Dealing with Money
The Japanese unit of money is called Yen. Yen coins are ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, and ¥500. Bills are ¥1000, ¥2000, ¥5000, and ¥10,000.
Banks are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 15:00 and are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays. Convenient to KCP are Mitsui Sumitomo Bank and CITI Bank. The post office near the school also has an ATM.
Banks that exchange traveler’s checks may have an English sign that reads “Foreign Exchange.” The foreign exchange counter is usually located on the second floor of the bank. It often takes 15 minutes or longer to exchange currency at a bank, so please be patient. Bring your passport with you for identification.
Checks are not common in Japan. Most banks will not cash personal checks.
It is a good idea to inform your credit card company that you will be traveling outside of your home country before you depart. Sometimes, if a bank is not informed in advance, you might find that your credit card is blocked due to the banks fraud protection being flagged. If you let your bank and/or your credit card company know ahead of time of your trip overseas, they will note your account and thus reduce the risk of a fraud alert being set off by you trying to use your card in Japan.
If you do not already have Japanese Yen, visit the money exchange counter before leaving Narita airport. You can cash traveler’s checks at banks, but few stores or restaurants accept them. We recommend cashing approximately U.S. $300 initially, which should last for the first week or two in Japan.
Although exchange rate fluctuations happen nonstop, usually you’ll get a better rate in the country itself. Also, banks (or your own credit cards) tend to give the best exchange rate. Don’t carry large amounts of cash: ATM machines are readily available. Be sure to check your cards’ price limits and commission charges before you leave the U.S.