If you don’t exchange any currency into yen before coming to Japan, you can do so once you arrive in the country. All major airports have exchange points in their respective arrivals halls. Even though it is possible to buy train tickets, take taxis, and pay for most other services on offer at the airport with international credit cards, carrying some cash is recommended. You will definitely need some during your stay.
Yen comes in 1,000 yen, 2,000 yen, 5,000 yen and 10,000 yen denominations and coins in 1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, and 500 yen. While the 10,000 yen note is equivalent to around 100 dollars, the note is generally accepted even if buying something small. Be aware that not many 2,000 yen notes are in circulation. They are accepted, but can be easily confused with the 1,000 yen note, so make sure you get the correct change after using them.
When entering or leaving Japan, a customs declaration is required if you are carrying more than one million yen in cash, checks, travelers checks, securities etc. Refer to the official website of Japan customs for a comprehensive understanding of any necessary procedures.
Japan’s four major airports—Narita Airport Haneda Airport Chubu Centrair International Airport and Kansai International Airport — have ATMs where cash can be dispensed. ATM service fees may be charged when withdrawing money, depending on the hour or day.
Foreign currency can usually be exchanged at exchange counters, banks, and some hotels, and World Currency Shops are dotted around the country. Exchange rates fluctuate daily in accordance with financial market trends. Currency that can be exchanged depends on the exchange counter.
Research the currency exchange options at the airport that you are flying into—Narita Airport (Chiba, Tokyo) , Haneda Airport (Tokyo) , New Chitose Airport (Hokkaido) , Chubu Centrair International Airport (Aichi) , Kansai International Airport (Osaka) , Fukuoka Airport , Naha Airport (Okinawa) .
You can also exchange foreign currency at major banks. Branches generally have convenient locations—often in front of train stations—however, be aware that many close at 3 p.m. Research the major banks in Japan—The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ , Mizuho Bank , Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation —and the Japan Post Bank .
Be aware that there are not many exchange corners outside major cities, however in most cases, large hotels offer exchange services. Alternatively, research the currency exchange services provided by Travelex and the currency exchange machine service by Nippon Express . Some discount ticket shops in urban areas may also provide this exchange service. For those unfamiliar with discount ticket shops, they purchase tickets such as concert tickets and train tickets, and sell them at lower prices.