Getting Smart With: Money Saving Tips In Japan

Planning on heading to Japan? Many people think of Japan as ultra-modern, and in some ways this is correct. But it might surprise you to know that Japan is still a very cash-driven society despite the ease of credit/debit cards. Here at the Currency Shop, we have your best interest at heart. We’ve compiled a list of money saving tips in Japan, just for you!


Money saving tips in Japan
Kyoto, Japan


There is only one currency accepted in Japan and that is the Japanese Yen. Be sure to get a good currency rate back home and arrive in Japan with the right amount of cash to enjoy your holiday or business trip.

There is no need to worry about carrying a lot of cash around in Japan, it has one of the world’s lowest crime rates.


Buying Japanese Yen for Travel

Exchange rates and fees will vary at each bank currency exchange outlet so it’s important to compare before you buy your travel money


Tips To Help You With Your Currency Exchange

To check out our top tips when buying currency, click here


Money Saving Tips In Japan

How Much Money Do You Need to Take to Japan?

If this is your first trip to Japan it is important to remember that not every business or ATM is going to accept a foreign card, be sure you’ve got some cash in your pocket. So, how much exactly should you bring?

Japan is a relatively expensive country, but how much you bring is down to your personal taste and plans. Here are some general guidelines:


DAILY BUDGET (Tokyo) Low (¥8000) Mid (¥8000-20,000) High (¥20,000 >)

¥2800 per night

Standard hotel

¥12,000 per night

Luxury hotel

from ¥35,000 per night

Bowl of noodles


Dinner at an Izakaya

¥3000 per person

High end sushi tasting menu

¥15,000 per person


¥240 (12-19km)


¥310 (28-40km)


¥20,340 (Narita Airport to Tokyo Station)

*All prices are estimated in Japanese Yen


Travel money cards, debit cards, and credit cards

While travelers from the rest of the world have been using prepaid travel cards for years, they are a relatively new phenomenon for Americans. These cards are easily replaced if lost and can be loaded with multiple currencies if you plan to hop to a few Asian countries. The cash passport card line offers 3 options that all work for Japanese Yen.

Credit cards should be thought of as a backup plan in Japan. You’ll be able to use them at major businesses and retailers but not at most small ones. 

Debit cards face the same issue as credit card and in terms of utilizing them to keep a stream of cash going, the exchange rate and foreign transaction fees don’t make them a very cost efficient method.

Best bet is likely to exchange dollars for Yen before you leave home or once you arrive in Japan. The percentage exchange rate typically ranges from 1-3%.

For further information on how to access your money most safely and cheaply in Japan talk to one of our travel money experts at The Currency Shop.

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