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Why you May Miss out on Top Japanese Attractions

Japan is one of the most technologically-advanced countries in the world, so you may be surprised to hear that it’s also one of the most cash-based economies on the globe!

When traveling to Japan, having ample local cash currency will help ensure you don’t miss out on any amazing experiences during your holiday.

Japan is a Cash-Based Society

Japan is a Cash-Based Society

When compared to many other developed economies, credit card usage in Japan is low. While this is slowly changing, in many instances credit cards are still not accepted as a form of payment.

A study conducted by Boston Consulting Group found that a staggering 65% of transactions in Japan are still settled with cash1. In fact, it’s common to see people carrying tens of thousands of yen around in their wallets.

The popularity of cash in Japan is in part due to Japanese fear of credit card debt, and the high processing fees and bank remittances associated with offering credit card payment services as a trader.

This can leave some unprepared travellers in a bind, as many ATMs are also not open 24 hours, and are closed at night.

Using Debit and Credit Cards in Japan

Payment cards used in Japan often differ from those used in other countries. As such, many tourists find that their foreign debit or credit cards are often rejected when trying to withdraw cash from ATMs.2

Thankfully, cards operated by international banks such as Citigroup generally tend to work when used in Japan. Another avenue for cash withdrawal is using ATMs found in 7/11 stores across the country. However, availability of 7/11 stores may be limited in rural areas of the country, and some islands including Okinawa. All ATMs in Japan charge a fee for usage.

Using Debit and Credit Cards in Japan
Cash-Only Experiences in Japan

Cash-Only Experiences in Japan

So, what Japanese experiences may you miss out on if you run out of cash?

Cash only establishments can vary from small to medium sized restaurants, boutique stores, small shops, smaller local train stations, taxis and temples and shrines. This is felt more so in the countryside and in smaller towns rather than larger cities.

Some of the more famous cash-based experiences in Japan include:

Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto

Perhaps one of the most famous in Japan, the Kinkakuji Temple has been standing since 1397. Also known as the Golden Temple, this site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. Entrance to the Temple costs 400 yen, and is cash only.

Takeshita Street, Harajuku Tokyo

Takeshita Street can be found in the heart of Tokyo’s Harajuku district. It’s the heart of Japan’s teenage subcultures, and home of the famous Harajuku Girls. This pedestrian shopping street is filled with fashion boutiques, food outlets, and cafes. Cash is the main payment method accepted in most shops on this iconic street.

Osaka Castle, Osaka

One of Osaka’s most popular tourist spots, the Osaka Castle and gardens can be found in the centre of Osaka. The castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the man responsible for the unification of Japan. With an impressive view of Osaka City, entrance to the caste is 600 yen for adults and yep you guessed it, is payable by cash only.

Buy Japanese Yen

Taking some Japanese yen with you in cash will help you avoid missing out on once-in-a-lifetime experiences on your trip to Japan!


Sources: 1. Boston Consulting Group 2. Japan Guide -