Japan - Traveller's Cheques or Yen?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by janjan, Mar 20, 2007.

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  1. janjan

    janjan Newbie

    Nov 19, 2003
    We are going on our first trip to Japan and I am wondering if it is necessary to take Traveller's Cheques anymore. I've already checked and all our hotels will take CC's.

    If we need Traveller's Cheques as a stand-by in an emergency, what is the cheapest way to buy them and exchange them back home again if they aren't used?

    We both have ANZ FF Platinum Credit Cards and Amex Platinum Cards. We also bank with ANZ.

    If we need to take some Yen, what is the cheapest place to buy Yen in Australia - ANZ, another bank or somewhere else?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. Evan

    Evan Established Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    SIN / MEL
    Cash and Card, no T-cheques.

    Cards are widely accepted but often only the postal ATM's accept AU cards for cash. I have also had situations even in the last few months that Amex worked at one train station and then not the next so just gave my Visa and the reverse has happened, maybe they were doing something wrong but just be aware you may get the odd transaction rejected.

    Cash is always welcomed anywhere and is common for most things like dinners.

    I just buy at ANZ because i bank with them and can do it at the airport but i then get cash from ATM's once there.

  3. sammy

    sammy Intern

    Sep 27, 2005
    I've lived in Tokyo for the past six years.

    Travellers cheques are pretty much more hassle than they're worth, attract poor exchange rates and not used much any more.

    Check yor bank ATM cards - look for a cirrus or maestro logo. These are international systems that allow you to withdraw from your home account at ATMs for a pretty good exchange rate. Have a look at ATMs in Australia and you'll notice that many have this symbol. I use it all the time when in Oz/Europe?US to get money out of my Japanese accounts.
    Pop inside your bank and ask if you're unsure.
    Japan is quite a bit safer than Aust, so its ok to carry large amounts of cash. Of course, you should still be careful.
    If you get off the tourist track, you will find many shops or restaurants don't take credit cards, so its always handy to carry some cash.
    Some ATMs are not in romaji (our alphabet), but this is improving all the time. If thats a problem, look for citibank machines or machines inside Lawsons convenience stores.
  4. janjan

    janjan Newbie

    Nov 19, 2003
    Thanks for your replies - some very helpful tips there!

    As it's my first time in Japan, I am playing it safe.

    I have purchased some Yen in advance and some TT's to shove in the suitcase "just in case". I was reading some reports about ATMs being down or closed and the person being stranded for a day with no cash. It brought back memories of a similar event which happened to us on a Sunday afternoon in Paris. In the event that everything is closed, a large hotel which can cash a TT - even at a bad rate - sounds like a good deal.

    As we are arriving at Narita late at night and need to dash to get to Tokyo, I thought it best not to have to find then wrestle with an ATM, especially one which doesn't like my cards!

    I have to mention that using the Amex online foreign currency ordering system is fantastic for convenience. I just ordered the Yen and the TT at midnight last night, paid by BPay with the ANZ FF card (to get the points), and can go to my local post office to pick up the currency after about 4 days. I didn't even bother checking exchange rate (except to see it was better than at an ANZ branch plus whose fees were higher), and the only visible fee was $8AUD on the cash and nothing on the TT's.
  5. Fifa

    Fifa Established Member

    Sep 17, 2006
    We took our family of 5 (incl 3 kids aged 20, 18 & 15) skiing and sightseeing in Japan for 3 fantastic weeks in Jan/Feb 2006.
    We paid cash for 2 weeks of our accommodation and for all our meals, sightseeing and ski lift tickets. I took half the money in yen and the other half in AU$ travellers cheques. Contrary to what a previous poster stated, we changed these at various Post Offices (in Sapporo, Otaru, Kutchan and Tokyo) which gave extremely good exchange rates (better than the best we could get in Australia) and without a problem. Post offices even supply reading glasses on their counters for customer use!!! :D
  6. HardieBoys

    HardieBoys Member

    Sep 28, 2003
    Cash and cards. Whilst it was my experience that foreign ATM cards were not accepted everywhere, it wasn't that inconvenient either. There are Citibank ATMs around the place that are easy to spot (and I'm sure that you can locate them online). The issue of walking around with lots of cash isn't a problem, so just take out $500 at a time or so (unless there's a group of you, in which case, take out more). I was last in Japan just over 2 years ago, when $AUD 1 - Y 76, and thought that prices seemed quite comparable compared with Sydney (and certainly much cheaper than the UK). I'd love to be there now, with $AUD 1 = Y 94.
  7. janjan

    janjan Newbie

    Nov 19, 2003
    Yes, the exchange rate is very nice at the moment! Thanks for all your replies folks. I feel better about it all now. I feel covered with a range of cards, some cash and a few TT's to stash away.
  8. BlacKnox

    BlacKnox Active Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    I see we have another skier/ snow boarder on the board :D .

    Sammy made some good points and t/c attractiveness depends on where you're travelling. E.g. there's only one Citibank ATM outlet in Hokkaido (on ekimaedori) so for travelling in Otaru, Kutchan etc t/c are ok. But if you're restricting travel to the majors (Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka...) then there's plenty of banking outlets to access funds at better rates via ATM.

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