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.
Please carry enough japanese yen with you, as it is very difficult and near to impossible to change money there. The few moneychangers only accept selected currencies. AND the exchange rate is very poor. While I could change 67yen to 1 Singapore dollar in my own country, while there in Japan, the rate was 62 to 1. You need to fill up a form and state your address etc too.
You can also withdraw money from selected atms. Doesn't matter if the machine says it accepts cirrus or plus, only one bank's atms accept international credit cards. That will be the Japan Bank. Look for the green JP logo atms at the post offices or most Seven Eleven convenient stores.
If you have to change there, do it at the Narita airport the moment you touch down.
Shinjuku JR station - from the west exit, cross the road to Odayku Halc. Beside it is a Mac, and beside the MacDonalds is the foreign exchange store. (updated May 2010)
Ueno - Money Exchange counter at the Keisei Ueno station. There's also an JP atm that accepts international credit card for cash withdrawal. (updated Dec 2010)
citibank - If you have a cirrus/plus card (credit card), you can also withdraw money from the citibank atms. However, citibanks are not as easy to find as in other countries. Shinjuku has it though, at the east exit, walk towards isetan, it's along the way. (updated May 2010)
Forget hotels. Big hotels change only for their guests and only US dollars and Euros. Nothing else.
All other areas: look for post offices or seven eleven convenient stores with JP atms (the green logo bank). See picture for reference. You can use your international credit card to withdraw cash here.
Credit cards use:
Big stores have credit card swiping, as do most stores in areas like shinjuku or shibuya. Only Visa or Mastercard. No AMex or Diners. Increasing number of stores accept Unionpay. (updated Dec 2010)
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.
Despite what your banks says, if you don't have a Japanese ATM card, you may have a hard time withdrawling money in Japan. Nearly all Japanese banks' ATMs do not accept standard foreign ATM cards with logos such as Maestro, Cirrus, and PLUS. There are two places that I am aware of that will accept them: Citibank ATMs, and some post office ATMs (look for signs in English saying they accept foreign cards). The Citibank ATMs are usually only found in major districts around Tokyo. The post office is scattered throughout Japan and has reasonable opening hours (9am to 8pm or so). Be sure to take out plenty when you have the opportunity. Most likely, you will spend more than you planned to, and the ATMs may not be available on weekends or holidays.
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.
The basic unit of currency in Japan is the YEN. When in Tokyo, you have to be very careful as things are very expensive. It's possible to buy cheaper things by being careful. But if make the mistake of going to an upscale restaurant or bar, you could easily get a $200 bill awaiting you at the end.
Credit cards are accepted in hotels and major stores, but their use is still not very popular, believe or not. ATM cash dispensers accept Visa, Mastercard, Diners club and American Express. It's important for you to know that many ATM cash dispensers' schedule are the same as their bank.
The easiest way to pay is in cash. Don't worry for your change, Japanese people are extremely honorable, specially with tourists.
I still get annoyed by this... In Japan, you can only get money out from ATM at Citi bank and post offices so when you see them don't miss out! I don't know what's the deal but they have a diffrent system that not corporating with the rest of world.
Strangely enough, I never had so many problems in paying with a credit card as in Japan. In many places they don't accept such paying method, only cash. And it's not easy to retrieve cash, either. So be well prepared!!!
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'.
A reminder! not all ATM machines in Japan in general and tokyo in particular, accept ATM cards from International Consortiums like Cirrus, Maestro, Discover, Plus, etc. Only the ATM Machines in select 7-11 convenience stores and in airports and major subway and train stations accept the international atm cards with a 400 yen surcharge per withdrawal, whatever is the amount. So you must have extra cash with you if you are in tokyo, don't be a tighwad as it is hard to look for these internationally recognized atm machines! also be sure that your credit card is not almost at the spending limit as the prices of goods here in tokyo are sky high!
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.
Please be kindly noted that Money Exchange is NOT a common spot in Tokyo!!!
As far as I know, there is 1 TravelTex in Shinjuku west gate. It locates right opposite to UNIQLO shop. To reach there, please walk across road and it hides behind a building. Since the demands might be A LOT larger than supply, the rate is VERY bad.
So to avoid loss from exchange rate, you could either get enough money before you enter Japan or get enough money before you step out of Narita.
Given the difficulty some have had getting cash from ATMs in Japan, I thought I would pass along something that has never failed for me: a Visa debit card at a 7-11 convenience store. When I say 7-11, I mean 7-11, not just any convenience store. I don't know about the exchange rate, but if you need cash, you might give it a try. Good luck.