Niigata's Murakami City: Enjoy Fun Events, Sightseeing, and Local Cuisine!

Using Credit Cards in Japan: A Guide to Money During Your Trip

This service includes sponsored advertisements.
article thumbnail image

Before international travel, many of us wonder if we can use credit cards and how much money we need to exchange. Here’s a guide on where credit cards can be used, how much money you should convert, and what to do when you run out of cash in Japan!

Latest update :

Credit Cards in Japan - Things To Know Before You Travel!

credit card in japan

One thing that may run through many peoples' minds before an international trip is this: "Will I be able to use my credit card?” Credit cards can of course be used in Japan. However, the usage rate of credit cards here is low when compared to other developed nations and Western countries.

In Japan, there are many instances where credit cards can’t be used depending on the location. As such, we have created a guide on places where credit cards are able to be used and what to do when you run out of cash.

The information in the article applies to those using debit cards, as well.

Using Credit Cards in Japan

- Credit Card Usage in Japan
- Where You Can and Can't Use Credit Cards in Japan
- Major Cards Usable In Japan
- How to Get Yen at ATMs in Japan
- How to Get Yen at Currency Exchange Spots in Japan
- How to Use a Debit Card in Japan

Credit Card Usage in Japan

A Guide To Credit Card-Friendly Spots, Major Cards, Currency Exchange, And More

Japan has a low credit card usage rate when compared to the West. According to a 2016 report, results revealed that 84% percent of people in Japan own credit cards, and the use of electronic money, including credit cards and IC cards (rechargeable cards), is 66% (JCB, General Credit Card Study in 2016, reported in Japanese).

In this way, Japan is still a firmly rooted cash-based society with many people who pay by cash despite having a credit card. There are several stores where credit cards can be used in major cities and tourist areas such as Tokyo and Osaka. However, individual-owned stores in the suburbs and countryside, and places with entrance fees such as Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and castles are cash only.

Though credit cards have become commonplace, it is safer to bring cash along with your credit cards when traveling in Japan.

Where You Can and Can't Use Credit Cards in Japan

You may run into situations when you find you can’t use your credit card when you try paying with one. This section introduces places where credit cards can be used.

Pay Attention to Buses and Private Taxi (Transportation)

A Guide To Credit Card-Friendly Spots, Major Cards, Currency Exchange, And More

Normal ticket machines at JR train stations, depending on the machine, will be cash only for purchasing a ticket or recharging your IC card.

If you want to use your credit card, please visit the JR Ticket Office or go to a ticket machine that accepts credit cards.

However, not all train stations will have JR Ticket Offices. These offices will often be found in relatively large stations. In Tokyo, they’re found in major stations such as Tokyo Station, Shinjuku Station, Ikebukuro Station, Shibuya Station, and Ueno Station. For details, please check this page (Japanese).

Shinkansen (Bullet Trains)
Shinkansen tickets can be paid for with credit cards when purchasing passenger, special-express, or unreserved seat tickets. Of course, you can purchase your shinkansen tickets at ticket machines, as well as at the JR Ticket Office, or online. Please be careful as shinkansen ticket machines are different from train ticket machines.

Express Buses
For express buses, choose a bus company at the destination you will be visiting and purchase a ticket. You can pay with a credit card with most bus companies. In addition to paying via credit card, you may also be able to pay at a convenience stores or at travel agencies partnered with reservation websites.

Transit Buses
It is standard to pay by cash or IC card on transit buses. For sightseeing tour buses, you may be able to use your credit card when purchasing your tour bus package.

This does not mean that all tour buses can be paid with a credit card, so be sure to research whether or not this is possible beforehand.

In Japan, there are many taxis that do not accept credit cards. If it is a major taxi company you will be able to use a credit card or IC card, but many private taxis only accept cash.

When you want to use your credit card, check the back seat window before getting on as it will display whether or not credit cards are accepted. We recommend asking the driver directly whether or not they accept credit cards before you get into the vehicle.

For more information on taxis, please read the article “How To Take A Taxi In Japan”.

Chain Stores Accept Cards, but be Cautious at Privately-Run Businesses (Dining)

A Guide To Credit Card-Friendly Spots, Major Cards, Currency Exchange, And More

Department Stores
Credit cards are accepted for food purchases and for other merchandise at most department stores. You should have no problems using your credit card at these stores.

Around Stations
In the areas surrounding train stations you’ll be able to use your credit card at most restaurants, and especially at chain restaurants. Many storefronts will have a logo indicating whether or not cards are accepted, so look for this logo when entering.

Privately-Run Restaurants
Many privately-run restaurants in metropolitan areas such as Tokyo and Osaka will accept credit cards. It is best to check for the credit card logo at the storefront when entering, or to confirm with an employee.

However, please be careful, as there may be some restaurants that will tell you “you cannot use your credit card during lunch,” even if they have a logo indicating they accept credit cards.

Credit cards are accepted at most souvenir shops located in tourist areas.

A logo indicating what payment methods are accepted will be displayed at storefronts. It is best to ask whether or not they accept credit cards before entering in the event that there is no logo.

Paying with Credit Card at Lodgings

A Guide To Credit Card-Friendly Spots, Major Cards, Currency Exchange, And More

Credit cards are accepted at almost all hotels, ryokan (Japanese inns), hostels, and guest houses. You will pay by card when making an advance reservation. There are also some lodging facilities that only accept cash, so it is best to confirm beforehand whether or not they are cash-only if they ask for onsite payment when making your reservation.

Major Cards Usable In Japan

Next, we’ll introduce the major credit cards you can use in Japan. First are VISA and MasterCard. These cards are widely accepted at stores where credit card payment is taken.

Next is Japan’s own credit card brand, JCB. Their shares fall behind when compared to VISA or MasterCard, but they are still a major brand in Japan.

There are stores that accept American Express and DinersClub cards, but it is not unusual for a store to not accept these cards. These cards can be used at most establishments selling high-end products.

There are also locations including sightseeing areas and department stores handling large sums of money that will accept cards such as UnionPay.

How to Get Yen at ATMs in Japan

A Guide To Credit Card-Friendly Spots, Major Cards, Currency Exchange, And More

You won’t be able to enjoy your trip if you are without cash and a credit card. By using your card at ATMs marked with the PLUS logo, you can easily utilize an overseas cashing service.

For information on financial institutions that use PLUS in Japan, please read Where You Can Find ATM Available With International Brand Credit.

Aside from PLUS ATM machines, you will also be able to withdraw cash at most ATMs with VISA or MasterCard logos.

Get Yen at Currency City Exchange Spots

A Guide To Credit Card-Friendly Spots, Major Cards, Currency Exchange, And More

For those thinking, “I don’t have enough Japanese yen, but I have my home currency!," you’ll be able to exchange that cash at foreign currency exchange spots. The conversion rates and handling fees will differ at each currency exchange spot.

Very few retailers accept currencies other than Japanese yen, so it is very important to have the right form of payment.

Can I use my Debit Card in Japan?

A Guide To Credit Card-Friendly Spots, Major Cards, Currency Exchange, And More

Debit cards, a card that charges money from your bank account at the time of purchase, can be used for shopping wherever credit cards are accepted but will have some exceptions.

Use a debit card in Japan in the same way as you would a credit card.


What credit card is used most in Japan?

In Japan, various types of credit cards are used, ranging from those issued by major international brands like Visa, Mastercard, and JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) to local options provided by Japanese banks and companies. Each type of credit card comes with its own set of benefits, rewards, and acceptance rates. The credit card that was frequently used and preferred by many in Japan was the Rakuten Card. Rakuten, a major Japanese e-commerce company, issues this card, which has gained significant popularity among consumers for its rewards program and various benefits.

Can foreigners get a credit card in Japan?

Foreigners residing in Japan can typically apply for credit cards, with requirements including a valid residency status, proof of income, and possibly a credit history. Necessary documents may include a residence card and proof of income. Understanding the application process, language barriers, and individual card issuer criteria is essential for foreigners seeking a credit card in Japan. For details on how to get a credit card in Japan, please check this MATCHA article.

Which credit card is best for spending in Japan?

When choosing a credit card for spending in Japan, consider options like Visa, Mastercard, JCB for wide acceptance, travel rewards cards for perks, and prepaid travel cards for convenience. Local Japanese bank cards can also be useful. Look for cards with no foreign transaction fees and research benefits, fees, and rewards programs to make an informed choice.

Is credit card common in Japan?

Credit cards are commonly used in Japan, especially in urban areas and among younger demographics. While cash has traditionally been the primary form of payment in Japan, the adoption of credit cards has been increasing steadily in recent years.
Major international credit card brands like Visa, Mastercard, and JCB (Japan Credit Bureau) are widely accepted in Japan, making it convenient for both locals and tourists to use credit cards for transactions at various establishments such as shops, restaurants, hotels, and transportation services. Approximately 30.4 percent of consumer spending in Japan is facilitated through credit card payments.

Can I withdraw money from credit card Japan?

Yes, it is possible to withdraw cash from a credit card in Japan; however, this process is typically known as a "cash advance." With a cash advance, you can use your credit card at an ATM to withdraw cash, similar to how you might use a debit card.
It is important to note that cash advances from credit cards usually come with high fees and interest rates compared to standard purchases. It is generally recommended to use this option only in emergencies or when other forms of payment are not available, as the costs associated with cash advances can be significant.
Before opting for a cash advance from your credit card in Japan, be sure to check with your card issuer to understand the fees, interest rates, and any other terms and conditions that may apply to such transactions.

Does 7 Eleven Japan take credit card?

Yes, 7-Eleven stores in Japan commonly accept credit cards for payment. Major international credit card brands like Visa, Mastercard, and JCB are typically accepted at 7-Eleven locations throughout Japan.
Using a credit card at 7-Eleven stores in Japan allows for convenient and secure transactions, especially for travelers or individuals who prefer using cards instead of cash. However, it's always a good idea to have some cash on hand as well, as not all small establishments or rural areas may accept credit cards.

Written by


The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting. Some of our articles contain affiliate links. We kindly ask our readers to exercise careful judgement when making a purchase or booking a service online.

Top Articles

There are no articles in this section.