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Old Jun 27, 10, 3:47 am   #1
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Limit to how much cash I can bring on my person into Japan?

Hi there

I will be going to Japan for roughly 3 months and want to know what is the best way to bring money over there. I am Canadian and I don't really want to use my credit/debit cards there because of the extra fees I would be charge per transaction. Although, if it is possible to take money out of the ATM machines there using my Canadian debit card, I could withdraw a certain amount each week and be charged a one-time fee, which to me sounds reasonable... However, would the exchange rate be as good as the rates I could get here?

All in all I would be bringing over about $8000. I was thinking of bringing it in the form of half cash, half travellers cheques, but maybe I should skip the cheques and bring it all in cash. What would be the best solution?

Thank you in advance!
tonight we fly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 27, 10, 6:39 am   #2
 
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Don't bring cash. The exchange rate for cash is significantly worse than the exchange rate for ATMs, even after taking fees into consideration.

You might want to call your bank in Canada and see if they have fee-free arrangements with any Japanese banks. I understand that some US banks have particular deals with Citi, Shinsei, 7-11 or the post office (the main banks offering international ATM card withdrawals) to waive fees on a mutual basis.

You can also set up a Japanese bank account and then SWIFT transfer money to yourself from your Canadian bank account. For over $8,000 this is probably the most cost-effective option, as you will spend about $40-50 in wire fees and maybe 0.5% commission on the exchange from CAD to JPY. This is a bigger hassle because it isn't always possible to initiate the transfer remotely (so you may need to give someonee in Canada a power of attorney), you need a Japanese alien registration card, and you also need a working or student visa if you plan to use Citibank or Shinsei (which offer English support).
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Old Jun 27, 10, 11:12 am   #3
 
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Exchange rates in Canada are far better than whatever you'd get in JPN.

Considering it's a substantive amount, you'd come out ahead exchanging in Canada.

Also, I'm not sure on the limit to bringing in cash but it can't be lower than the $10K US limit so you're probably safe.

If you're in YVR, I could tell you the place with the best CAD/JPY exchange rate.
Braindrain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 10, 6:34 am   #4
 
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I believe you are allowed to bring in up to 1,000,000.00 without declaring it. At present this is about USD $11,000, so $8,000 is no problem.

I also find the cash exchange rates in Japan to be very bad. Using an ATM card or exchanging the money in Canada would probably be best.
MikeFromTokyo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 10, 8:23 am   #5
 
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Opening a bank account in Japan would be impossible unless you were there on a visa that allowed residence, such as a working holiday visa. But since you're going for only three months, it's likely that you're on a tourist visa, and the banks will not let you open an account.

I've tried, since it would make payments from my Japanese clients easier and fee-free, but no can do.
ksandness is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 28, 10, 3:03 pm   #6
 
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ksandness: I think it depends on the bank. At a big Japanese bank like SMBC or MUFJ, you are OK as long as you have an alien registration certificate, which doesn't require a resident visa (just a trip to city hall). The problem is that only Shinsei and Citibank will give you service in English, and neither of them will set up an account for a non-resident.
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Old Jul 1, 10, 8:49 am   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonight we fly View Post
Hi there

I will be going to Japan for roughly 3 months and want to know what is the best way to bring money over there. I am Canadian and I don't really want to use my credit/debit cards there because of the extra fees I would be charge per transaction. Although, if it is possible to take money out of the ATM machines there using my Canadian debit card, I could withdraw a certain amount each week and be charged a one-time fee, which to me sounds reasonable... However, would the exchange rate be as good as the rates I could get here?

Thank you in advance!
From my experience the exchange rate is very good. Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable travelling with $8000 on me. Why don't you bring less - and withdraw the rest there.

All Canadian bank card works there - go to the post office ATM or 7/11.
If you have a TD Bank card, the charges are... $5 per withdrawal at the time of withdrawal + the usual $1.25 or $2.00 they charge you at the end of the month for withdrawing from a machine other than TD's or whatever your bank is. Not sure if it is $1.25 or $2.00 now.

If i were you, I'd bring like $3000 with me, and make 2 $2500 withdrawal later.
Ichinensei is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 1, 10, 10:20 am   #8
 
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The OP should keep in mind that in some countries large amounts of cash being carried through air ports have been known to arouse the suspicion of the authorities, even if there is no law against carrying such an amount. Conspicuous among these is the US. I don't know about Canada or Japan.
Cha-cha-cha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 3, 10, 2:02 am   #9
 
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I'm not sure about Canadian stuff, so will defer to previous posts for that. With regard to bringing in cash, bring whatever you want. They won't actually search you and this is the one place where I don't feel nervous walking down the street with a couple o' thousand dollars in my pocket.

With that said, it may be easier to just do like Ichinensei recommended.
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