Tokyo and Surroundings:Currency Exchange Shops
As the number of foreign visitors to Japan increases, so too is the number of currency exchange shops in towns. Japan is still largely a cash-based society, and many stores only accept payment in cash, so you can travel more confidently with yen in your wallet. Even places that accept credit cards might only accept those from certain companies, and there are many cases where cards cannot be used during lunch time. When you need to pay for meals for just yourselves, or make small purchases, it is better to have cash ready.
The main facilities for exchanging currency are airports, banks, and hotels. Bank hours are limited, and they are closed on some days. Hotels often charge steep fees and waiting times can be long when the reception desk is busy. However, currency exchange shops are open on weekends and are conveniently located close to busy shopping areas.
You will need your passport wherever you decide to exchange currency, so don’t forget to bring it with you. It is best to order a mix of 10,000-yen notes and 1,000-yen notes. Small and mid-sized businesses sometimes run out of 5,000 and 1,000-yen notes, particularly in busier seasons, and may not have enough change for 10,000 yen, so having smaller bills can make payments smoother and more considerate.