If you're traveling in Japan, it's essential to have enough coins. Many machines in Japan, like arcade game machines, Gachapon (toy capsule vending machines), laundromats, and more, only accept coins.
During our trip to Japan, for example, my wife and I once tried using a massage chair at Narita Airport, which only took coins, and we only had cash papers. So, we needed to exchange our bills for coins.
In Japan, it's easy to convert your paper money to coins without necessarily making a purchase. There are some machines designed for this purpose.
In this article, I'll guide you on how to use these machines to convert your banknotes to coins. But first, let's identify where you can typically find these money exchange machines.
You can often find money exchange machines near other devices that require coin payments. They are typically set up by the vending machine companies.
It's considered impolite in Japan to ask shopkeepers or restaurant staff to exchange money, especially if you're not making a purchase. This is why many establishments won't exchange your money.
That's why these money exchange machines offer a convenient alternative without making business owners feel inconvenient. Here are some common places where you can locate them:
Most arcade games need coins to operate. Therefore, it's common to find money exchange machines at these venues.
These are unique vending machines selling items like anime figures, keychains, pins, and more. You'll often find a money exchange machine nearby.
Commonly found in Japan, these self-service laundry facilities require coins for their washers, dryers, and purchasing detergents. So, it's common to see money exchange machines here.
Most buses in Japan accept both cash and card payments. However, they require the exact fare in cash. To assist passengers, there's usually a coin exchange machine near the driver.
Aside from the above, many other locations have these machines, especially if they require coins for payment.
Once you locate a machine, follow these simple steps:
Each machine has its own limits on the amount it can exchange. While many accept 1000 yen notes, some might also accept 500 yen coins. Ensure you're aware of these limits before inserting your money.
Place your banknotes or coins into the machine, adhering to the specified denominations. It's crucial that the money is in good shape, free from folds or damage, so the machine can process it.
Within seconds, the machine will provide your change. Do note that once you insert your money, you can't cancel the transaction, unlike with some vending machines.
Once the machine processes your money, collect your coins. Ensure you've picked up all of them.
Exchanging large bills for smaller coins or change in Japan is quite straightforward. I hope this guide can help you out, especially if you're planning a trip to Japan soon.
It's important to remember that when using an exchange machine, you should ideally be using the services it's associated with.
For instance, if you're at a laundromat and you exchange your money for coins, it's expected that you use the laundromat services. Simply converting money without availing the service is seen as inconsiderate or even unethical in Japanese culture.
Japan places great value on social etiquette and norms. It's a society that highly regards mutual respect, so when you're there, always be aware of the customs and traditions.