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Bank Question for Tourist Visa

I will be visiting Tokyo as often as allowed by a 90 day tourist visa. I plan to withdraw/convert cash from an American/International bank with offices in Tokyo and really good access to ATMs. No foreign tx feed.

But after reading your articles about banking and brokerage in Japan, I realized I should ask if this ATM system will work. I realize ATMs are not 24 hours in Japan and you need to plan for your cash needs well in advance. I do not plan to use a credit card unless absolutely necessary such as plane tickets.

I will be traveling around nearby countries also with a 90-day visa, such as Taiwan and South Korea. And I want to keep up this rotation indefinitely. Sometimes going to other Asian countries. Sometimes skipping the second allowable 90-day visit to Tokyo. I read that eventually customs will accuse a person of trying to live in Japan without a residence visa. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do! Tokyo is the place I love most. I’m retiring soon. Any medical and financial needs that can be met in Tokyo, will be. My unofficial home base. I’ve read your post office article and it looks possible to set up a place for having mail forwarded from the US.

Hi Karen,

Thanks for the question! I can’t really address your idea of tricking Japan immigration, but you will have trouble staying here long term without a non-temporary visa status. For example you won’t be able to sign any rental agreement, you won’t be able to do any local banking and you won’t be able to sign up for any local services that aren’t geared towards tourists.

Anyway, in regard to your question about ATMs, this article might help. It says “credit card” but the advice applies equally to regular ATM cards.

Your info that ATMs are not 24 hours is a bit out-of-date. ATMs at Bank branches are not 24 hours, but there’s a huge network of 24 hour ATMs inside convenience stores, and convenience stores are ubiquitous in Japan.

Any restrictions on withdrawing cash from an ATM are likely to be on you US bank’s side. You should make sure of the following.

  1. Your ATM card has an integrated chip (often called chip and PIN in the US). If there is just a magnetic strip and no chip, you won’t be able to use it outside the US
  2. There should be a network mark on your card. If it has the Plus symbol or the Cirrus symbol (it looks like a modified Mastercard logo) you should be fine for using ATMs in Japan

I would recommend checking with your bank though. They may have a block on overseas ATMs to prevent fraud or there may be something peculiar about their system that stops you from using it in Japan.

Thank you VERY MUCH for this information. Really appreciate. Your whole website is great. ありがとうございます😊


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