Fill your wallet with cash

Pin and fill your wallet with cash!

When I landed at Kansai International Airport, I immediately looked for an ATM. I had been warned ahead of time, that I would need to carry cash on Shikoku. And that turned out to be the truth. Nearly all my payments were done in cash, except for in a few (business) hotels. These accepted credit cards, just like the bus service between KIX and Shikoku-Tukoshima (which ran in 2019 and has stopped during the COVID-period)! In all other circumstances, you can leave PIN transactions or contactless payments behind at home, just pay in cash.

Exchange terminals

At the train station of Tukoshima I was a bit confused at what I would have to do with all of my ¥10.000 bills. I was lucky, and the terminal accepted bills, so I received a jackpot’s worth of coins and bills back. That turned out to be very useful: I could pay for almost all of my next transactions without needing change.

‘Saving’ my spare change

The coins with low values are best kept separate from the rest. They are useful when you partake in the temple rituals. I had a separate pouch for keeping those in. Apparently, the coins that are worth ¥ 5 have a special meaning. You can recognize them by the small hole in their middle. In some temples you can buy bags full of them, for a higher price than their actual value! They bring the person who gifts them luck. I used them for donations in temples when I had someone in mind that could use some extra support: it wouldn’t hurt to do so, after all!

Where to collect cash?

The best places to withdraw cash are post offices. Thankfully, these are marked in the route guide. Dutch bank cards are accepted with no hassle. Almost all Konbini also have ATMs. Sadly, my SNS-bankcard did not work in all terminals. During my trip, the machines at Lawsons were marked with a notice that said that they would stop accepting foreign payments. I do not know if that is really the case. For me, it did not matter: their machines did not work for me anyway.

Keep national holidays in mind

During national holidays (And Japan has many of these), international banking traffic ceases, and you might not be able to collect cash. And that also goes for the weekend which is connected to that holiday or the weekend that follows. The exception is once again the post office, as you will be able to read in my blog. You will need to pay attention during the holidays anyway: especially during ‘golden week’ it seems to be almost impossible to obtain last minute accommodation. If you get there during that period, make an estimation of the distances you want to cover and arrange your stays on that part of the route ahead of time.