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Cash

London, England
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21 posts
6 reviews
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Cash

I have heard that cash is king in Japan and credit cards are scarcely used. Can anyone expand on this or give their opinion as to how accurate it is?

We will be in Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima. Am particularly interested in what we are likely to need cash for (e.g. will restaurants accept cards) so we can work out how much cash we will need.

Thanks.

London
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1. Re: Cash

"scarcely" . Hmmm, not true, but also not so far from the truth. Experience is that the Japanese are not so ready to take e-money as we are in the UK - the smaller the shop or restaurant, or the further off the beaten track, the more likely you are to find that cash only is accepted. I'd take maybe 50-75% of my budget in cash, then you can adjust what you put on your card as you see how your spending pattern works out, though if a large part of your budget is for hotels, then chances are catrds will be OK

Edited: 04 November 2010, 13:51
Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
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23,134 posts
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2. Re: Cash

cash is required for local transit, attraction admissions, convenience store purchases and small independent restaurants. You are visiting major cities, you are not going to starve or in any way deprived of daily comfort using credit cards.

London, England
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3. Re: Cash

Perfect - thanks

tokyo
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
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4. Re: Cash

Actually according to American Express Japan (AMEX also has huge operations in Japan with JCB) over 85% of transactions done in Japan are cash transactions.

Cash in the sense of e-cash, "cold hard cash" , wire transfers etc.

Credit cards are used for major purchases at major places. Department stores will take them, but your local coffee shop probably won't. The vast majority of train ticketing machines take cash only. Vending machines for other items take cash only as well. Restaurants are a hit or miss. Always look for signs near the register for the type of cards or ask the staff.

Kootenays, British...
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405 posts
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5. Re: Cash

I second what Bibimbob has to say. I'd only add that on my last trip (Oct 2010) credit cards seemed to be even more widely accepted than a couple of years ago. And that was travelling to some more out-of-the-way locations.

Ryokans may be one of the last 'cash only' holdouts. Check your bookings.

tokyo
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
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6. Re: Cash

While certainly the number of places that accept cards has increased, I often use cards at my grocery store now, the number of places that don't accept cards is still very high compared to say America.

Most fast food places don't take cards, regular train ticket machines don't take cards, most convenience stores don't take cards (the only one that did was LAWSONS stores).

Hotels and resting places will take cards.

I tell people to bring enough cash to cover all the basics (food and transportation) "just in case".

London, United...
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7. Re: Cash

On my recent trip I found that most restaurants, maybe 70-80%, took cards. I took £1000 cash, I bought half of that home with me as I used my card at every opportunity. This included viisiting the same locations that you propose.

Avoca, Australia
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for Rusutsu-mura
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8. Re: Cash

We don't bother to carry any cash into Japan from home, we sort it out when we get there (we just get as needed from ATM's, depending on location).

Edited: 05 November 2010, 00:08
9. Re: Cash

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