Exchange money in Japan? It can be a major headache if you don’t plan ahead.
You should try to exchange as much Yen as you need on arrival at the airport. The main reason people are reluctant to exchange money at airports is the fear of being ripped off. The fear is valid in many parts of the world but is unnecessary in Japan. There are multiple banks offering currency exchange service at major Japanese airports and they do not gouge foreigners. The same cannot be said of independent currency dealers such as Travelex; so, it is these shops you need stay away from.
You don’t want to deal with the hotels due to exorbitant rate. When you are low on Yen, you’d better go find a bank or post office to do a trade. For convenience, you may also drop by a Seven Eleven store to withdraw cash from its ATM (Seven Bank as they call it). However, withdrawing cash from an ATM can be costly if you do it too often. We suggest you keep the number of ATM visits to the minimum and withdraw a large sum each time to save on fees charged by the local network and your home bank – these fees can cost you a bundle.
Try to avoid independent currency dealers at tourist districts and train stations. Recently, someone we know sold one hundred US dollars to such a dealer at a major train station in Tokyo. If he did it at a bank or post office (all closed by then), he’d have saved over 500 Yen or $5, enough to buy a bowl of ramen! And that’s just for $100.
If you join our of Japan tours, you’ll receive additional advice on exchanging money in Japan.