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Best way to withdraw cash/change currency in Japan

Best way to withdraw cash/change currency in Japan

Old Dec 15, 19, 7:45 pm
  #1  
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Best way to withdraw cash/change currency in Japan

hi there,
for an upcoming trip to Japan, I am wondering what is the best way to get my hands on JPY...
I am Swiss based, so I would be changing from CHF.
I know going to my local bank here to get JPY would be perhaps the worst option.
Is it best to change money at the airport in Japan or maybe get a Revolut card and load my account then change to JPY online? Then use the Revolut card at ATMs in Japan? Do any of you have experience with this?
I know that having cash is quite handy, it is not an exorbitant amount I am talking about, just enough to pay restaurants, sights, souvenirs and some modest hotel bills...
Many thanks!
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Old Dec 15, 19, 8:42 pm
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Originally Posted by rosenkavalier View Post
hi there,
for an upcoming trip to Japan, I am wondering what is the best way to get my hands on JPY...
I am Swiss based, so I would be changing from CHF.
I know going to my local bank here to get JPY would be perhaps the worst option.
Is it best to change money at the airport in Japan or maybe get a Revolut card and load my account then change to JPY online? Then use the Revolut card at ATMs in Japan? Do any of you have experience with this?
I know that having cash is quite handy, it is not an exorbitant amount I am talking about, just enough to pay restaurants, sights, souvenirs and some modest hotel bills...
Many thanks!
I suggest using 7Bank ATM. Details:

https://www.sevenbank.co.jp/intlcard/index2.html
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Old Dec 15, 19, 10:11 pm
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Originally Posted by mnbp View Post
I suggest using 7Bank ATM. Details:

https://www.sevenbank.co.jp/intlcard/index2.html
I second this. Seven Bank simply works, I make a couple of withdrawals each time I'm in Japan (including this past week) and have never had a problem of any kind.
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Old Dec 15, 19, 11:26 pm
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Exchange rates at bank operated exchange counter in Japan: https://www.tokyo-card.co.jp/wcs/en/rate.php Looks like ~4.5% markup for CHF.

Similar rates everywhere, airport, in the city, except Travelex which has the worst rates.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 12:45 am
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Doesn't everyone just use their home country bank ATM card at any random ATM in Japan, like Mizuho bank or MUFG, etc? You withdraw the amount in JPY and your own bank calculates the exchange rate, plus a small fee on top from the ATM operator. Or am I missing something and am getting screwed without knowing it?
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Old Dec 16, 19, 1:38 am
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Originally Posted by TA View Post
Doesn't everyone just use their home country bank ATM card at any random ATM in Japan, like Mizuho bank or MUFG, etc? You withdraw the amount in JPY and your own bank calculates the exchange rate, plus a small fee on top from the ATM operator. Or am I missing something and am getting screwed without knowing it?
Yes, you are missing that the vast majority of Japanese ATM's do not accept foreign cards. The machines at all post offices and the 7-11 bank machines do accept foreign cards as well as a few others. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to find a usable ATM in urban areas, usually 7-11 bank.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 2:31 am
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Originally Posted by mnbp View Post
I suggest using 7Bank ATM. Details:

https://www.sevenbank.co.jp/intlcard/index2.html
Many thanks for the advice!
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Old Dec 16, 19, 3:23 am
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Originally Posted by beep88 View Post
Exchange rates at bank operated exchange counter in Japan: https://www.tokyo-card.co.jp/wcs/en/rate.php Looks like ~4.5% markup for CHF.

Similar rates everywhere, airport, in the city, except Travelex which has the worst rates.
thanks for the tip, so if I understood correctly, any bank operated currency exchange service at airport or in the city will provide a similar rate and that is the best option...?
The only one to avoid is Travelex...
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Old Dec 16, 19, 6:25 am
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Originally Posted by rosenkavalier View Post
thanks for the tip, so if I understood correctly, any bank operated currency exchange service at airport or in the city will provide a similar rate and that is the best option...?
The only one to avoid is Travelex...
Yeah, from experience, the airport exchanges in Japan definitely give a better rate than what is available in my home country of the US since all we (seem) to have are Travelex kiosks.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 7:07 am
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ATM machine.. take out what your think you will need for your trip, or how much per day your bank will allow you to withdraw.
(based if you are planning to spend cash only)
Japan is expensive.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 9:35 am
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japan can be expensive or cheap, depending on how you choose to spend

some 7-bank ATMs can charge a fee, though I havent recalled seeing one the last time

https://www.reddit.com/r/JapanTravel..._fees_in_2019/

if you have an iPhone 8 (or later) with a nofx fee credit card, you can use it to reload mobile suica which can be used in a lot of places (subway, convenience store, some fastcasual restaurants/ramen) but youll still need some cash
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Old Dec 16, 19, 10:20 am
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Two pieces of additional advice:

1. Before you leave Switzerland, tell the issuer of your card that you will be traveling to Japan. Otherwise your card may be blocked. However, more recently, I tried to put a travel notice on one card via the bank's website, and I received a message saying that the notice was unnecessary, because I had booked my flight with that card.

2. If you use a debit card, it probably has a daily withdrawal limit. Note that this daily withdrawal limit is applicable midnight to midnight in your home time zone. I don't know what the exact time difference is between Switzerland and Japan, but I live in the U.S. Central time zone, and midnight there is 2:00PM in Japan in the summer and 1:00PM in the winter. So if I make a large withdrawal in the evening, Japan time, I may not be able to make another one till the next afternoon.

It is irritating not to be able to use every ATM in Japan, but the situation used to be much worse. The post office ATMs were made compatible with foreign cards when Japan co-hosted the World Cup in 2002 and the 7-11 (or 7Bank) ATMs followed a few years later. Before that, you had to find a Citibank ATM, and they were available only in a few spots in the largest cities and at airports.

Before that, you had to use travelers' checks, and getting them cashed at a designated international exchange bank was an opportunity to see bank bureaucracy in action, as half a dozen people passed your checks from desk to desk, each person glancing at them and stamping them, before the final person handed you a voucher to be traded for yen at the teller's window after the teller called your name.

ATMs were commonplace in Japan before they were commonplace in the U.S., and when I moved to Japan in the 1970s, I had never seen one. However, each bank's ATMs accepted only the bank's own cards, and the machines worked only limited hours. If you needed cash at night or in the early morning, you were out of luck.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 12:21 pm
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If you're not planning to use the ATM as other suggest and prefer the money changer method, the Forex exchange at Narita airport arrivals has very competitive rates (prob 1 yen delta compared to the exhanged in downtown Shinjuku/Shibuya).
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Old Dec 17, 19, 7:25 am
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Definitely use 7Bank ATMs as you'll just get exchange at your bank rate. I do get charged some nominal fee (108 or 110 yen or something) but I believe it depends on the card issuer (and of course my retail bank dings me an international fee).
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Old Dec 18, 19, 12:41 am
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Many thanks to everyone who gave their advice, I think Iíll change some cash when I land in KIX and if I need to top up, Iíll go to the 7-11 ATMs...
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