usually is not a good choice
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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    It's a while since I went (7 years), so this may be out of date.

    Cash seemed pretty safe.
    Cards are fairly widely accepted, but cash points tend to be within lobbies outside banks, that seemed to be locked out of hours.
    If you do take travellers cheques, don't make the mistake one of our party did and got them in GBP - not all places will change them - USD or Yen is definitely the way to go.

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    Just make money by selling yourself while you are over there! Easy!

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    Unless you can read Japanese well, a card is a pretty bad idea. Alot of the ATM's dont have english options.

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    It's been a few years since I was there. I had my regular bank card (debit style) for cashpoints and a credit card (Nationwide as they don't charge commission on purchase transactions).

    Depending where you go not all places accept European credit cards, so when you're in the big cities find an American bank (I remember using Chase-Manhattan in Tokyo) as you could get instructions in English, and carry enough cash to cover things in case restaurants etc. don't take cards.

    I loved Japan. Possibly the only place I know where they have alcohol vending machines that don't get robbed!!!! Yep, you can buy a bottle of saki from a vending machine. Wow!

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    Quote Originally Posted by med2003 View Post
    I loved Japan. Possibly the only place I know where they have alcohol vending machines that don't get robbed!!!! Yep, you can buy a bottle of saki from a vending machine. Wow!
    There was a vending machine just round the corner from the place we were staying in Kyoto that had beer cans ranging from about 200ml up to 2 litres! the large ones were definitely a 2 handed job.

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    Make sure you have some spare cash. If you have to change currency when you get there, I'd say that US$ is ideal, but £ is well accepted these days.. as long as they are not Scottish notes.

    If a cash machine doesn't have English (I think most do actually), don't bother. And even if it does have english - most cash machine in Tokyo, even in major banks do not accept foreign credit cards (but you can pay store goods and hotel services with one).

    Citibank is -supposed- to be one of the few (only?) banks that accept foreign credit cards. Didn't work for me on two separate cards, so I suspect that by 'foreign card' they might mean 'foreign City Bank' cards.

    The only reliable place to get cash from a cash machines is inside a post office. They are scattered around, and accept foreign credit cards, Maestro, VISA PLUS (debit).

    Whatever you do, make sure you have enough Yen on a Sunday, because the post office is closed and you do not want to be stranded with little cash then (personal experience). There may actually be some post office cash machines in some Metro stations, but don't risk it. They are not open 24 hours a day, and as I recall close even earlier than metro stations.

    Have fun - how many places are you going?
    Last edited by TooNice; 30-10-2007 at 03:28 PM.

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    If you take travellers cheques get US$ not Yen, any bank will take US$ ones. However
    you may have to go to specific branches to cash Yen ones. Strange I know but thats
    what happened to me.

    Credit cards are not as common in Japan as they are here, so you cant rely on it.
    Citi bank maybe your best bet, most Japanese I know use a citi bank account when
    they live in the UK.

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    Re: Travelling in Japan - Money?

    When I went in Feb 2001, I took a big wad of cash to last me my first week in Osaka and Kyoto, and assumed that I'd be able to get cash out in Tokyo with my Visa Delta card. The trouble was that I accidentally wondered into Den Den Town within an hour of arriving in Osaka and blew most of my wad on a massive stack of Sega Saturn games. Trying to find a cash machine in Osaka that would accept my Delta card turned into quite a stressful mission, though I suceeded in the nick of time.

    The cash I got out in Osaka lasted me the three days in Kyoto, and then when I got to Tokyo I was able to get cash more easily (the only machine I can remember using was the Citibank machine in Ginza, not sure if I used any others). I paid for my week's hotel stay in Tokyo with my Delta card (although I'm pretty sure I checked when I booked that they would accept it). When they saw a scruffy westerner turn up with a battered rucksack they decided to charge me upfront! Can't say I blamed them though TBH.

    Anyway, just taking cash is the safest way, especially outside of the big cities. Japan has a very low crime rate, and it's entirely normal to walk around with a serious wad on you.

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