Things you may not have expected when making payments in Japan
As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games draws near, cashless settlement in Japan is quickly expanding. However, the percentage of credit card payment among personal consumption expenditure is 17%. Compared to Korea’s 73% at the top of the list, Canada 68%, and Australia 63% (survey by Visa, 2014), paying in cash is still the norm in Japan.
If you are traveling regional cities, be sure to have cash
Even in Tokyo, where cashless payment is increasing, many private shops, restaurants, and station stores do not take credit cards. According to a questionnaire result surveyed by Japan Tourism Agency concerning what visitors from abroad to Japan felt difficult about while traveling was “the use of credit and debit cards,” which ranked high. In particular, when you plan visiting rural areas of Japan, it can be pretty difficult to find an automatic teller machine or a convenience store near your destination, so be sure to exchange your currency into Japanese yen while you are in a large city.
Exchanging money at a currency exchange shop is convenient and economical
Exchanging foreign currency is usually done at a foreign currency exchange services at banks or airports, but standing in long line can be wear you out. Recently, there has been an increase of currency exchange shops in large cities. For example, “World Currency Shop” operated by Tokyo Credit Services, LTD., a group company of major banks has been expanding, currently with 39 shops in the country. Each shop is located at accessible places such as shopping centers and in front of stations. Characteristically, many of them operate after 5 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays. Not to mention the U.S. dollar, they exchange 21 currencies such as the Vietnamese Dong, Philippine Peso and many more. Further, unlike long lines and lots of paperwork at banks and airports, you will get your money fast.
The rate of exchange is the same as Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, one of the three major banks in Japan, and the handling fee is included in the rate released on the World Currency Shop’s website. For example, the math of exchanging your foreign currency into Japanese yen would be “amount of foreign currency × rate,” quite simple. In particular, the rate for exchanging foreign currency into Japanese yen is better compared to other money exchange places, which is why the shop is popular.
To avoid the panic of finding out they only take cash when you go sightseeing in rural areas, be sure to check out the website below.
“World Currency Shop”
（English website on smart phones: http://www.tokyo-card.co.jp/exchange/
*The above information was last updated April 12, 2017. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.
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