Cash Is King

While electronic money is highly developed in Japan, banking is still way behind the 8-ball. Credit card use is growing, but the concept of debit cards does not really exist in Japan. If you have a debit card with a VISA, MasterCard logo on it, you will be able to use it, however the transactions are run as credit cards, so many places add a surcharge to cover the high costs charged by Japanese merchant accounts (2-4% in general).

Japanese money is Yen, and there are Coins for 1-500 yen, and notes for 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000yen. 2,000yen notes were brought out for the millennium but are not widely circulated.


Most bank ATM’s do not accept overseas issued cards, so you are left to 2 main sources, Post Offices and Convenience Stores. Post offices in Japan keep limited hours, and often close on holidays, so the Seven Eleven and Lawson networks are generally the easiest to guarantee getting cash out.

Banks and Money Exchange

Hakuba Base Camp and Happo Information Center both have automatic currency exchange machines installed, but again you are limited to their operating hours.

There are 2 main banks in Hakuba. 82 Bank is the largest and located up the road from Hakuba station. Nagano Bank is located on route 148 to the north of Hakuba Station. You can exchange notes from most major currencies in these banks. Note that the ATM at these banks do not accept overseas card.

ATM, Money Exchange and Bank Map