Withdrawing money エーティーエム
The keypad of an ATM distributor.
10 things to know
Please note: Most Japanese distributors refuse foreign cards ... Some tips for never running out of cash during your trip.
Card or cash?
It is very common in Japan to pay for purchases in cash (even when rather expensive) rather than by card. Moreover, many shops and restaurants do have the equipment to take cards...hence the importance to withdraw cash before shopping!
The Post ...
The Japan Post Office ATMs (which will show "International ATM Service") are common and accept major Western cards - Visa, Visa Electron, Plus, MasterCard, Cirrus, American Express, Diners Club, and JCB. Withdrawal limit is a comfortable 200,000 yen / day.
... Or elsewhere
Other options: Citibank, in large cities only, and also Seven Bank, within the konbini chain 7-Eleven (also in airports, hotels and some shops). This online locator shows Seven Banks everywhere in Japan.
If the screen of an ATM offers a key to access the English version of the service ("English" or "English guidance") it accepts foreign cards. Check out the video to understand how to use an ATM if you do not read Japanese ...
Post offices differ by location, but often closed at 5 pm (and Sundays and holidays, except for large agencies). Seven Eleven ATMs are accessible 24/7, as is any konbini. For Citibank, check out the list of banks and schedules for all of Japan.
MasterCard and MaestroPlease note these cards are more complicated to use in Japanese ATMs. The first is now denied in Seven-Eleven, as well as Maestro, the latest banned from post offices. When in doubt, ask your bank.
VisaCaution: the presence of a "Visa" logo does not guarantee that cards will work every time: Sometimes it is exclusive to the Japanese Visa! But holders of such cards can find a dealer anywhere in Japan through this interactive online map (ATM Locator).
Fees are often charged by international banks (a commission for withdrawing abroad, and in most cases, a percentage based on the amount withdrawn). These amounts vary considerably depending on your bank, so be sure to check before your trip.
Remember to inform your banks well in advance that you are going abroad and will be making withdrawals so that your account is not locked due to suspicious activity. And do not forget to ask your withdrawal limit: many cards do not allow more than 300 € / week.
Some areas of Japan have no or almost no ATMs. Do not expect to find any if you are on a pilgrimage across the island of Shikoku (except for major cities like Takamatsu and Tokushima), or trekking in Shiretoko National Park, or in a spa tucked away in the mountains. So think of the bill before you go to avoid disappointment!