This is a wiki crowdsourced by the Monzo Community to help you travel with Monzo.
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Safe travels! ️
Japan uses the Japanese Yen (JPY).
Yen can be written as ¥100 or 100円.
Monzo users pay the MasterCard exchange rate with no added fees.
Card acceptance is slowly improving in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, however Japan is sill fundamentally a cash based society. While you are likely to find a mixture of magstripe and EMV terminals in most tourist places, carrying cash is still strongly recommended. Where cards are accepted, MasterCard is almost always supported.
When paying in stores, make sure to reject any dynamic currency conversion and pay in Yen, this will allow you to receive the best MasterCard rate from Monzo.
Often, when making a purchase, your initial authorisation notification and feed item will show in USD, then the final settlement will come through as a separate feed item in the correct currency of JPY before the USD authorisation is refunded. This is unfortunately normal.
While NFC payments are incredibly common in Japan (more common than EMV card support), Monzo cards will almost certainly not work as Japan uses their own contactless systems. For reference, you will see these marked as QUICPay and iD for bank cards, and Suica (and other IC transit network cards), Edy, WAON, and nanaco for e-money cards.
Seven Bank and JP Post ATMs have been most reliable for Monzo users, both providing an English interface. You can find them in many larger stations in addition to any 7-Eleven, Family Mart, or JP Post branch.
Citibank ATMs have also been reported working, though these are less common.
Payment and withdrawal limits
All Monzo cards have some payment and withdrawal limits. To check yours before you leave, go to your Profile section of the app and tap on Limits.
Pay particular attention to your ATM limits as you will likely be using a lot of cash.
Crowdsourced merchant data
Please help expand this section!
- Most prices in convenience stores are listed without the consumption tax, pay attention to the larger amount in a smaller size if you care about adding up the exact total.
- When paying in coins, try to get the last digit correct. It will save you from ¥1 coin hell later on.
- Many machines will only take coins above ¥10, but no notes above ¥1,000. Use the previous tip to get rid of ¥1 coins in addition to breaking down larger notes in stores or train ticket machines.
- A Suica card, PASMO, ICOCA, or other IC network transit card comes highly recommended. It’s very slightly cheaper and significantly easier than buying paper tickets on services that support it. You can also use the balance on these cards to pay for many things in the cities. IC card acceptance is significantly better than EMV card acceptance in places that deal in smaller amounts.
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