Japan Banks and Money
Banks in Japan
Japanese towns and cities have no shortage of banks, but the opening hours are restrictive, with teller services opening at 9am and closing at 3pm, Monday to Friday. (Japanese banks do not close at lunchtime.) However, ATMs remain open for much longer hours, and cash machines inside convenience stores accept multiple banks' cash cards.
Most ATMs are NOT 24-hour in Japan, generally closing at 7pm on weekdays and 5pm on weekends and public holidays.
Citibank Japan (which became SMBC Trust Bank in 2015) has 24 hour ATMs in Tokyo, Osaka,
Kyoto, Kobe, Saitama, Nagoya and Yokohama and other large cities, where you can use a Citibank card issued in your country to access your money.
Citibank Tel. 0120 504189 (24-hr).
ATM charges usually differ by time of day and whether it is a weekday, a weekend, or a public holiday. Most banks have tie-ups with other banks allowing transactions to be made a each others' ATMs, but for a higher fee. High street bank card transactions can often be made using convenience store and post office (i.e. Yūcho Bank) ATMs, but for a higher fee. Convenience store ATMs can also be used for Japan-issued credit cards.
Examples of different banks' ATM fees
The following are examples of ATM fee structures at some of Japan's biggest banks. Please note that depositing is subject to the same fees as withdrawing, and that sending money may be subject to higher fees depending on the account being sent to.
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Transactions are free from a Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ ATM using that bank's card 8:45am-9pm weekdays, weekends and public holidays, but are charged for outside of those hours (105 yen).
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Free on weekdays from a Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation ATM using that bank's card 8:45am-6pm weekdays, 105 yen outside of those hours and on weekends and public holidays. However, customers with a balance of 100,000 yen or more in their account enjoy free transactions all hours on weekdays only.
Mizuho Bank Free on weekdays at a Mizuho Bank ATM using that bank's card 8:45am-6pm, 105 yen 8am-8:45am and 6pm-11pm, and 210 yen 11pm-8am.
Weekends: 105 yen 8am-10pm, 210 yen midnight-8am.
Public holidays: 105 yen 8am-11pm, 210 yen 11pm-8am.
However transactions using a Mizuho ATM, or a non-Mizuho ATM for the first four times in a month, are free if you have more than 100,000 yen in your account, or if you are a Mizuho Mileage Club member who uses the Mileage Club credit card every month.
Yucho Bank (i.e. the post office bank) Transactions are free from a Yucho Bank ATM using that bank's card at all hours that the ATM is open.
Shinsei Bank ATM transactions are always free at both Shinsei Bank's own ATMs and Seven Eleven convenience store ATMs (24-hour).
Travelers Checks in Japan
Japan is still largely a cash-based society and it may be convenient to carry more cash than you would normally at home. Travelers' checks can be exchanged at most major banks with the Authorized Foreign Exchange Bank' sign, but are are not accepted as payment for any goods or services in Japan.
Bureau de Change in Japan
Airports have several Bureaux de Change staffed by English speakers.
Narita Airport, Tokyo, has several counters run by various banks throughout both Terminals 1 and 2 open daily between 6.30am (or a little later) and 11pm (or a little earlier).
Remember when exchanging currency that rates differ from bank to bank. Ask first and compare.
Current Japanese yen exchange rate information
Consumption Tax in Japan
Consumption Tax, or Value Added Tax, (shōhizei) is presently 8% in Japan, but will rise to 10% at a later date. This can be reclaimed on departure from Japan when purchasing items from special duty-free shops. You will need your passport for this purpose. Please keep receipts from your purchases and take your passport with you if shopping for duty-free items in areas such as the electronics centers of Akihabara in Tokyo and Den-Den Town in Osaka.
Tipping in Japan
Tipping is not usual in Japan. It is NOT customary to leave a tip in restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels or when traveling by taxi.
Insisting on leaving a tip usually only results in confusion and embarrassment. A smile and a "Gochisō-sama deshita" (literally, "It was a feast!"), will make your hosts much happier.
Post Offices in Japan
Following the G8 summit in Okinawa, Japan, Citibank teamed up with the Post Office to operate ATMs accepting foreign-issued credit and debit cards (Visa, Plus (), Mastercard, Cirrus, American Express and Diners Club) in 25,000 post-offices across Japan. Look out for the International ATM Service' sign and opt for the English "Visitor's Withdrawal" menu and instructions. You need your PIN and can withdraw between 1000 and 990,000 yen depending on your credit limit. This service is an excellent way to top up with cash on your travels in Japan.
Most post offices are open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm. Central post-offices open
longer and at weekends (Mon-Fri 9am-7pm; Sat 9am-5pm Sun 9am-12.30pm). (Central post offices' postal services, incidentally, are usually 24-hour.) However, the Tokyo International Post Office adjacent to Tokyo Station is open 24 hours
daily for all types of transactions.
Yūcho Bank (i.e. Post Office Bank) ATMs are often accessible after the counters have closed.
Bank cards & credit cards in Japan
Generally speaking, Japan is a cash society. Department stores, large shops, and hotels usually accept credit cards, and the more up-scale the establishment, the more likely it is that payment by credit card will be accepted. Conversely, most stores and restaurants in Japan do not accept credit cards. Payment is accepted in cash only.
Many Japanese convenience stores have cash machines which accept Japanese credit cards and sometimes overseas issued Citibank cards.
You can withdraw cash with MasterCard and passport at branches of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Citibank. In Japan, MasterCard is affiliated with DC Card. Offices near Tokyo station (Tel: 03-3211-8541) and Shibuya station (Tel: 03-5489-6021) Open 9.00-5.00pm
MasterCard international assistance number: 00531-11-3886 (toll free).
You can withdraw cash with your Visa card and passport at branches of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC).
To withdraw cash from an ATM using your PIN, phone the Visa International Global Assistance Center 00531-44-0022 (toll-free) for the location of the nearest ATM.
'Cirrus' or 'Plus'
Theoretically with a 'Plus' symbol () card you can withdraw cash at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
branches and some convenience stores (both 24 hours)
'Cirrus' or 'Plus' symbol cards can also be used at Citibank.
American Express has an office at Shin-Okubo, JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo. Tel. 03-3220-6100.
How to use a foreign-issued credit card in Japan - YouTube video
Cash transfers in Japan
Money can be wired c/o Azabu Branch of the Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Bank in Tokyo. A passport and contact telephone number in Japan are needed to use this service. (3,000 yen fee)
For further info contact Karen Sieg at: Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Azabu Branch, 1-10-3 Azabujuban, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106, tel: 03-3586-3328 or 03-3586-3811.
Overseas money remittance in Japan
There are numerous ways of sending money to recipients outside of Japan, using the services provided by banks or dedicated money remittance services. Read more about sending money out of Japan.
Lost Credit Cards in Japan (24-hour)
Mastercard: 00531-11-3886 (toll free), or 03-3256-6271, or 03-3639-4811.
Visa: 00531-11-1555 (toll free)
American Express: 0120-020-120 (toll free)
Diners Club: 0120-074-024 (toll free)
Police: 110 (See more Important Telephone Numbers in Japan)