Are you planning a trip to the sparkling metropolis of Tokyo and want to get to know the city with its impressive skyscrapers, the hustle and bustle and traditional way of life? Then you should inform yourself in good time, especially regarding the use of credit cards, before each trip, as Tokyo is a comparatively expensive city and limited financial means take away the flexibility during your stay.
Basic credit card acceptance
Although Tokyo, with its 23 boroughs and almost 37 million inhabitants, is the largest city in Japan and one of the most modern areas in Asia, credit card acceptance can be limited if it is not a credit card issued in Japan. For the most part, banks keep a low profile when withdrawing cash using foreign credit cards. Only the Japanese Post Banks provide a total of 21,000 ATMs across Japan, which are abundant, especially in the metropolis of Tokyo.
Since Tokyo is an international economic center and is visited annually by millions of business people from all over the world, many hotels are accordingly set up to international standards and require a credit card at check-in. Although every hotel room can be paid for in cash, security is common in many hotels by depositing a blank credit card voucher. In the event of additional costs that may arise, for example, from the use of a minibar, telephone calls or hotel restaurant visits, hotels use these credit card vouchers to ensure that costs are covered.
If you prefer small hotels and cheap guest houses on the outskirts of the city, you have to be aware that you cannot pay your hotel bills with a credit card. It is therefore always advisable to carry enough cash with you.
The same applies to payments in restaurants or shops. The rule here is that the more exclusive the restaurant or shop is, the greater the acceptance of international credit cards. As a rule, this is signposted at the entrance doors or at least in the checkout area.
Neither taxis nor public transportation are set up to pay by credit card in Tokyo. Admission prices to sights, events or the like usually also require cashless payment. Car rental companies, on the other hand, mostly insist on a credit card to provide security in the event of a deductible.
Which credit card is best for traveling to Tokyo?
Basically, all major credit cards can be used at the ATMs in Tokyo, which allow withdrawals from international providers. In restaurants and shops, credit card acceptance is often limited to the largest providers such as MasterCard, Visa and American Express.
When choosing the perfect credit card for Tokyo, however, you should compare the respective fees for payments and especially cash withdrawals in Tokyo of the individual providers. Some credit card providers do not charge fees for use abroad, while others often charge up to six or more percent of the total and again a few percent for the currency exchange euro-yen. Monthly basic fees or minimum sales per month / year should be a criterion when choosing a credit card and should also be compared.
So-called prepaid credit cards are based on credit and not only offer you good spending control during the Tokyo trip, but also in the event of theft and card misuse, the damage is limited to the existing credit on the card account. However, many prepaid credit cards are accompanied by high annual and withdrawal fees. Also pay attention to whether a prepaid card offers damage settlement in the event of unauthorized withdrawals by third parties and whether deposit insurance by the issuing bank is included, which protects you from loss of money if the issuing bank unexpectedly becomes insolvent.
In addition, special additional services from some providers can be quite advantageous for a Tokyo trip. Whether travel cancellation, foreign health and rental car supplementary insurance, various credit card applications include such additional services. Here you should consider in advance which additional services make sense for your stay in Tokyo.
Other payment options in Tokyo
Even if you shouldn’t do without a credit card in Tokyo for your own safety, it is recommended to exchange a few USD for yen in Germany in order to have enough money on arrival until you have found a Cream bank and ATM. US dollars are also accepted in hotels and most shops. In addition, you can also use travelers checks, which you can mainly exchange for yen in larger, internationally oriented hotels. These are insured even in the event of loss, so that you will be reimbursed the respective amount back in your home country, provided you immediately report the loss to the exhibitor bank.