Many automatic teller machines (ATMs) in Japan do not accept credit, debit and ATM cards, which are issued outside of Japan.

The big exception are postal ATMs found mainly at the over 20,000 post offices in all parts of the country and 7-Bank ATMs found at approximately 20,000 7-Eleven convenience stores and other locations across Japan (availability in very rural areas and in Okinawa is limited). These ATMs allow you to withdraw cash by credit and debit cards issued outside of Japan, including Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express and JCB cards, and provide an English user menu.

7-Bank ATMs are available 24 hours per day around the year. In case of postal ATMs, however, only the ones in the central offices of major cities offer a 24 hour/7 day service, including the ones at the Tokyo Central Office, Shinjuku Office, Shibuya Office and at the central offices of Osaka, Kyoto and a few other major cities (note that even these ATMs are unavailable on Sundays and public holidays between 20:00 and midnight).

Postal ATM operating hours then decrease proportionally to the size of the post office, from major post offices (typically 7:00 to 23:00, shorter hours on weekends) to medium sized offices (typically 8:00 to 20:00, shorter hours on weekends, possibly closed on Sundays) to minor offices (typically 9:00 and 16:00, closed on weekends).

In addition to the postal and 7-Bank ATMs, international ATMs can be found at thousands of Family Mart and Lawson convenience stores (but not all of them), international airports, in major department stores, and at Shinsei Bank branches. ATMs by Aeon Bank, found at Aeon malls and selected other locations, also accept cards issued outside of Japan. Over the coming years, the situation is expected to further improve as Japan's major banks will gradually increase the number of ATMs that can handle international cards.

In order to use international ATMs, ensure the following at home before leaving for Japan:

  • Make sure that your credit or debit card can be used abroad.
  • Inquire what fees and daily and/or monthly limits are associated with international withdrawals.
  • Remember your card's secret 4-digit PIN.
  • Notify your bank that you are going to use your card overseas, since many banks will block a card which is suddenly used abroad, suspecting a fraud.

Tsuwano Post Office (left), Taketomi Post Office (right)