Best travel money card for Japan

Japan is known for its futuristic attractions, with everything from robot shows to VR gaming experiences to enjoy. So it might surprise you that paying with anything other than cash can be tricky in Japan. In contrast to the UK, Japan is still largely a cash society and cards issued by foreign banks aren't accepted by many retailers.

While it's wise to travel with at least some cash on you, many currency exchange providers in the UK don't offer great rates on Japanese yen. A pre-loaded travel money card can be a good option, which will let you withdraw the cash once you touch down.

But which providers offer the best product for Japan? Here's our guide to travel money cards for the land of the Rising Sun.

Best travel money card for Japanese yen

The Post Office Travel Money Card and the Travelex Money Card are two of the best providers of cards that can be loaded with yen, offering competitive rates and no transaction fees. Make sure the travel card provider you choose uses Mastercard or Visa, as other cards (like Amex and Maestro) are widely not accepted even if they're a regular debit/credit card. Travel money cards can generally be used at stores and ATMs in major cities. Always carry cash as a backup though, as some retailers won't accept cards at all, particularly if you're visiting small towns or villages.

Where can I get travel money in Japan?

ATMs in 7/11 convenience stores and at Japanese post offices accept virtually all foreign cards. Both have tens of thousands of locations and can be found in most Japanese cities and towns, although many aren't 24-hour meaning you can only access your cash during business hours. As long as you visit during the day, you'll be able to withdraw cash.

Don't visit a Japanese bank if you're trying to withdraw cash, as virtually none allow withdrawals from foreign cards at their ATMs. However, if you see standalone '7 Bank' ATMs (which are run by 7/11), you should be able to take out cash.

Where can I find currency exchange in Japan?

If you do travel with your home currency in cash and decide to hunt down more competitive yen rates in Japan, there are lots of currency exchange shops. You'll find them in international airports, shopping centres (particularly in larger town and cities) and in Japanese post offices. Travellers' Checks can get you a better exchange rate but are only accepted in limited currencies at limited locations. If you opt for this, check there are definitely places that will allow you to exchange it, before you travel.