Author Topic: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?  (Read 10066 times)

TheAnonOne

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Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« on: April 27, 2017, 07:49:13 AM »
So I've had a few Tokyo threads already, but we are leaving for Tokyo next Wed! (May 3rd)

I need to get some Yen now. I am thinking 3 to 5 hundred USD worth for the week assuming a lot of stuff in Tokyo can be CC based.

Where is the best place to get it? I bank at wells fargo, I assume they have some but it's probably an expensive option? I have not checked yet, bouncing ideas off of you!

Thanks!

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Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 08:16:50 AM »
Why do you need yen before you leave? Why not just hit an ATM when you land?

dcozad999

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2017, 08:21:59 AM »
Do NOT get it from your bank.

Never been to Japan, but Tetsuya Hondo's ATM advice is probably your best bet. ATM charges you a small non-account holder fee (buck or two) and then basically gives you whatever the current exchange rate is.

Last time I went to Bogota, I went to a currency exchange trader and actually got better than the exchange rate. Not sure that happens everywhere though.

Heroes821

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2017, 08:23:27 AM »
Do NOT get it from your bank.

Never been to Japan, but Tetsuya Hondo's ATM advice is probably your best bet. ATM charges you a small non-account holder fee (buck or two) and then basically gives you whatever the current exchange rate is.

Last time I went to Bogota, I went to a currency exchange trader and actually got better than the exchange rate. Not sure that happens everywhere though.

I got my Yen from Chase for no fees straight exchange, but it took a week to process why shouldn't he use his bank if they don't charge a fee?

dcozad999

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2017, 08:25:12 AM »
Do NOT get it from your bank.

Never been to Japan, but Tetsuya Hondo's ATM advice is probably your best bet. ATM charges you a small non-account holder fee (buck or two) and then basically gives you whatever the current exchange rate is.

Last time I went to Bogota, I went to a currency exchange trader and actually got better than the exchange rate. Not sure that happens everywhere though.

I got my Yen from Chase for no fees straight exchange, but it took a week to process why shouldn't he use his bank if they don't charge a fee?


They don't charge a fee. They just give you a horrible exchange rate in my experience. Last time I looked into it they were basically going to screw me out of $200 on the exchange rate.

Perhaps it's my bank?
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 08:27:59 AM by dcozad999 »

TheAnonOne

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2017, 08:31:43 AM »
How should i verify the rate? Just look at google while they tell me what rate they are giving me?

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SimpleCycle

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2017, 08:49:53 AM »
I agree with just getting it out of the ATM.  Know that not all Japanese ATMs take US ATM cards, but we had no problem at the airport.  Once we left the airport, the 7-11 ATMs are compatible with US debit cards.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2017, 08:51:39 AM »
I agree with just getting it out of the ATM.  Know that not all Japanese ATMs take US ATM cards, but we had no problem at the airport.  Once we left the airport, the 7-11 ATMs are compatible with US debit cards.
So maybe just get a little here and the rest at an ATM?

I absolutely want at least a LITTLE like $100 worth incase xyz happens, need a tax/train whatever.

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Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 08:53:55 AM »
I agree with just getting it out of the ATM.  Know that not all Japanese ATMs take US ATM cards, but we had no problem at the airport.  Once we left the airport, the 7-11 ATMs are compatible with US debit cards.

Yeah, the airports (both Narita and Haneda depending on where you're landing) will take US cards. Once you're out and about all 7/11's (and there's one on every corner) have ATMs that take US ATM cards. I think you can also count on Lawson's and Family Mart (like a 7/11) as well, but can't remember. But, do carry some cash as smaller places may not take cards. This is especially true the further off the beaten path you go.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 08:57:14 AM by Tetsuya Hondo »

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2017, 08:55:53 AM »
I agree with just getting it out of the ATM.  Know that not all Japanese ATMs take US ATM cards, but we had no problem at the airport.  Once we left the airport, the 7-11 ATMs are compatible with US debit cards.
So maybe just get a little here and the rest at an ATM?

I absolutely want at least a LITTLE like $100 worth incase xyz happens, need a tax/train whatever.

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If it makes you feel better, sure. But, you'll be fine without it. The train or bus (do not take a cab in Tokyo unless you want to hemorrhage money) will take cards.

dcozad999

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 09:37:48 AM »
How should i verify the rate? Just look at google while they tell me what rate they are giving me?

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There's free apps that will pull the current exchange rate.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2017, 09:41:14 AM »
Google says 1 to 111 right now. So what's a 'bad' deal?

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dcozad999

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2017, 09:48:33 AM »
What is your bank quoting you? 

Eric

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2017, 10:51:32 AM »
You have zero bargaining power when it's you getting currency directly from your bank.  They're definitely screwing you, even if it's "no fee".  When you take money out of an ATM, it's the rate that one bank gives to another bank and that's nearly always going to be the best exchange rate you'll find, not to mention that it's an electronic exchange so they don't have to deal with the physical currency.  Just use the ATM. 

If you're really worried, just bring USD and in an emergency, you can get a bad rate from a currency exchange booth, probably not much worse than getting Yen in the US.

Samsam

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2017, 10:58:45 AM »
My brother just came back from Japan with Yen and he went to the bank twice because the first person he talked to at the bank gave him a terrible exchange rate back to USD (like losing thousands worth on less than 10k vs current exchange rates).  I don't know why it was different but with the second one he probably only lost about $500 from the actual exchange rate.

VeggieTable

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2017, 11:30:54 AM »
I've traveled all over the world (including Japan) and never once had foreign currency with me before landing. Never had an issue withdrawing money from an ATM. Every single airport has an ATM that will take foreign cards. I realize I'm making a broad generalization and this may not be true of *every airport in the world*, but I've been able to withdraw money at every major airport I've ever been to in a foreign country.

My husband travels frequently to Japan and South Korea and never brings cash. Actually, I told him to start using our credit union ATM card to withdraw money because the Chase one charges a foreign transaction fee ($5!!!).

omachi

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2017, 11:58:26 AM »
First, Japan is a cash based society. You cannot use your credit card everywhere or even most places. Even in Tokyo. Consider yourself warned.

Second, bring USD and exchange at Haneda or Narita when you land. For some reason the banks at these airports offer very good rates. See:

http://www.narita-airport.or.jp/exchange_e/

Similar to same rates at Haneda, but they don't have an online page. Typically about 3 yen per dollar off the current exchange rate in both directions. Only issue is that the amount you can exchange is limited. But that's somewhere around $3,000. I found Mizuho Bank to have the best rates in the airport when I was there last, but look at the different places if you aren't in a hurry.

You'll generally save compared to typical card exchange rates plus ATM fees, even without foreign transaction fees. If you need to get more out later in your trip, 7-11 is everywhere and accepts US cards.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2017, 01:34:28 PM »
First, Japan is a cash based society. You cannot use your credit card everywhere or even most places. Even in Tokyo. Consider yourself warned.

When were you last in Japan? Because that's not been my experience. I used a card for the majority of my transactions, especially in Tokyo, with the exceptions of little hole in the wall noodle shops and the markets. I would be prepared to use cash in mom and pop restaurants or shops and more often in the smaller towns, but even then, it's never been an issue... for me anyway.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2017, 01:51:47 PM »
First, Japan is a cash based society. You cannot use your credit card everywhere or even most places. Even in Tokyo. Consider yourself warned.

Second, bring USD and exchange at Haneda or Narita when you land. For some reason the banks at these airports offer very good rates. See:

http://www.narita-airport.or.jp/exchange_e/

Similar to same rates at Haneda, but they don't have an online page. Typically about 3 yen per dollar off the current exchange rate in both directions. Only issue is that the amount you can exchange is limited. But that's somewhere around $3,000. I found Mizuho Bank to have the best rates in the airport when I was there last, but look at the different places if you aren't in a hurry.

You'll generally save compared to typical card exchange rates plus ATM fees, even without foreign transaction fees. If you need to get more out later in your trip, 7-11 is everywhere and accepts US cards.
Yea, we are there for a week and a half. I assume less than $1,000 in cash for sure....

We are only buying transportation, food and maybe some souvenirs...

(Im guessing we will use card when we can)

Fish Sweet

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2017, 12:00:24 PM »
I recently vacationed in Japan (October of last year), and IMO even in the last couple of years credit card use has become more widely available.  If you have a travel credit card, you should be good to go in more touristy, urban places. Wander out of the city though, and you'll absolutely want some cash on hand.

I actually do recommend getting it from your bank, with about a week's worth of lead time.  But please note!  Different banks will have different exchange rates-- my bank, BoA, gave me a pretty good rate and I converted about 1.2k with maybe $10 lost in the conversion.  My friend with Citibank got ripped the hell off.  If you're traveling with anyone, or have access to multiple banks, perhaps go "shopping" around a bit and see what your options are.  I understand you can do the conversion in the airport, or after you land, but personally I don't like not knowing exactly how much and what the conversion rate it until I get there.  Maybe save that for a last resort if none of your banks offer good conversion rates.

The yen is very weak right now, so this is actually an excellent time to go.

omachi

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2017, 01:06:22 PM »
First, Japan is a cash based society. You cannot use your credit card everywhere or even most places. Even in Tokyo. Consider yourself warned.

When were you last in Japan? Because that's not been my experience. I used a card for the majority of my transactions, especially in Tokyo, with the exceptions of little hole in the wall noodle shops and the markets. I would be prepared to use cash in mom and pop restaurants or shops and more often in the smaller towns, but even then, it's never been an issue... for me anyway.

Within the last year. We stuck mostly to eating in little hole in the wall places, shopping in the sorts of places you only really find in Japan, and generally ignoring all the things you can find anywhere in the world. While some places did take cards, there's just a lot that doesn't. Even things as ubiquitous as putting more money on a Suica card require cash. You're not getting admission to most of the awesome gardens with a card. The cool little shops were frequently only cash.

I only use a card in the US, so it's out of the ordinary to me to use cash. I definitely noticed.

Tetsuya Hondo

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2017, 06:35:07 PM »
Within the last year. We stuck mostly to eating in little hole in the wall places, shopping in the sorts of places you only really find in Japan, and generally ignoring all the things you can find anywhere in the world. While some places did take cards, there's just a lot that doesn't. Even things as ubiquitous as putting more money on a Suica card require cash. You're not getting admission to most of the awesome gardens with a card. The cool little shops were frequently only cash.

I only use a card in the US, so it's out of the ordinary to me to use cash. I definitely noticed.

I agree that you do need cash at a number of places such as the mom and pops, just not before you land. To me, you made it sound like Japan has never seen a credit card, and the children will run in horror at the sight of one. But, that's my fault for misreading your post. I realize my error now and that I have brought shame to myself and my family. I hope that you don't feel that seppuku will be necessary, and instead I shall just punish the liver a bit. [Cracks open another Sapporo] It is Friday night and we salary men have had a rough week.

omachi

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2017, 02:43:24 PM »
Within the last year. We stuck mostly to eating in little hole in the wall places, shopping in the sorts of places you only really find in Japan, and generally ignoring all the things you can find anywhere in the world. While some places did take cards, there's just a lot that doesn't. Even things as ubiquitous as putting more money on a Suica card require cash. You're not getting admission to most of the awesome gardens with a card. The cool little shops were frequently only cash.

I only use a card in the US, so it's out of the ordinary to me to use cash. I definitely noticed.

I agree that you do need cash at a number of places such as the mom and pops, just not before you land. To me, you made it sound like Japan has never seen a credit card, and the children will run in horror at the sight of one. But, that's my fault for misreading your post. I realize my error now and that I have brought shame to myself and my family. I hope that you don't feel that seppuku will be necessary, and instead I shall just punish the liver a bit. [Cracks open another Sapporo] It is Friday night and we salary men have had a rough week.

Haha, no problems. And Sapporo was fine, but I enjoyed that at least Asahi was getting into brewing beers that aren't just pilsners. Got a decent stout on this past trip. I also have no trouble believing there are plenty of places that take cards these days, and you could probably get by with just the occasional trip to an ATM if you weren't hitting lots of small places.

OP, however you get your cash, don't end up with a huge pile of coins at the end of your trip. The banks at the airport will only exchange paper money back into USD. You can always spend coins at the airport on kitkats or whatever, but then you're still spending them. A pocket full of 500 yen coins won't do you much good back in the states.

OthalaFehu

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2017, 03:57:52 PM »
I don't bank with Wells Fargo, but that is still who I used to get my Francs and Euros. they will ship them to you in the mail.

meghan88

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2017, 01:06:39 PM »
I check midmarket rates at http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/ to help keep an eye on the spread.

Eric

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #25 on: May 02, 2017, 06:30:04 PM »
I don't bank with Wells Fargo, but that is still who I used to get my Francs and Euros. they will ship them to you in the mail.

Not only getting them in the states before you go, but from a bank that's not yours?!  Ouch!  How much did you pay for that privilege?

Before your next trip, I'd ask that non-Wells Fargo bank of yours to issue you one of these newfangled ATM cards that the kids are using these days.  Then you can spend that money on crepes and wine instead of giving it to megabank.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2017, 10:32:37 AM »
Within the last year. We stuck mostly to eating in little hole in the wall places, shopping in the sorts of places you only really find in Japan, and generally ignoring all the things you can find anywhere in the world. While some places did take cards, there's just a lot that doesn't. Even things as ubiquitous as putting more money on a Suica card require cash. You're not getting admission to most of the awesome gardens with a card. The cool little shops were frequently only cash.

I only use a card in the US, so it's out of the ordinary to me to use cash. I definitely noticed.

I agree that you do need cash at a number of places such as the mom and pops, just not before you land. To me, you made it sound like Japan has never seen a credit card, and the children will run in horror at the sight of one. But, that's my fault for misreading your post. I realize my error now and that I have brought shame to myself and my family. I hope that you don't feel that seppuku will be necessary, and instead I shall just punish the liver a bit. [Cracks open another Sapporo] It is Friday night and we salary men have had a rough week.

Hahahaha!!

MMMaybe

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2017, 11:40:13 AM »
I pretty much never exchange money at banks before I go anywhere in Asia because the rates are horrible. You will absolutely find ATMs and I can't remember having any trouble. Japan is very easy to manage.

However, why not take a couple hundred USD and if you need to, you can exchange it. I always have some cash on me, in case the shit hits the fan. Otherwise hang on to it till you go home.

But when you are there, it is useful to have some Yen in your hand for the Mom & Pop stores.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2017, 09:43:50 AM »
Thanks everyone, I am now flying to Japan, I have some USD and checked the airport. They wanted to do a 1 to 95 ratio, vs 1 to 112.

On $500 you are losing about $100 of it and they wanted 10 to 20 bucks in fees!

Anyway ill find a ATM in about 16 hours and be good!

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OthalaFehu

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2017, 12:42:28 PM »
I don't bank with Wells Fargo, but that is still who I used to get my Francs and Euros. they will ship them to you in the mail.

Not only getting them in the states before you go, but from a bank that's not yours?!  Ouch!  How much did you pay for that privilege?

Before your next trip, I'd ask that non-Wells Fargo bank of yours to issue you one of these newfangled ATM cards that the kids are using these days.  Then you can spend that money on crepes and wine instead of giving it to megabank.

I only got the currency to hold onto as a hedge against movements with the US dollar, not overseas travel.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Need some Japan Yen! Where to get it?
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2017, 02:52:45 PM »
Op here.

After 11 amazing days in Japan, (litterally breath taking!) I can truely say that atms are the way to go.

I got money 3 times, airport, hotel, and 7/11 no issues!

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