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Japan Travel Guide

Find out more about the Land of the Rising Sun with our travel tips on where to go, what to do, how to get there and how to carry your travel money.

Top Places to Visit in Japan

Made up of an archipelago of 6,852 islands, Japan is known for its juxtaposition of ancient traditions with modern technology and subcultures. Japan’s popularity as a holiday destination has seen staggering growth, and for good reason.

From ancient temples and sumo wrestlers to robot bars and harajuku style, Japan has something for everyone.



The world’s largest metropolis; Tokyo's 14 unique districts offer a selection of shopping, clubs, dining, bars and entertainment options - ranging from traditional to the more outrageous!



Japan's cultural hub known for its temples, shrines, and geishas. Spared from bombing during WW2 due to its historical and cultural significance, the city’s small laneways are an ode to the Japan of folklore.



Japan's second-largest city, nicknamed “Tenka no Daidokoro” or “The Nation’s Kitchen”, is a food-lovers paradise. Whilst many flock there for the food, its cheap accommodation and historic sites make it a must.



Nestled between mountains, the city is home to Sapporo beer and the famous Sapporo Snow Festival. This Japanese city makes the perfect stop-over on your way to hitting the Hokkaido ski slopes.



Comprised of over 150 islands, and known for its warm climate, tropical beaches, and coral reefs, Okinawa is the perfect spot for an island getaway; or why not sample distinct Okinawan cuisine and experience trekking in lush tropical jungles.

Izu Peninsula

Izu Peninsula

Renowned for its majestic coastline, popular beaches, and hot springs, the Izu peninsula region lies approximately 100kms from Tokyo making it a great getaway when visiting the city. What’s more, Mount Fuji can be seen from the western coast of the Izu Peninsula!

Transportation in Japan - Getting Around

Travelling by Air in Japan

Travelling Japan by plane is both fast and efficient. Whilst not the cheapest travel option, Japanese airports and airlines are known for their great customer service and comfort. All major cities in Japan can be reached by plane, including many smaller cities and towns. Major airlines include JAL, and ANA Group (All Nippon Airways).

Train Travel in Japan

Train is by far the easiest and most popular way to get around Japan. Rail services in Japan are typically fast, frequent, and comfortable. Japan Railways offer rail passes (JR Passes) which provide excellent value for money for tourists looking to travel in between cities.

Consider Japan’s IC cards (includes Suica, Pasmo and Icoca) which are prepaid smart travel cards enabling you to travel via most public transport (metro, trains, buses, monorail) in Japan. This type of travel card is reloadable if you run low on funds and remains valid for up to 10 years. If you have children, they offer children’s Suica cards directly in Japan.

Buses in Japan

Cheaper than trains, travelling by bus in Japan is a great way to keep transportation costs down on your holiday. Bus travel is an option for both inner city travel in larger cities like Tokyo, and inter-city regional travel between towns. Bus passes can be purchased for up to 7 days of travel, but keep in mind that your journey will take longer when compared to taking a flight or train. Japan’s Suica, their transport travel card can be a convenient way to get around within the city on most public transport.

Things to Do in Japan - Not to Miss Experiences

Get Lost in the Sagano Bamboo Forest, Kyoto

Get Lost in the Sagano Bamboo Forest, Kyoto

Kyoto’s Sagano Bamboo forest is located on the outskirts of Kyoto. This forest is known for its enchanting, other-worldly - and instagrammable - atmosphere!

Harajuku, Tokyo

See Harajuku Style First Hand, Harajuku, Tokyo

Explore the buzzing streets of this district and see Japanese youth culture at its peak. Snap a selfie with a Harajuku girl, shop till you drop, or simply sit at a trendy café and people watch.

Mt Fuji, Honshu

Trek Mt Fuji, Honshu

See this iconic Japanese volcano from a viewing deck in Tokyo, take a leisurely stroll around it at the Fuji Five Lake, or even trek to the summit.

Onsen at the Snow, Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort

Experience an Onsen at the Snow, Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort

Treat yourself to a relaxing onsen - or hot spring bath - after a day hitting the snow on the Japanese ski slopes. Nothing better than the warmth of an onsen after a day out in the cold!

Immerse Yourself in Sumo

Immerse Yourself in Sumo, Locations across Japan

Witnessing the ancient sport of sumo wrestling in action is a once in a lifetime experience. Official basho (sumo tournaments) happen around 6 times a year in locations all over Japan.

Universal Studios™, Osaka

Take the Kids - or Reignite Your Inner Child - at Universal Studios™, Osaka

Explore life with dinosaurs at Jurassic Park, take a walk down Hollywood Boulevard, or let the Wizarding World of Harry Potter cast a spell on you – all at the first Universal Studios to be built in Asia!!

When is the Best Time to Visit Japan?

Japan has four distinct seasons each with its own customs and festivals, making it a great year-round destination. There are pros and cons to visiting Japan in each season, and deciding when to go depends on the type of holiday you’re after.

For more information on the highlights of what to do in each season in Japan, check out our Japan Travel Tips.

Japanese Currency

The official currency of Japan is known as the Japanese yen, which is abbreviated to JP¥. Adopted by the Meiji government in 1871, the yen comes in both coins and banknotes. Denominations of yen include 1000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen notes. As is common in many Asian countries, large quantities of yen are counted in 10,000s.

Japan is predominantly a cash-based society, so ensuring you have some cash ready for your trip is essential. If you're looking for security with your travel money, consider our travel money card for Japan. It can also save you money as it allows you to lock in an exchange rate, with our rates being better when you order your currency online or via the Travelex Money App.

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Japan Travel Money Guide

Planning a trip to the land of the rising sun? Because Japan is a cash-based society, it’s important to make sure you’re fully equipped with everything you need to know about exchanging, buying and spending Japanese yen before you arrive. We’ve rounded up the basics of using cash, travel cards, credit and debit cards, as well as FX and local ATMs in our Japan travel money guide.


  • Travel money cards can provide more security compared to other payment methods. Replacing your card if it is lost or stolen is usually easy as many travel money card providers offer emergency assistance and a card replacement.
  • You can order 2 when purchasing just in case 1 gets lost, stolen or damaged during your trip.
  • Having a travel money card may save you money, as it allows you to lock in the Japanese yen rates at time of purchase.*

Discover how you can explore Japan with peace of mind with our award-winning Travelex Money Card!


  • Taking cash out of your prepaid travel money card in Japan may attract local ATM fees.
  • Travel money cards may not be accepted in many locations across Japan, particularly in rural areas.
  • If you need to top up your travel money card up with new funds, it may take some time for them to appear on your card - meaning it's not the best option if you need funds in a hurry (however our Travelex Money Card allows you to top up and check your balance on the go with our Travelex Money App!).


  • Cash is flexible as it’s accepted everywhere in Japan. You can rest assured that with cash you won’t be missing out on any must-do Japanese experiences!
  • Unlike withdrawing from an ATM or paying via card, there are no hidden fees with taking Japanese currency in cash.
  • Cash can be better for your budgeting. Taking a set amount of cash with you daily may help you be more vigilant in not spending it all.


  • Carrying large amounts of cash may be unsafe, or may make you feel anxious. Luckily, Japan is known to be an extremely safe destination!
  • It may be harder to keep track of your spending with cash if taking all with you when going out to explore.
  • If your cash does get stolen while you are on holiday, there may be a limit to how much you can claim back on your travel insurance.


  • Credit and debit cards can be great for pre-booking experiences that can be paid for online.
  • Credit cards provide you with security and flexibility, in that you have access to a larger pool of funds.
  • Some cards may have a rewards points system when you use them to travel.


  • Many shops, restaurants and attractions in Japan are cash-only.
  • Having more funds available on your credit card may be a temptation to spend more than you can actually afford.
  • You may be stung with high currency conversion fees in Japan when using your credit or debit card.


  • Withdrawing cash from an ATM in location can be convenient. As you start running low on cash, you can simply find an ATM and withdraw more.
  • You do not have to carry large quantities of cash with you, which may make you feel safer.


  • Many ATMs in Japan do not accept foreign cards. You may have trouble withdrawing, particularly in rural areas or on public holidays when ATMs shut down.
  • There may be a range of withdrawal fees associated with withdrawing cash from an ATM in Japan.


  • FX ATMs make exchanging cash at the airport before leaving Australia easy. There are no forms to fill in, and it’s self-serve. Visit our foreign currency ATM page to find a Travelex FX ATM that dispenses Japanese yen.
  • FX ATMs are 24 hours, meaning you have the flexibility to purchase Japanese yen at any time of the day or night.
  • Foreign currency ATMs are extremely fast, giving you your foreign currency within a few minutes.


  • Carrying large amounts of cash around with you on holiday may make you feel uneasy.
  • If your cash gets lost or stolen while you are on holiday, you may have trouble getting it covered by your insurance.
  • Not all FX ATMs will dispense the currency you need.


  • Exchanging your AUD to JPY once you’re in Japan can be a good option if you’ve forgotten to do so beforehand.
  • Exchanging money once you are in Japan is relatively easy, with money exchange services offered at post offices, banks, and major department stores and train stations.


  • When exchanging outside of major airports, beware of being conned or scammed.
  • You may find yourself paying a higher exchange rate when exchanging Australian dollars within Japan – this will however depend on the currency exchange provider.
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  • A multi-award winning travel card | 5☆ Canstar rating for Best Value 2016 - 2020
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About Japan

Guides to Japan places and tips

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Historical Rates

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Receive an alert when the Japanese Yen has reached your desired rate

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