China and Japan are becoming popular world tourist destinations. Here is a simple guide that addresses money exchange in both of these Asian countries.
The currency in Japan is called the Japanese Yen (JPY). One Japanese Yen equals a 100 cents.
In Japan some of the larger hotels and resorts accept major credit cards and so do a few of the major restaurants but the vast majority of the country prefers cash.
You can exchange money at most banks, post offices, and currency exchange bureaus. The vast majority of Japanese banks stay open from 9 am- 3 pm.
To receive the best exchange rate in Japan it is best to use Travelers Checks. Only large retailers, hotels, and resorts tend to take travelers checks so you will need to exchange them in order to make purchases in small places.
Currency exchange bureaus on Japan normally offer a decent rate of exchange. Post offices in Japan tend to offer decent exchange rates and so do some smaller banks. Hotels exchange rates tend to be high and the airports are extremely high.
You can use your credit or debit cards at ATM’s to get yen but there are normally fees attached. However, the exchange rate tends to not be that bad.
Before you enter Japan it is best to exchange a small amount of money, less then five hundred, at a US bank for Japanese Yen. Be sure to let your bank know ahead of time that you will be coming in for Japanese Yen so they are able to get it. Most banks do not have it readily available for exchange but they can get it with advance notice.
The currency in China is called Renminbi Yuan which means Peoples Money (CNY or RMB) The RMB is confusing. It is is divided into 10 chiao/jiao or 100 fen. The conversion is 1 yuan = 10 jiao =100 fen. RMB comes in both notes and currency. The denominations of notes include 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen. The denominations of coins are 1 yuan; 5, 2 and 1 jiao; and 5, 2 and 1 fen. All of this can often be quite overwhelming for the foreign traveler.
One of the most important things to remember is that you absolutely must exchange all RMB before leaving China because you will be unable to exchange it in the US. Remember to keep all your currency exchange receipts because you will be unable to change the RMB back into US money when it comes time to return home without the receipts.
The best way to carry money in China is Travelers Checks. These are safe and secure. They are also easy to exchange for RMB. The Bank of China will readily cash Travelers Checks, some hotels, and some resorts will also.
Credit cards are really only accepted in major cities. And even then they are not readily accepted everywhere. They are also not often accepted for the purchase of rail or air tickets. Finding an ATM that will take a foreign card is virtually impossible. You will have to go to the Bank Of China to exchange money with a credit card.
Before traveling to China I would advice doing your research on the RMB so you understand it completely.