Many of you are very concerned about the question “Can I use my international Credit or Debit Card in Japan?” If you are visiting Japan in future or very soon then this is an important topic to discuss about. A tourist like you could encounter some problems here in Japan while traveling around and use of international credit card is one of them. I have seen so many visitors around the major cities of Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama, and Sapporo that they run out of money while shopping, their credit cards were not accepted by ATMs, or cards did not work at the time of credit card bills payment.

Use your Credit Card in Japan After Reading this Post. Photo Credit: Ruben Schade at Flickr.

While on the other hand, accidentally they put their cards in an ATM and try to get some money from there but they end up with a sad face knowing that – My card did not work! The same thing could happen to you if you are not guided with some useful information regarding this topic. Don’t be confused much since I am going to solve this problem right away. I have tailored this post with some very useful information which leads you to decide whether you should depend on your debit/credit card or a lot of real cash. If you could cope with this situation alone then you should not read this entire post, just leave it alone and try to solve that on your own way. My words here don’t contain with wrong information, I think this post is what you really need to know before visiting Japan.

Which ATMs Do Accept International Credit/Debit Card?

Seven Bank ATM Booth in Japan. Photo Credit: Wayne Lam (Ramius) at Flickr.

If you have a foreign credit/debit card and you want to withdraw some cash in Japan then you have only few options left. Automatic teller machines (ATMs) let you withdraw money here but make sure you don’t put your card in all the ATMs you find across Japan except the following ones which provide international ATM service withdrawals for cards issued outside Japan:
1) Seven Bank ATMs

2) Japan Post Bank ATMs

3) Aeon Bank ATMs

4) Citibank ATMs

Seven Bank ATMs could be found at 7-Eleven convenience stores and other places with over 21,000 ATMs nationwide. When it comes to Japan Post Bank ATMs, it provides more than 26,000 ATMs across the country and they are installed at the over 20,000 post offices including super markets, and train stations. Your withdrawal limit per single transaction is limited to 100,000 Yen only from a designated Japan Post Bank ATM. Please don’t worry if you can’t read Japanese, in fact, the service (user menu) is available in English. You can find Aeon Bank’s ATMs at various Aeon malls across Japan.

List of Cards Issued by Overseas Financial Institutions

Logos of International Credit Card Issued Institutions. Photo Credit: Nemo’s great uncle at Flickr.

In Japan, you can withdraw cash from the ATMs only when your card is issued by the following financial institutions. Please before entering your card in an ATM; you check out the institutions logos or marks shown below. If your debit/credit card is issued by MasterCard then make sure you find its logo at the ATM you want to withdraw money from.

2) MasterCard
4) Plus
5) American Express
6) Maestro
7)Diners Club
8 Discover
9) Cirrus
10) JCB
11) China UnionPay
12) US Amex

Card with IC Chip in Japan

Visa Card with IC Chip. Photo Credit: Peter Hellberg at Flickr.

Nowadays, both chipped (requiring PIN) and non-chipped (requiring signature) cards can be found. I think you know which one is more secure to use while using your card to make some payments at stores. A card with chip is more secure and simple to use. You just need to insert your card into the terminal to complete your purchase. Sometimes, instead of entering your credit card’s secret 4-Digit PIN numbers, you need to sign (same signature that shows on the back of your credit card) when your credit card has an IC chip in it. This could be happened when the store does not have an IC chip reader terminal.

However, not all the ATMs in Japan which accept international card issued overseas could let you withdraw money if your card is chipped. For example, lately Maestro cards with chips don’t work at many international ATMs across Japan for both purposes withdrawing cash and credit card bill payment. So, before you use your card, please ask at the counter of Seven Bank, Japan Post Bank or Post Office.

When to Use a Credit Card?

A Grocery Store in Kanazawa, Japan. Photo Credit: Jun at Flickr.

Not every places of Japan accept credit/debit cards, we have limitation. Tokyo is a well advanced developed city in Japan. A lot of tourists visit the capital city all year round. Being a capital city as well as best tourist destination in Japan, it offers you to use your credit card at convenience stores, shopping malls, hotels, train stations, and for taxi fares. You would be pleased to know that, most of the taxi drivers accept credit card payment method instead of cash. If you decide travelling around Tokyo by Taxi then without having any doubt in mind you can pay your full taxi fares using your card. Please note that, even when you don’t see any notice of credit card bill payment at the shopping store you are going into, make sure you ask first. And some stores in Tokyo don’t show the logos of credit card brands they accept. So just show your credit card and if they really accept it they would take it.

It is possible for you to eat at a restaurant using your credit card in Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto but I always advise you carry some extra cash. Who knows you may need that amount of money. Most of the hotels located around Tokyo accept international credit and prepaid debit cards. You may find some Ryokan (Japanese Inn) which accept credit card both in Tokyo and Kyoto. Traditionally, it is better paying your Ryokan stay bills in cash.

When to Use Cash?

Girl Making Purchase in Stall at Sensoji Temple, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Louis Allen at Flickr.

Cash is accepted everywhere in Japan. I can tell you that you can use cash every time you want to exchange things with someone. It is useful, convenient, and some kind a very faster method of paying money to someone in Japan. Even though credit card bill payment could be accepted elsewhere in Japan, everybody wishes to get paid in cash.

You may require admission fees for entering into museum, parks, gardens, temples & shrines, Tokyo Disneyland, Zoo, and etc. Please, have some cash ready for enjoying and exploring extraordinary things including short distance train and bus journey. There is no doubt that, credit card is accepted as for paying taxi fares in Tokyo but you may not get this facility in other places of Japan. Therefore, I strongly recommended you to carry some cash.

It is unpredictable that small souvenir shops accept card every time you want to buy something from. In order to buy souvenir from this sort of shops I encourage you pay them in cash. Japanese street foods are very popular and can be eaten at any time you want except late night and early morning time. Don’t make him confused asking the seller that you want to pay by credit card. He/she won’t agree with you for sure.

How to Find ATMs in Japan?

7-Eleven Store in Kumamoto, Japan. Photo Credit: HaroGenki at Flickr.

How to find ATMs in Japan that accept international credit cards? It is a simple question and can be solved easily following and keeping in mind few tips.

I assume you all have your own Smartphone which could solve this problem using a simple App called “JAPAN ATM Navigation”. You can search and download this App from Google Play and App Store on your Smartphone. Please note that, this App would only allow you to find Seven Bank’s ATMs locations across Japan. Please find more info here. According to my experience, Seven Bank ATMs service is the best and the most popular one in Japan. In fact, Seven Bank’s ATMs are located at different 7-Eleven convenience stores across Japan. There is other option left which is the post offices you find throughout Japan. They offer you to cash out from their Japan Post Bank’s ATMs.

You also can ask public about where to find particular ATMs at different locations. And it is very easy to find them at major airport, post offices, and shopping malls. There are information desks at hotels from where you could get useful information to find nearest ATMs that accept overseas credit card.

Few Things to Know Before Using your Credit/Debit Card in Japan

Yes! You can withdraw Cash in Japanese Yen. Photo Credit: Nemo’s great uncle at Flickr.

1) Before using your international credit/debit card in Japan, please let your card company know it.

2) Some ATMs are unavailable during Sunday and other Public Holidays between 20:00 to Midnight. In some places postal ATMs could remain closed for 24 hours on Sunday.

3) Check out your card Expiration date before entering it into an ATM.

4) You can’t assume that you could purchase or pay bill with a credit card in Japan, so ask before you act.

5) You can find ATMs at the major airports, railway stations and departmental stores.

6) Please be sure to know per transaction withdrawal amount and its limit possessed by the card company you would be used in Japan.

7) Always remember your secrete 4-digit PIN.

8) Incorrect PIN errors might happened, in that case please contact the company that issued your card.

9) A fee will be changed for every single transaction you make.

10) Due to system maintenance ATMs may not be available.

Cash is the Best Way to Go

Japanese Yen in Cash! Photo Credit: Karl Baron at Flickr.

Japan is seen to be one of the world’s safest countries in the world. You are not going to be hijacked, people here are not lurking you to steal your money. Everything is fine and dandy. Japanese culture is different from yours so is the payment system. People here are more tend to use real cash than taking the service of credit card purchasing. Cash is the best way to go whenever you decide to go for shopping or pay bill at restaurants.

It is a custom going to market to buy something with cash instead of relying on a credit card. Having cash into your pocket or wallet is a lot easier here especially when you travel in a short distance or visit temple & shrines. While I guess, in western culture people like using their credit/debit cards much than handling cash. I do have very simple travel tip to you which is important for you. When you go to a temple, you see a donation box and visitors actually donate some money in there. In that case, your card can’t help you out, therefore I request you to carry a sufficient amount of cash to spend for a day trip in Japan.

ATMs of Postal Savings Cash Service and MUFG. Photo Credit: Nemo’s great uncle at Flickr.

Do you know that almost every seller in Japan want to exchange goods with cash. They don’t prefer credit card payment method much even though knowing the global demand of credit card usage they have this option available for foreign buyers. When you pay cash, they feel great! I have asked my friend from Kyoto who sells Kimono there, I asked her this “Do you like to get paid by cash or via credit card?” – She politely answered me “CASH”. It was a simple answer that I predicted to be so.

As Japan will host 2020 Summer Olympic I think use of international credit and debit card in Japan could be one of the fatal issues if the authority does not pay much attention to this matter. I assume government of Japan would take some effective actions for the Olympic visitors and smooth its international card payment system like other developed countries in the world. I am sure many business men and property owners are looking forward to 2020 summer Olympic, hopefully there will be more places where your international credit and debit cards would be accepted in future.

Copyright 2015 @ takkhis