No one wants to be ripped off when converting currency from US Dollars to Japanese Yen. I was told the exchange rate is better to bring American Dollars into Japan in order to exchange for Japan Yen, but once you are in Japan, where is the best place? Is it the bank? the exchange booths at the airport? Some random store in the middle of nowhere? I went surveying and I have the answer for you!
Where is the best place to exchange US Dollars to Japanese Yen?
I surveyed 6 different places that are available to just walk in to exchange and here’s the summary of US Dollars to Japanese Yen.
|Available at Airport
|SMBC Sumitomo Major Bank
|Available everywhere during office hours
|Yokohama Local Bank
|Available near train stations
As long as you avoid Travelex, you are in safe territory. Just keep in mind that the exchange rate should be around 2-3%.
Do I need my ID to exchange currency?
Absolutely no ID needed. You just hand them your US Dollars and they will hand you Japanese yen with a receipt. There are no additional fees. With the current chart, if you walk into a Daikokuya and give them $1, they will just hand you 110 yen with a receipt.
I just realized as I posted the pic above that there is a clear sign saying to take no photos.
Current Dollar to Japan Exchange Rate
Before we start hunting, we’ll see what the actual exchange rate is. I have to do this search in a short time, because rates may change throughout the day. Usually, the central bank of Japan will release a rate in the morning for everyone to use, but the rates can fluctuate during the day for many reasons.
Today’s rate is $1 to 112.69 Yen
Travelex Currency Exchange – 7.3% Fee
This is the currency exchange available anywhere especially at the airport. They had the worst exchange rate. Every time I see a Travelex, I get confused at what the current rate is because the numbers are so shifted for their profit.
Their exchange sits at
$1 to 104.47 yen
They take a whopping 7.3% of your money to exchange it for you!
When you trade in $1000, they take $73 away
It baffles me why people line up for this place.
Japan’s Major Bank Exchange Rate – 2.9% Fee
I was always told to just go to the bank and they offer the best rate. So I walked into SMBC which is everywhere in Japan. It’s one of the biggest banks in Japan.
There is a small limitation to the hours you can visit. For example they are closed during the weekends and close pretty early on weekdays.
Their exchange sits at
$1 to 109.42 yen
A WHOLE lot better than Travelex!
They take 2.9% of your money to exchange it for you!
When you trade in $1000, they take $29 away
Not bad. Considering people are giving away $73 at the airport, this is a good deal.
Yokohama Local Bank Exchange Rate – 2.87% Fee
I wanted to see if a smaller / major bank offered better rates.
In the US, the smaller banks usually offer better rates than major banks for obvious reasons.
Smaller banks do offer just a tad bit better rate.
$1 to 109.49 yen
Depending on the amount you’re trading, it may not be enough to walk across the street for it.
J-Market next Currency Exchange – 2.43% Fee
I wasn’t expecting much but I bumped into a small J-Market （Jマーケット）booth which sold discounted tickets and also did currency exchange right when I got out of the Sotetsu exit at the Yokohama Station.
They are offering
$1 to 109.99 yen
I was about to end my search here, but stood firm.
Daikokuya 大黒屋 Currency Exchange – 2.37% Fee
This is the big discounted ticket seller. Many social communities would say Daikokuya is the best. You can find this big orange sign when you go slightly away from the train station.
$1 to 110.06 yen
So far, the best. Not by far, but it’s the best.
Access Ticket アクセスチケット Currency Exchange – 1.97% Fee
I was taking a walk inside a Don Quijote to pick up some toilet paper rolls to bump into this surprise. I thought another rip off currency exchange, but it turned out to be the BEST! and by far!
$1 = 110.51 yen!
Does the small USD-JPY FX trade matter?
In Japan, you’ll easily be spending $100s of dollars on entertainment and food so even if you’re exchanging $1000 total, it can make the difference of ~$50 (5%) if you go to the wrong currency exchange store. Look at that, oh look at this, let’s go to the cat cafe, let me eat that ice cream, and before you know it, you’ll be surprised how much cash you burn through as a tourist in Japan. Savings and Japan Travel should not be used in the same sentence unless it’s how I just used it.