One of the biggest problems I encountered in Japan was trying to figure out why NONE of the ATMs in Japan would take my international card. Seems like such a small, trivial thing – but having tried about 10 ATMs in cities like Osaka and Kyoto and failing again and again, I began to despair.
It turns out the ATMs attached to Japanese banks – so the standard ATMs you will find in every city – don’t actually accept cards from overseas. Not your visa, not your MasterCard, not your AMEX.
This can obviously cause instant panic if you’re in a foreign country with my money – as it did with me! But fear not – my failures and eventual successful attempts to get money will hopefully help you out of a sticky situation.
ATMs in Japan That DON’T Work
Unfortunately for tourists, especially those heading to Japan this month for the Rugby World Cup, getting money from ATMs can be tricky business and can be very frustrating when you first arrive in Japan.
I found that the ATM in the airport worked well – so I advise you to take out as much cash as possible here. After that, ATMs that are part of main bank chains will not work. I know this is very strange and confusing but there’s no point even trying, even in the main cities, as it seems no ATMs associated with the main Japanese banks will accept your card.
I must have tried 6 different banks before finally giving up and doing research online ton discover 7-11 is the place to go.
Which ATMs in Japan Take International Cards?
ATMs in 7-11 Convenience Stores
If you have an international card and want to find an ATM in Japan that will work, the solution is pretty simple. Go to a 7-11 convenience store and use the in-store ATM there. They are located all over the country and they all accept international cards including MasterCard and visa.
These ATMs are associated with “7-Bank” and are usually open 24 hours a day so you should have no problem getting Monet at any time of day.
ATMs in Lawson and Family Mart
I also discovered that a few other convenience stores has ATMs attached that also accepted my Irish bank card. Main stores include Lawson and Family Mart – which are convenience stores very similar to 7-11 and often open 24 hours.
Japan Post Office ATMs
Another place to try that I found out about is the post office. Apparently most post offices have ATMs attached, and these ATMs are also configured to accept international bank cards. The post offices ATMs are usually open working hours Monday to Saturday but many won’t be available to use on Sundays so better off to find a 7-11 ATM if you’re looking for money out of hours.
Apparently there’s even an app called “Japan Post Office ATM Finder” to help you find the nearest Japan Post Office to you!
ATMs in the main airports
The ATMs in Osaka Airport worked fine for me, but the minute I left the airport nothing worked. Sometimes the fees for using ATMs in airports can be extremely high which is why I don’t normalcy recommend doing this but in Japan is simply must be done.