The unit of Japanese currency is yen. Coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen and bank notes in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen. There is no limit on the amount of any currency that may be brought into or taken out of Japan. However, if you transport (any currencies, checks, securities or other monies) exceeding 1,000,000 yen worth in Japanese currency into or out of the country then you must complete a customs declaration.
You can buy yen at foreign exchange banks and other authorized money exchangers. At the international airports, currency exchange counters are usually open during normal office hours. The current exchange rate as of October 2015 is £ 1 = Yen 183.
International credit cards such as American Express, VISA, Diners Club and MasterCard are also acceptable at these major establishments. However, credit card transactions are not always convenient outside big cities so obtaining cash beforehand is recommended when you travel to the countryside.
Foreign credit and cash cards can be used at Post Office and Seven Bank ATMs throughout Japan. Yucho (Japan Post Bank) –International ATM Service. There are over 26,000 Post Office ATMs in Japan and post offices which provide this service display stickers indicating which cards are accepted. Cards from the Cirrus, PLUS, Maestro and Visa Electron networks can be used. Accepted credit cards include VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club.
Seven Bank – International ATM Service Withdrawal of Japanese Yen at Seven Bank ATMs is also available for international cash cards and credit cards. Over 12,000 Seven Bank ATMs are placed at 7-Eleven convenience stores throughout Japan and the service will be given 24 hours a day in English, Korean, Chinese and Portuguese. Cash cards from the PLUS networks can be used. Accepted credit cards are VISA, American Express, JCB and China Union Pay. You can use MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus at Seven Bank ATM’s.
Although Japan is a relatively safe place to carry cash, travellers’ cheques remain the safest and most practical way to carry money while you are travelling. In Japan you will also get a slightly better exchange rate with travellers’ cheques than with foreign notes. Travellers’ cheques denominated in Japanese yen or US dollars are easily cashed at banks and major hotels. Many banks can also exchange cheques in Pound Sterling but cheques in other currencies are more difficult to exchange. Be sure to have your passport with you when exchanging travellers’ cheques. Travellers’ Cheques are accepted by leading banks, hotels, ryokan (Japanese inns) and stores in major cities. However they are not readily accepted as payment in stores or restaurants. Cash and credit card are the most common means of payment in Japan. Personal cheques are not widely used or accepted in Japan.