ATM machine in Japan for foreigner ?
I just arrived to Japan from Narita airport heading to Tokyo but i forgot the most important thing before leaving my house, Japanese money ! All i have is my bank card. You wonder where is my credit card, right ? I decided few years ago to not use credit card anymore due to mt weak tendency os heavy shopping ah ah. So, i need to make sure i will find a bank that accept my foreigner card. Sounds easy? It’s not ! You would be surprised of how many bank has declined my bank card. Japan might be a high-tech country but if you go outside of the tourist area, you will realized how Japan is more local than you think.
So, I decided to try every possible places to test my card and show you the result so you, wont be stuck when you travel to Japan. I tried convenient store, grocery, shopping mall, post office, restaurant, night club, airport and even gas station.
Here the result:
Obviously, airport and any tourist area are safe to go to find a gaijin friendly ATM machine. Because it’s important to note that you need a english version of their bank, not just accept your card. How ever, as soon as you take a train to a more local area, you are stuck unless you follow these few advices.
Place to go
Narita airport and Haneda airport are completely different. Narita airport is one of the biggest airport in Asia. It connect to many other flight in direction to China, Thailand, Canada, USA, Germany, actually almost every country. Haneda still offer connection but less and the size is much smaller and the style is more Japanese style. Narita airport has million of tourist from so many different country, for that reason, finding a ATM accepting your card is 100% fine.
To make it short, airports are fine. As well as popular prefecture and cities such as Akihabara, Roppongi, Osaka and Okinawa.
So where are the ATM ?
In Akihabara (updated)
Akihabara is one of the most famous and crowded after Shibuya for tourists.
If you walk in this area, when you go out of the train station, you will have the choice to go right or left. Just go to your right and keep walking. To make sure you are in the right direction, you will see on the right side a Gundam Cafe,
if you see this then keep walking and you will see a light (keep your right). Then cross the street and look at your left, you will see a big building and this post office. There is a police office next to it.
Yes, strangely, post office have ATM machine, it’s very useful.
Once you enter the post office, go to the left and you will see 3 machine. Just insert your bank card right away and the machine will start to speak your native language.
If you are outside of Akihabara (Anywhere in Japan)
Let say you are lost in a very local area and you don’t find any big bank around. Here where you must look at:
7 eleven convenient store is the most popular shop offering 100% friendly ATM machine for foreigner. In English, French, Chinese, Korean and any language you can imagine. There is a ATM fee as usual like any other in your own country but it’s quick and very convenient, “they wear their name very well, convenient store … :)”. And luckily, you can find this shop in almost every prefecture.
Place to avoid
You will find so many banks with ATM machine that looks just like your bank but trust me, you will lose your time and even risk the machine to swallow your card for security matter.
Mizuho is found almost everywhere and even in very gaijin (foreigner) area such as azabu but it wont work either, they only accept Japanese card.
Here the biggest advice. Want to stay safe?
DO not use your bank/debit card in any bar in Roppongi (Tokyo). It’s proven, there are tons of warning about this over the web, just bring cash. Yes Japan is considered as the safest country in the world, however, this area is very unique. To make it short, Roppongi is controlled by African mafia and you wont be helped by Japanese police if you get your card stolen, mostly if you are a solo tourist unless you are very lucky. So please no card in bars.
By the way, if you are traveling by yourself, i strongly recommend to make a local Japanese friend to stay out of trouble. (You can try truelovejapan.com website, it’s even free and you will travel safe at least ..)
Recommended place for ATM machine
Convenient store, shopping mall and post office are 3 safe place for ATM machine in English. If you have any doubt, i can check for you anytime as i am living in Japan and traveling across the country regularly. Have a fun trip !!