Anonymous
Anonymous asked in TravelAsia PacificJapan · 7 years ago

How should I prepare money in Japan?

I am going to study in Japan for 4 months and I'm not sure how much money to bring in cash. How do most prepare money for going abroad? I'm going to need thousands of dollars so I don't think I should keep that all in my backpack or is that what most people do to save money on ATM fees? Do banks have options for people studying abroad? I am currently with coast capital in Canada and I also have BMO mastercard.

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  • 7 years ago
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    Believe it or not, it's perfectly safe to carry around cash in Japan, and it's recommended to at least have a few thousand (or more) yen on you at all times.

    When studying abroad (or any kind of travelling abroad), banks usually charge your card an extra 5% fee on all purchases. Some, but not all grocery stores accept credit cards, so it's better to have a lot of cash. However, since you'll only be here four months, it's not really worth it to open a bank account to store that money.

    I recommend withdrawing however much money you'll need for a week and carrying that with you to save on fees if you don't want to carry all the cash with you. Most banks charge a small fee (5% or $5 or something- ask your own bank for the details). It's a good way to budget as well!

    Alternatively, look into traveller's checks. These have your name on them, so even if they are stolen, the thief cannot use them, as you need ID to cash them out. Banks offer compensation in case of theft, as well. The problem with these is that they aren't accepted at a lot of places in Japan, so you'll have to get them cashed at a bank - probably the Japan Post Bank would be the best bet. Still, as far as saving money on fees goes, this is probably your best bet.

    Regardless, your first week here will be very hectic. I recommend carrying around $600 - $800 in yen with you the first week, the rest in your bank or in traveller's checks.

    Enjoy your trip!

  • 7 years ago

    You should check your bank's foreign ATM fees. If's it's a flat rate, you should just take about 1/2 of your planned spending money before you depart to Japan. And then when you run out, just withdraw the rest at an ATM in Japan.

    If it's a % fee, meaning it's like a flat rate + a % fee of whatever you take out, it's your decision if you want to pay for that % fee.

    I don't think that they have temporary bank accounts for students studying in Japan, as it is kind of illogical. What I did when I studied in Japan is that I just took about 1/2 of the money I planned to spend and converted it into yen, and then I just withdraw money from my debit card when I was in Japan when I ran out. The exchange rates are much better through the ATM or your debit card than exchanging it at a bank or airport, as I have realized.

    I'm not sure about Canada though. That is the case with the USA.

    The ATM fees at ATMs in Japan are very minimal, so not much. It just really depends on how much your bank will charge you in Canada.

    If you decide to take all of your money to Japan, it is perfectly safe to take it with you. But in terms of walking around, you should probably have a safe place to keep most of your money when you are in Japan, and only have a day's worth of yen when you are out and about in Japan. Just don't go flashing your money to anyone.

    The last time I came to Japan, I had a crazy amount of yen. I had 222,000 yen at the time. I thought I was crazy, but I really needed it for the start-up costs for my job. In the end, I didn't even need to use much of it, maybe only 1/2. The rest of the time, I just kept most of my money in my apt and used it little by little.

    Source(s): I live in Japan now, but I studied abroad in Japan twice while in college.
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