Culture

ATM: Wondering Where to Withdraw Cash in Japan?


Carrying Cash in Japan

Carrying cash in Japan can be really useful. There are plenty of reasons why you should carry cash with you while staying in Japan. One reason, is the super delicious street food. Japan’s cuisine is known for its variety and quality. Do not miss out on the chance to buy Japanese snacks because of not carrying any cash. In addition some grocery stores, or the famous 100 Yen shops, do not accept credit cards. Furthermore Japan is the only country I know where customers have to pay a surcharge when withdrawing money outside the opening hours of their local bank branch. Knowing this, getting cash in Japan is not as easy as in other countries. So I want to show you the different ways you can get cash  in Japan.

The first one is using an international credit card at an ATM, the second one is making use of an international money exchange bureau. Both ways will be described in the upcoming sections.

International Credit Cards and ATMs

The easiest way to get cash, is by using your international credit card. Finding a corresponding ATM and how to withdraw money will be explained in the following section.

Finding an ATM

There are two main financial institutes here in Japan, which offer services to foreign tourists. One local bank is the “Japan Postbank” (ゆうちょ銀行). You can find these post offices everywhere in Japan. Just look out for the post sign which looks very familiar to the Latin “T”. Most of these post offices have an ATM machine inside, otherwise just ask the helpful staff for a nearby Japan Postbank ATM. Here is one picture of a post office in the neighborhood:

JP Postbank street sign
Japan Post Bank ATM

If you want to withdraw money from the JP Postbank in the popular sightseeing spots in Tokyo, have a look at the English maps they provide to help find their atms:

http://www.jp-bank.japanpost.jp/en/ias/en_ias_withdrawing.html

Please keep in mind that the service hours of most JP Postbank ATMs are bound to the opening hours of the post office (mostly 9am to 5 pm).

The second big financial institute and most foreign friendly one is the 7-11 (seven eleven) bank. Just look out for the next 7-11 kombini. As there are dozens of these mini shops located all around Japan and especially Tokyo there is definitely one close to you. If you are not sure, just use one of the following ways to locate the ATM closest to you:

7-11 ATM locator website:

https://pkg.navitime.co.jp/sevenbank/?lang=en

7-11 ATM locator Navi-App:

http://www.sevenbank.co.jp/english/personal/atm/app/

7-11 kombinis are open 24 hours a day and so are their ATM machines. Additionally, they do not charge you an extra fee when using their machines. If you are not familiar with the 7-11 company, here is an example picture of a local branch:

7-11 street sign
Japan 7-11 Street Sign ATM

Some of the 7-11 and JP Postbank ATM are even available outside of kombinis and post offices like train stations or other public places.

Using the ATM

After entering the kombini just look out for the ATM sign, located above the machine. At some kombinis the ATM machine might be hidden behind a corner, so please make sure to have a look around the entire place.

7-11 ATM
Japan 7-11 ATM

Next, I will give you step by step instructions on how to withdraw money at a Japanese ATM, using a 7-11 machine.

 

Currency Exchange

When carrying a lot of money in your own currency it might be useful to exchange your foreign cash currency into the local currency. The easiest way of exchanging money is when arriving at an airport. All airports have a few money exchange locations to choose from. Usually the money exchange booths at the airports offer you a better rate then the exchange booths in big tourist locations. If you are already in Tokyo and want to change money you can still find a lot of exchange services at the big sightseeing spots. Here are a few of them:
– Harajuku street
– Shibuya
– Akihabara
– Shinjuku
Just have a look for the current exchange rate on the internet (e.g. yahoo currency calculator) and watch out for any extra services fees.

 

I hope this guide makes withdrawing money in Japan easier to you, and be sure to enjoy the street food!