Currency Exchange Tips for Japan + Where to Exchange Money in Tokyo

Money in Japan : Where to Exchange Currency in Tokyo

In this post I will share my experience, tips and where to change your money for Japanese yen when you’re travelling to Tokyo, Japan. It should be a good read for all travellers but most out of it will get Canadians, cause I travelled to Japan with Canadian dollars.

So let’s dwell into currency exchange topic and how to get most out of your home money in Japan. I will post some questions you may have and try to answer to each of them according to my experiences.

Let’s start with some common questions you may have when it comes to a currency exchange in Tokyo or Japan in general, and later on, I will share my best places to exchange money in Tokyo but also in Kyoto.

Should I Buy Japanese Yen Before Arrival to Japan?

Yes, you should! Why? It’s always good to have some cash on hand when you arrive to Japan (or other country). Yes, you can exchange some currency at the airport, but most probably you know that exchange rates at the airports are the worst ones.

If you’re from Canada (oh, Canada!), you most probably will get the best rate in Canada, so don’t be scared or assume you will get a better deal for your money in Japan, in most places… you won’t (unless you’re going to visit the places I share!).

So please, if you’re better at planning than me and are reading this post before leaving Canada (and most probably another country as well) do yourself a favor and buy Japanese Yen in your home country. At least exchange some, and if you have time and energy as I had to visit the best locations, then you may also take some cash and exchange it in Japan.

How Much Cash Can I Bring to Japan?

You can bring a million yen to Japan what’s around $12,000 Canadian dollars or around $9.000 US dollars.

If you’re not sure how much money you need for your trip, don’t worry you can always bring cash with you and exchange it in Tokyo or other cities in Japan, and we will discuss it in later part of this article.

However, it’s good to mention that if you’re going to bring cash to Japan, it’s better to bring $20 bills, not sure why (maybe they are scared it’s fake)… but $100 bills are not always welcomed in some Currency exchange places in Japan (it applies to Canadian dollars, might be also the case for different currencies but that’s just a guess). So to be safe, $20’s are better than $100s!

What About Credit/Debit Cards?

When it comes to Credit/Debit Cards, it all depends on your bank account but there is a big chance that you will have to pay some withdrawal fees when you use ATM’s (not sure about fees when you pay with them) and I believe the exchange rate is also not on your favor.

Yes, if you don’t care about the fees and exchange rate but you just need to know if you can use your Credit/Debit card in Japan – at least in Tokyo you won’t have problems but I’m not very experienced on that matter, I prefer to have and use cash in Japan.

Certainly, in many restaurants you will have to pay with cash and plastic will not be useful at all!

Where to Exchange Canadian Dollars & Other Currencies in Tokyo, Japan?

If you need to exchange your home currency, or especially Canadian dollars (that’s the only one I exchanged in Japan), here I’m going to share some of my favorite places in Tokyo (but also one great spot in Kyoto!) that offer best rates.

However, before heading to any Currency exchange place, make sure they take your currency. As most places will gladly help you with US dollars, Euros, Australian and Chinese money… not every place takes Canadian dollars.

Japanese people love Canadians (cause who doesn’t), but I’m not sure why Currency exchange people do not always take Canadian dollars, so if you’re using Google Maps to find the closest store to exchange your money, check if they have a website, that’s where you would find what currencies they accept (reviews could be also a good place to check).

Most currency exchange machines (yes they exist in Japan), won’t exchange Canadian dollars, and oh men… currency exchange machines do not offer good rates, maybe due to the locations they are placed.

Ok, so here they come…

My Favorite Currency Exchange Places in Tokyo…

Make the most out of your home money by checking there places in Tokyo…

“Money Changer” in Nakano Broadway Shopping Mall / Nakano Station in Tokyo

First when I went to this place I had a little problem to find it. It’s located on the bottom floor in Nakano Broadway Shopping Mall (but I approached the mall from the main street and that’s not the way to enter it).

The exchange rate for Canadian dollars here are very good and there are no commission fees to exchange money.

The mall itself is located around 3 minutes walk from Nakano Station so if you’re staying nearby it is a great place to exchange your money.

However it might be not so convenient to you to catch a train to get there cause so you will lose some money on a train ticket unless you exchange $500 Canadian dollars or more (well, depends on your other choices, sometimes you can make up the difference even when exchanging $200).

It’s open from 10:30am to 7:00pm, 7 days a week. It accepts $100 bills.

Here is the place on the Google Maps (best place for directions to places):

What’s Interesting around Nakano Station?
Of course it might not calculate for you to travel to Nakano station (one stop away from Shinjuku station by JR train) if you’re in Tokyo just for couple of days and every minute is very precious to you, but here I share 2 things you might want to see and eat while being in the area…

Broadway shopping mall itself is certainly an interesting place to check, especially if you want to buy a cheap backpack or shoes (Tax-free store), but it’s nothing fancy like stores around Shinjuku or Shibuya.

Next to Nakano Station (on the way to Money Changer), there is a cool clock, that’s changing into musicians that will play for you every hour (1:00, 2:00, 3:00, etc.). In winter time after 4:00 pm you will also see changing lights that make it more interesting (not sure if 4:00 pm is also when lights go on in summer when the day is longer).

Here is a video I made of the clock, you certainly can make a better video than that!

Also, if you love noodles…
very close to the mall there is also great Ramen noodles restaurant that I would highly recommend for Ramen lovers. It’s Aburasoba (Japanese Ramen Noodles with No Soup) and the restaurant is called “Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo” (油そば 東京煮干屋本舗), so it might be something new for you to try, but oh boy and girl, it’s so tasty!

Here are some pictures of the Ramen place, ordering machine and my dish (before and after mixing the ingredients)!

Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo : 油そば 東京煮干屋本舗 Ramen Restaurant
“Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo” (油そば 東京煮干屋本舗) and how it looks outside so you can easily find it.
Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo Ramen Ordering Marchine
“Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo” (油そば 東京煮干屋本舗) : Machine to Order Your Ramen. All in Japanese! In red boxes I’m sharing what I ordered and it was perfect. The extra thing I added was extra cilantro (left bottom square).
"Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo" (油そば 東京煮干屋本舗) : Aburasoba, Japanese Ramen With No Soup.
“Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo” (油そば 東京煮干屋本舗) : My Order Before Mixing the Ingredients. Do you see the size of meat? Was huge!
"Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo" (油そば 東京煮干屋本舗)  : Aburasoba Japanese Ramen (No Soup)
“Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo” (油そば 東京煮干屋本舗) : Aburasoba Japanese Ramen (No Soup) after mixing the ingredients, did I mention the meat was a huge piece?!

Here is a link to Google Maps of the “Tokyo Niboshiya Honpo” that will take you to the place. It’s 2 minutes away from Nakano Broadway Shopping Mall.

Let’s go back to currency exchange places in Tokyo. If you don’t feel like wasting your time on the travel to Nakano Station, let’s see where it’s best to exchange your money around Shinjuku Station, cause you’re going to be there while in Tokyo!

Best Currency Exchanges Around Shinjuku Station

Shinjuku Station, the busiest station in the world! It’s also very touristic, with many great shoppings, restaurants and of course with many currency exchange places. So, here are some of my top picks there and also why:

Tourex Currency Exchange : Shinjuku

They advertise themselves as the cheapest place to exchange money in Japan. Not sure if that’s true, but I believe they are one of the best places you can go to (also has great reviews!). It’s located very close to Kabukicho district, where “all the fun things take place”.

It’s open from 10:00am to 7:00pm, 7 days a week, but it happened to me that I found it closed when it supposed to be open.

Here is the map so you can easily find your directions there:

They also have other locations in Tokyo but also in Osaka. Here they have listed all their locations.

Mex Money Exchange

They have 4 or 5 locations around Shinjuku station, but even though they operate under the same name, the exchange rate may vary from location to location.

I can’t find them on Google Maps by name from where I am now, so I’m going to share their addresses. Just copy and paste into Google Maps and you’re good to go.

You just must be aware that they won’t take $100 Canadian bills (may apply to other currencies as well.

  • Nishi Shinjuku 1-2-13
    1. This location of Mex Money Exchange offered the best rate on the day when I decided to check them all MEX places in the area if that’s the case every single day… can’t promise that, but I would not be surprised.

    On the same street you will find 4 more (something between 3-5 + Travelex on the other side of the street but they don’t have good rates) currency exchanges, that’s why I believe the Mex Money Exchange in that location offers great rates, but it’s good to check other places on the same street as most of them are really next to each other, and the rate may vary quite a bit!
  • Shinjuku 3-23-16
    2. This one is located quite on the other side of the station, with quite good (maybe not as good as the previous one) exchange rate.

    However, I like it for one reason – coupons & touristic magazines! They have nicely listed coupons you can purchase there (restaurants, onsen, etc.), so it’s good to visit, take check the rate and snap a picture of the coupons wall, so you can always check if they have coupons for the place you’re planning to visit (sometimes you can save 50% on the price of Onsen!).
  • Kabukicho 1-18-6
    Last location of this company I’m going to share with you. I have never used it, so not sure how good rates are there.

    However, the location might be very convenient to you, cause it’s located in the most touristic spot in Shinjuku, very close to Robot restaurant, or Godzilla on top of the building, cause you’re planning to stroll around there anyway, right?

Currency Exchange in Asakusa, Tokyo

If for some reason you’re not in the Shinjuku area, but you’re on your way to Asakusa (most probably to visit Senso-ji Temple). You can exchange your money when you get off the train at Asakusa Station.

I checked on Google Maps but also on their website and not sure if that place is still open (I believe so). It’s called Sakura Exchange, and they have a small booth just when you walk up the stairs after leaving the train. Just I wouldn’t recommend travelling there just for the sake of exchanging money as I’m not sure if it still exists.

However, if you’re on your way to Senso-ji Temple, go for it and give them a try and if you do so, let me know so I can update this post accordingly. They also have locations in different cities, and you will find them in Osaka, Fukuoka, Oita & Okinawa as well. Check their website for details.

What About Ginza?

There are two places around Ginza that you might find great to exchange your money:

Ginza Exchange

I visited this place couple of times, and I was always happy with the exchange rate, if it’s the best? The best I could find comparing other places nearby.

Here they are on the map:

Exchangers Ginza

I have never used this place, I checked it on the way to “Ginza Exchange” and the rate was not as good as their competitor.

However it’s the place with decent rate and certainly “Exchangers” brand was my best place to exchange money in Kyoto, that’s why I decided to put them here… maybe on the day I visited them the rate was not as good as the other company, but if that’s the case every single day, I don’t know. They certainly have very good reviews!

Here is where you will find them:

Where to Exchange Currency in Kyoto

Most of my days I spent in Tokyo, but I also travelled to Kyoto to explore some temples, the first day I decided to see where is the best exchange rate for Canadian dollars in Kyoto, and most of the places around Kyoto station disappointed me.

But there is one place in Kyoto that offered very good exchange rate, and it’s also located very close to one of the places you’re going to visit anyway (I believe so), Kiyomizu-dera Temple (an Iconic Buddhist temple on Mount Otowa, with beautiful view).

So if you’re going there, pack some cash and exchange it at…

Exchangers Kyoto Chawanzaka

They also do offer Online Money Exchange, and have some other locations, but here is where they have their spot on the way to Kiyomizu-dera Temple (wow, I didnt know they also have so great reviews!):

Check their website if you want to exchange your money online or check their locations in different cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido, Yamanashi, Mie, Hiroshima, Fukuoka & Nagasaki).

You may check their rates on the website too, but I often found that many Currency Exchanges and their online rates often do not match rates in specific locations (especially true with banks!)

Can I Exchange My Money at the Bank in Japan?

Yes, and no. Some banks do offer currency exchange, and some not depends on the location.

However I found the exchange rate was never as good as in other places, even when on the website they shared very good exchange rate, after visiting the branch, the rate varied by around 8 yen per 1 Canadian dollar, so I really didn’t like that and gave up on exchanging my money at banks in Japan.

Please, share and pin the article if you found it useful so other fellow travelers can benefit from it. Also if you have any suggestions and comments just sent me an email or comment this blog post with your currency exchange tips in Japan.

Currency Exchange Tips in Japan for Canadians and Not Only!
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Luke

by Luke

There are many things I enjoy in my life and some of those things I share with you. It's my passion for photography, travel and online marketing, I hope you enjoy what I have to share and offer.

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