At a very few cashpoints you can withdraw money with an internaitonal credit card. Even when the Visa sign is there, it is mostly for japanase visas. You need to know in advance where, in every city of Japan, you can find an interational atm. If in trouble, get to the Visa office, they can give cash.
As the capital of one of the most developed countries in the world, you might assume that finding an ATM in Tokyo that accepts international cards would be no problem. Even in much less developed Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and even Vietnam it is not difficult to find ATMs on the Plus or Cirrus system in major cities. But incomprehensibly, the vast majority of ATMs in Tokyo accept only local cards.
Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way late one evening in Shibuya after I blew the last of my Yen on some Yakitori and needed cash to buy a subway ticket back to my hotel in Shinjuku. Living in Singapore, where there is an ATM on every corner and they all accept international cards, I was utterly dumbfounded to find that not a single ATM in Shibuya would accept my American card!
In the end, my wife and I were forced to make the painfully long walk back to Shinjuku, where I finally found a Citibank with a 24-hour ATM that would give me a cash advance on my Citibank Mastercard. If not for that we would have been totally screwed!
Japan may be the technology hub of the world, but they are evidently still in the stone-age of banking.
Not sure if tip belongs here as a Warning or Danger, because as a smart traveller, you'd already know how expensive Tokyo is. I actually took a photo of this salon La Piece in Ginza to remind myself of how much everything costs and also to make a comparison with Kuala Lumpur prices.
Cut including shampoo & blow Y6,300
Perm & Cut Y12,600
Shampoo & Blow Y2,620
Actually, the prices were only 2-4 times higher than in KL, which is not too bad considering everything.
Money changer kiosk in Tokyo is NONE, basically you have to go to the back between 08:30-15:00, or you can withdraw with your cash card from any back with a high service charge. If possible try to solve the money problem before your arrival in Japan or at least before stepping out of Tokyo International Airport to Tokyo.
The most important thing is make sure you have plenty of yen when out for the day. Places to exchange money are extremely difficult to find.Most ATM's will not accept bank cards unless issued by a japaneese bank. Small businesses are resistant to accepting dollars in an emergency and although you may think you have enough yen it can go quickly when there are so many things you may want to try. Large Hotels can help in exchanging ,but if it is not your own be prepared for possible refusal.
If you're from the United States or Western Europe, find out where the nearest Citibank or Post Office is as soon as possible. Beware - there aren't that many Citibanks, although Post Offices are fortunately common. The three Citibanks I know of are in Shinjuku, Shinjuku-sanchohme and Roppongi. The one in Roppongi is easiest to find - it's right on Roppongi Crossing by Almond (don't ask, you'll know when you see it), although rather unusually it's inside a building on the second floor, so you have to take an elevator up from the street.
Why do you need to find a Citibank (or Post Office)? Because, in contradiction of what I've read elsewhere on VT, Citibank ATMs or Post Office Savings ATMs are the only ones you'll be able to draw money out of with VISA cards. Oh sure, most of the Japanese banks' machines have VISA symbols on them, but try to use them and your card will be spat back out at you and you'll be informed (probably in Japanese) that 'your card is difficult to read'.
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