Although most of hotels, restaurants, stores accept credit cards, you still need to carry Yen. You need to pay in cash at small stores, taxis (sometimes drivers reject accepting credit cards), or other occasions. Although Japan is generally said to be safe, naturally there is illicit use of credit cards using stolen card information. So, it’s safe to pay in cash at the stores or restaurants where an employee doesn’t process credit card in front of you. There are a lot of vending machines in Tokyo. Some of them accept only cash (though stored card (=prepaid e-money card) accepting machines are increasing). It’s better to get Yen before you leave the Airport.
There are two ways to get Yen, one is to exchange your currency at the Currency Exchange, the other is to use ATM. Which way you choose depends on your preference. But pay attention, in Japan you have difficulty to find out the Currency Exchange once you leave the Airport.
Where are ATMs?
If you don’t have Yen when you arrive at Narita International Airport, you had better get them. There are three terminals at Narita International Airport. Terminal 3 is new one and for LCC users. Terminal 1 has two wings, South Wing and North Wing. At terminal 1 or 2, there are Currency Exchanges at the left and right side of all the Exits to the international Arrival Lobby.
If you arrive at Terminal 3, after Customs Inspection, you go through the Exit, and have to take the escalator to the second (or first BrE) floor straight ahead of the Exit. On the second floor, follow the Exit sign on the floor carpet, near the restroom opposite to Check-in Counters there is a Currency Exchange.
Until recently there were a few ATMs that accept the International Credit Cards or Debit Cards (like VISA, MasterCard). Even today, you may feel some difficulty to find “International” ATM in town, if you don’t know 7-Eleven Convenience Stores have “International” ATM (= Seven Bank ATM). Today at Narita International Airport, most of ATMs are “international”. But better check out before you use it.
At Terminal 1, ATMs are on Arrival Lobby between South Wing and North Wing. If you come out of South Wing, turn left and go straight ahead, you’ll find out a bank of ATMs. If you come out of North Wing, turn right and go straight ahead, then there is a bank of ATMs.
At Terminal 2, there are two Exits to Arrival Lobby and ATMs are between two Exits. At terminal 2 there are also Seven Bank ATMs on B1 near Exit to train station.
At Terminal 3, ATMs are on the second floor near the restroom.
Withdrawal upper limit of ATM
Withdrawal upper limit of most ATM is 50,000 yen (roughly 500 dollars) per transaction. But Seven Bank ATM’s upper limit is 100,000 yen per transaction.
When you withdraw 50,000 yen, you would get five 10,000-yen bills. Don’t worry about getting big amount bills. Japanese often use 10,000-yen bill at shopping. So at almost all shops, you can use 10,000-yen bill even if you buy low price goods, like 60 yen goods. Sales person will give you change without making face. Exception is bus. When you get on bus, you have to prepare 1,000-yen bill, coins, or a certain stored card or e-money (like Suica card). Often taxi drivers don’t welcome 10,000-yen bill if fares are small amounts.
How to use Seven Bank ATM
You can easily find out Seven Bank ATM at 7-Eleven convenience stores in Tokyo. Even if you can’t see 7-Eleven convenience store around you, just type in 7-Eleven on Google maps or Apple maps, it will show 7-Eleven near you.
Here I explain how to use Seven Bank ATM. First, just insert your card. If the inserted card is international, then ATM prompts you to select language you prefer. After selection of language, follow the instruction on the screen. Here is the Instruction of usage of Seven Bank ATM.
Seven Bank ATM at the airport has the card insert instruction board above the ATM screen
7-Eleven convenience stores’ Seven Bank ATM doesn’t have such instruction board. You only read “Insert your card” in small letters below big Japanese Instruction on the ATM screen.
Japan Post Bank ATM also accept International Credit Cards
Japan Post Bank ATM also accept International Credit Cards and Debit Cards. Withdrawal upper limit per transaction is 50,000 yen. Japan Post Bank ATMs are in post offices and FamilyMart convenience stores. There are a lot of post offices and FamilyMart convenience stores in town. If you want assistance to find post office or FamilyMart near your location, you can use the app called “Japan Post Bank ATM Finder”. You can download it from APP Store or Play Store.
Currency Exchanges are difficult to find in the city
Currency Exchange Shops are fewer in Japan comparing with other countries. So it’s not an easy task to find them in the city.
It is said “World Currency Shop” offers the best rates. You can exchange Yen with your currency and exchange back to your currency. Click to find World Currency Shop. As you see the numbers of World Currency Shops are small.