23 Japan Travel Tips




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Exchanging US Dollars To Yen

Exchanging US dollars to yen can be done right in the Narita and Haneda Airports, pretty much anywhere in the airport.

I even exchanged my Yen back into US Dollars right across from my departing gate on my flight back home.

The exchange rate at the airport is slightly higher, but is obviously more convenient. If you are in some more of the slightly less trafficked areas of the city, such as near any train station, you could save a little bit more on the exchange rate and fee.

Exchanging US Dollars To Yen - Ratio Of Yen To US Dollars

Exchanging US Dollars To Yen - Ratio Of Yen To US Dollars - Currency Exchange Narita Airport

The ratio of Yen to US Dollars is about 850% (it varies), but for simplicity, I just think of it as 10 to 1, so I can just move the decimal over 2 places: 100 Yen, in my mind, is 1 dollar, or rather 100 pennies. It’s safe to think of the Yen as the Penny.

When you exchange your Yen back into dollars, you can give the exchange bank your Japanese coins, but they cannot give you back American coins, only paper cash, and will have to give you back a few coins in Yen to round off the difference. Don’t worry about that.

It’s great to have some Yen in coins in your pocket as soon as you get off the plane on your next visit to Japan to grab a drink from a vending machine in the airport or virtually anywhere, and they are in fact virtually anywhere, even in the middle of a residential neighborhood on the main road or walking along the street to a temple, and definitely at a bus stop.

Exchanging US Dollars To Yen - Shopping In Japan

Exchanging US Dollars To Yen - Shopping In Japan - Tokyo Skytree Shop

When you’re shopping in the mall or large department stores, most places take credit cards, but depending on your bank, there could be a 1% or more international transaction fee that adds up quickly. My wife and I had a few cards from credit unions and credit card companies that waived the international transaction fee.

As my wife is an awesome couponer and loves to rack up rewards points and kickbacks from credit cards, we used our cards whenever possible, but otherwise had to use cash and coin Yen when on the streets, subway and with much smaller vendors.

Exchanging US Dollars To Yen - Shopping In Japan - Suica Card

If you don’t want to carry cash or use a credit card, many shops that don’t accept credit cards accept a Suica or Pasmo Card which is somewhat like a debit card that can be reloaded. You can use a Suica or Pasmo Card on the subway to purchase train passes.

 

 

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