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cash or visa in japan?

Calgary, Canada
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67 posts
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cash or visa in japan?

We are both travelling to Japan for 11 days and ten nights. Was wondering how much cash I should bring in pocket.. I also have a visa and was wondering if I should just rely on that?

What do you guys think is the best way in terms of saving from bank fees?

Thanks!

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: cash or visa in japan?

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2208.html

Make sure to advise your Visa issuing bank that you plan to use your card in Japan. Also check to see what your foreign transaction fee is.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
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56,585 posts
160 reviews
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2. Re: cash or visa in japan?

You will need cash in Japan. Credit card acceptance has increased tremendously in recent years that many mid-tier or above restaurants, shops and Western style hotels now take plastic. However, enough places accept cash only (including many privately-run ryokans) that you will need some cash. It's impossible to tell you how much to bring though since it depends on your spending habits. Therefore, make sure you have a debit card that lets you get money from an ATM as well.

Toronto, Canada
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37 reviews
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3. Re: cash or visa in japan?

Bring your bank debit card and take cash out of ATMs ar 7-11 stores, Post Office and at he airport. THa'ts probably the easiest way. Bring your VIsa card as well. Often a good idea to bring a small amount of Japanese cash (eg 10,000 yen) just in case, assuming you can find someplace in Winnipeg to sell it to you for a reasonable charge.

Always good to have 2 methods of getting money/paying expenses in case one or the other has a problem.

Edited: 14 October 2013, 17:47
Petaluma, California
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145 posts
147 reviews
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4. Re: cash or visa in japan?

As others mentioned Japan has been a very much cash oriented society for a long time and cards are not always accepted though they are growing in usage there are many places you will visit that wont take them. If you plan on visiting shrines and gardens many of these will require cash, many souvenir places as well and many restaurants only take cash.

How much you carry depends on how much you budget for various things. I would say 15,000 yen with you and cash back in your hotel as well to dip into.

You can spend very little or a ton in Japan there are many free and many expensive things to do so it is all about your budget and choices but don't rely too much on cards if possible.

Calgary, Canada
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67 posts
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5. Re: cash or visa in japan?

Thank you all for your feedback!

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
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24,046 posts
30 reviews
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6. Re: cash or visa in japan?

- You should never rely on only 1 credit card when you travel

- I never call any of the banks that issued my Visa cards (or MC or AMEX) before I travel, ever

- I am using credit card everywhere, not unlike any major Canadian cities, but I do carry twice as much cash as I would be in Canada

Baltimore, MD
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229 posts
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7. Re: cash or visa in japan?

"- I never call any of the banks that issued my Visa cards (or MC or AMEX) before I travel, ever"

What is your reason for this? My bank blocked my account twice last year while I was traveling in the US. Since then, they haven't. But you bet I am going to call my bank before I go to Japan.

Sydney
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97 posts
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8. Re: cash or visa in japan?

I'm also wondering about this after reading that not all Japanese atm machines take standard cards. My bank in Australia has a travel card that lets you input X amount of money in local currency (so no fluctuating exchange rates or transaction fees) and works like a debit/credit card. Can I use that in Japan?

Avoca, Australia
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for Rusutsu-mura
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3,739 posts
10 reviews
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9. Re: cash or visa in japan?

does it have a Visa or Mastercard brand, otherwise you may need to ask your bank.

Edited: 16 October 2013, 04:25
Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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56,585 posts
160 reviews
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10. Re: cash or visa in japan?

RE #8: You are probably referring to one of the Cash Passport products offered by various financial institutions. As far as I know, they give you an awful exchange rate. In other words while your exchange rate might be locked in, they charge a large fixed premium on top. The Travelex version, for example, charges 5.95%. This is worse than purchasing with most credit cards which charge between 2 to 3%.