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Changing Money


Before you come to Japan, you should change some money into yen.  However, you'd be smart to buy yen once in Japan.  Japan does a lot of trade in dollars and they have a better exchange rate once you are in the country.  Buying yen in other countries can end up costing you anywhere up to 30% commission.  The Japanese airport bank is a bit higher than the rest of Japan but it's probably still better than the rates in your country.  The larger Japanese post offices are better still and can also change currencies at a rate that's a little better than a Japanese bank. Your best bet is to get yen from your ATM card at Citibank or any of their ATMs which are open 24 hrs. and are in major airports in Japan. You can also go to any Japanese post office in the country and get Japanese cash through ATM cards in the Plus or Cirrus networks, credit cards issued by Visa International, MasterCard International, American Express and Diners Club, or debit cards in the Visa Electron or Maestro networks.  However, other cards will be virtually useless in Japan. Traveller's Checks give a slightly better exchange rate than cash but often you are made to wait a long time to get them cashed.

Preparation and Flight


  • You might consider giving someone you trust a power of attorney.  This allows them to conduct financial transactions for you overseas because sometimes you might need that person to access your bank account, driving records, business transactions, etc.
    Depending on where you're traveling from, the flight is extremely long and tiring.  Japan is 9 hours ahead of London, 17 hours ahead of California and 1 hour behind Sydney.  Jet lag hits hardest flying east and jet lag affects people differently.  The most common of which is being sleepy at night, but may also include malaise, loss of appetite, dehydration, headaches, mild dizziness or even nausea.
  • You might want to bring along some aspirin and eye drops, earplugs, eye mask and skin lotion for the flight.
  • Before your flight and if you haven't already, sign up with a frequent flier program on the airline you're flying to Japan on -- most airlines have them and eventually you can earn free flights through them.
  • If you arrive at the airport check-in counter early enough, you may be able to choose a better seat. One of the best seats is just behind the emergency door. This allows you to both stretch your legs and try and get some sleep.
  • If you need to use the restroom, it's recommended you go before the meal is served because it's usually in high demand once passengers finish their last bite.
  • Dress appropriate for your landing in Japan.  The rainy season is usually from June to mid-July and the summers are extremely sticky and humid. Likewise, the typhoon season is from August to September and may disrupt or cancel transportation service for the day.  The summer high temps can go up to 38C (100F), and the winter temps can be as low as -3 degrees in the southern half of the country.
  • If you use roll-on deodorant, you might consider bringing your own.  It can be found but not easily.
  • If you are worried about being able to adjust please read our hosted article on culture shock.


This page was last modified on Thursday, March 20, 2014 01:36:12 PM