Updated: Jan 12, 2020
There are several ways you can get Japanese yen during your trip to Japan, these 4 suggestions are extremely easy.
1) Currency Exchange offices/machines
This probably seems like the most obvious choice when you first arrive in a country. If you take cash with you when you fly to Japan (and you should in case you have any issues with your card/s), you can exchange it for Japanese yen right in the airport. Tokyo Narita International Airport has 35 different currency exchange options, and Haneda International Airport has 7. Some are manned counters and some are machines.
You can also find currency exchange machines inside major rail stations in and around Tokyo. These include, but are not limited to, Shinagawa, Ikubukuro, and Shinjuku.
Currency exchange machines and counters can tout a bit more in fees, but they are a good option if you're not sure when you will next be at a cash machine or ATM.
2) Post Office ATM's (through Japan Post Bank)
Japanese post offices are a wonder in themselves. They all include the post for mail, as well as banking and insurance services. They're pretty complex, but in this post, I just want to point out that they have ATM's, at which you can use a foreign credit card to pull Japanese yen in amounts from as low as ¥1,000 to as high as ¥990,000.
You can use your debit card to get money from these machines as long as it contains one of the following logos: VISA, VISAELECTRON, PLUS, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express, JCB, China Unionpay and DISCOVER.
Balance inquiries are not available on these ATM's, and there is a small transaction fee.
To recognize a Japanese post office, you'll just need to look for a T with a bar over it, like this: 〒
The associated color scheme is usually red and white!
3) ATM's in 7-11and Family Mart
Yes, you read that right! 7 Eleven's are a big deal in Japan...nothing like their American counterparts. They are everywhere! You can use them for free wifi, bill pay, printing services, etc. etc. etc. more on that here.
But they have ATM's that will give you Japanese yen in increments of ¥10,000. That is about $100 (roughly). The machines are super easy to use and have an English button too :)
4) Most Hotels in Tokyo
Most Tokyo hotels offer some sort of currency exchange service as well!
During your time in Japan, you will definitely need cash. For such a technologically advanced nation, they are surprisingly reliant on cash in many places. If you want to buy something at large chain restaurants or stores, they will most likely take your credit card, but if you want to eat at mom and pop type shops or get some street food (which is the BEST!)....not so much.