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Travel Money & Japan

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w.footew.foote Forumite
4 posts
Hi guys,

I was wondering if anyone had advice on finding the best rates for travel money, and what form I should take it in, i.e. travellers cheques or cash or just take my credit/bank cards?

My trip to Japan in the summer takes me via Amsterdam, by any chance would changing my money in Amsterdam be any cheaper?

Finally, any money saving tips for Japan? I'm a student, going for two weeks in July, hopefully visiting Kyoto, Hiroshima and Mt Fuji and Tokyo obviously, so will probably get the JR Rail Pass before I go. Still need to find cheap accommodation.




  • A piece of advice I was given about travelling to Japan is that many places only take cash. Now, I'm not entirely sure how true that piece of advice is, since I was only in Tokyo but it could be the case outside of the larger city areas.

    Enjoy the trip - it's a great place. :)
    "Who throws a shoe, honestly?"
  • I've heard similar myself, thanks! However I obviously don't want to carry several £1000s in cash, will travellers cheques work over there?
  • lynzpowerlynzpower Forumite
    25.3K posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    you can draw money out of cash machines.

    IM trying to remember what I had. I think I just took cash with me, in yen and dollars and drew it out at the wall.

    Whether this is good value I dont know but that was before I WAS a moneysaver!

    they do take trav cheques tho, but take USD ones not stirling as people do seem to get confused IME with sterling TCs
    :beer: Well aint funny how its the little things in life that mean the most? Not where you live, the car you drive or the price tag on your clothes.
    Theres no dollar sign on piece of mind
    This Ive come to know...
    So if you agree have a drink with me, raise your glasses for a toast :beer:
  • Hi, I go to Japan 2-3 times a year. If you are staying in major city like tokyo or osaka then you can get money out of cash machines using credit cards, but you will be charged by you cc company. I always take t/c's. Nearly all banks have foriegn exchange counter, and you get a better rate for tc's than cash. You can exchange sterling with no problem at banks, and even some major shops will give you a rate over the counter to pay for goods, but the rate will not be as good....and only big shops do it. Nearly everywhere will take credit cards of all despcriptions, visa mastercard, amex etc.
    I use credit cards where possible then clear it off when I get home, but have t/c's for cash. If you are going out into the countryside then make sure you have some cash with you, just incase there are no banks , but this will be unlikely. One bank that give really good rate and take no commissions is SMBC and if you take american express travellers cheques, the there are some banks that cash them for no commission. remember do not take everything you have in cash, if you lose it then your insurance will only pay out some of it.
    Enjoy Japan, it is a fantastic clean country,the service is superb and the people fantastic...but it is also a little bit expensive, but there are always bargains to be had . Cheers
  • Hi Will, having read some more of your post, cheap accomodation will be hard to find in Japan, there are some cheap hotels but have never seen hostels or the like. Travel and accomodation are going to be you 2 major expenditures.
    plan you travel in Japan well, and if planning lots of train journeys then get a rail pass, as 1 trip from say Osaka to Tokyo on the bullit train (shinkkansen)works out at £150 return, so if you also want to stop off at Kyoto, and also go the opposite direction to Hiroshima then you will certainly need a bank loan!!
    Remember the rail pass starts the day you first use it so if you are travelling for 2 weeks then get the 2 week one. there are some lines that you cannot use it on, and I thing it is for JR (japan rail) trains only. There are hundreds of rail companies which run like clockwork, and are not too expensive. But if you are doing lots of long distance travel by shinkkansen then get a rail pass. Osaka to tokyo 2.5 hours , ordinary train 6-8 hours, 15 hours by bus!!
    The osaka, kyoto region is lovely, with places like Nara and Arishyama just out side Kyoto is like the lake district of Japan, beautiful in the summer. You could spend 2 weeks in Osaka region alone. Tokyo is a very busy city, worth a 2 day visit just to say you've been, but hell to get round and the rail station in Tokyo is bigger than the town I live in!! At least all the signs are in English as well.
    Hirishima has the shrine and what is left of a building near where the bomb exploded, but that 's can say you went.
    You will find lots of cheap places to eat, ramen noodle stalls, sushi etc these are shops in the streets, the japanese love a bargain, and waist nothing. The equivelent to a pub is called an Izakaya, alcohol tends to be quite expensive and it is that that makes a night out expensive.
    English is not widely spoken, but those who can love to practice there english on you.
    I will e-mail some friends I have in Osaka and see if they know what types of cheap accomodation are around japan and I will let you know.
  • cundallcundall Forumite
    859 posts
    Currently at work so i will have to keep it short.

    Lots of hotels / Hostels around £25 pppn

    Cash can get from Post office ATM's though 90% of ATM's will not work with an english card so keep an eye out for the Japanese post office ATM sign.

    You have to get a rail pass outside of Japan! Remember you can travel say from Tokyo to Osaka for £20 on the overnight bus so you might not need to the rail pass if you are only doing the places you have listed (cheap bus to Fuji from tokyo).

    In Osaka there is a Hotel not in a nice area though its about 2,300 yen a night from member for a private room,

    Its about 2 min walk at the most from the subway and only costs you around 50pence more to get there from if you were at any big hotel chain.

    Japan is great and not a £££ as what you think, check out the 99, 100, 300 and 500 yen stores.

    All the best and have a great time i cannot wait until i go back!
  • Guys, that was a brilliant help, cheers!

    Should I book accommodation before I go, or just find something when I get there, there are 5 of us going, so it would be handy if we are all together...

  • poe.tuesdaypoe.tuesday Forumite
    1.9K posts
    Minshuku are B&B's and are probably your cheapest option - usually giving you a meal or two - you should be able to get oneof these for about £25 per night

    Ryokan are traditional Japanese Inns - these are fab but the beds.... these are more expensive and go from about £35 per night

    I stayed in the Hyatt in Tokyo once and I was very suprised as it was only £120 per night and 3 of us stayed in the room - I know it's a lot of money for one night but it still seemed very reasonable to me given the Hotel and Japan being known to be expensive - I found that it was not that expensive as I expected for most things actually
  • blindmanblindman Forumite
    5.6K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    So w.foote how did the trip go?
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