Japan Currency Conversion/ATM

Feb 23rd, 2010, 07:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 40
Japan Currency Conversion/ATM

I will soon be heading to Japan (March 11) with 21 high school students. There has been much written regarding ATM's. We are travelling from Canada and will use ATM's where available. As it appears, from Forum reports, that ATM's are not the 24/7 beasts they are in North America, some students are considering bringing cash to convert. If they choose to do this, would it be more feasible financially to bring American over Canadian currency to convert. Or, would it be better to have the currency converted in Canada? Thank you for any responses, in advance.
Eibhlin is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 04:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 238
Back in 2001/ 202 / 204, I was working in Japan for short periods. I found that I could obtain monet by using the ATM machines at the POST OFFICES there . Please note, that the machines were sometimes closed on public holidays, and after certain hours. I cannot give any more inforamtion that this, but, knowing the restrictions, I was able to work around it and could withdraw funds from my Australian bank account there. The regular ATM would not accept my cards, but, POST OFFICE was OK..
gearsau is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 05:43 AM
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Don't buy yen in Canada - you'll get a poor exchange rate. Knowing how the ATMs work in Japan you should be able to get the cash you need as long as you plan ahead. In addition to post offices, some international banks have machines you can use.

While I normally use ATMs to get local currency, I do always take a US$100 or two just in case. It never hurts to have emergency cash.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 08:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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As a fellow Canadian, I would suggest not to buy yens in Canada for the reasons mentionned above. Instead, if these people absolutely must bring cash with them, Canadian dollars will do just fine - not a problem at all in my experience (and you avoid double conversion - into USD and again int JPY).

But, it is super-easy to get yens at the ATM at Narita upon arrival, a CityBank ATM as I recall, right there in the arrivals Hall.

Alternately, having Canadian currency in hand, the currency exchange counter right in the airport is also a very good place to exchange for yens. Contrary to Canada, the currency exchange counters in airports in Japan appear to be government owned and operated. I find that their rates are very reasonable, and light-years away from equivalent counters at Canadian airports where the word "extorsion" could come to mind by comparison.

It is true that it may be hard to find an accessible ATM at 3 in the morning, but I would imagine that these high school students would not be requiring one at such hours.

Enjoy Japan!
kanadajin is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:32 PM
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Good advice to not buy yen in Canada. Also good advice for not exchanging CAD for USD since you will lose some bit in the process because the exchanger has to make money.

But I think you have a good math problem for students who are holding both CAD and USD. Which do you use?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Feb 24th, 2010, 10:55 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 25
We went to Japan in 2008 and bought yen in the US. I will not do that again. The currency exchange counter in the airport has much better rates. We stayed in Shinjuku and there was a currency exchange store near the train station. They opened 9 - midnight and have the best rate.
vvshirley is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 03:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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It's one thing when you're traveling with a companion, and something very different when traveling with a group of 21 high school students.

Do you have any idea how much time it would take for 21 teenagers to exchange their $CDN at the money exchange office? Or even for 21 teenagers to get ¥ from an ATM??

Seems to me that it would be far more expeditious for each student to have exchanged $50-100 or so before leaving -- that will be enough to ensure that everyone will be able to get to their 1st destination in Tokyo. Surely the place where you'll be staying will be able to point you to an ATM once everyone has settled in.
DonTopaz is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 03:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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While it's true that the exchange rate in Canada is worse than in Tokyo, it's also true that it's likely no more than $2-3 difference on $100. Moreover, if several students pool their exchanges -- for example, have 10 students exchange a total of $1000 -- then you might very well reduce the exchange cost.
DonTopaz is offline  
Feb 25th, 2010, 03:02 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 40
I would like to thank everyone who responded. I should have added that we are flying into Osaka and flying out of Tokyo. I appreciate everyone's advice and must wonder aloud that if rizzuto's not a teacher/professor, he/she certainly thinks like one! Thank you again one and all
Eibhlin is offline  

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