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Credit cards for Nosawa and Hakuba

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We are arriving 13th Jan and trying to work out how much yen to take for a family of four. We are hiring a van for most of the trip and are paying for this by credit card.

 

Which of the following is cash only or can we use a credit card?

 

Lift tickets at Nosawa and Hakuba?

 

Meals out?

 

Shuttle at Hakuba?

 

Ski lessons?

 

Train back to Tokyo?

 

Taxi in Tokyo?

 

thanks for any help. BTW we have a mastercard and an amex, also a visa as a backup.

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Defineately can use a credit card: Taxi, meals out, bullet trains to/from Tokyo, dunno about local trains....hmm....maybe not?

I've never tried but probably can use credit card:Lift tics

Maybe can't use card:ski lessons

Shuttle buses are almost always free of charge.

Also, alot of places don't accept amex and mastercard but will always accept visa. Sorry I couldn't be more defineate with some of my answers.

Enjoy your trip!

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Mudguts is correct but just to add my two yen:

Meals out - Usually but perhaps not in some of the samller places because they can't afford the high commission fees that the credit card companies charge them.

I'd say it's not even worth bringing the Amex. The only place that I've seem accept it is the American supermarket CostCo and there aren't any of those anywhere near the ski resorts!

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Take special care because you have a FOREIGN credit card. Here my personal experience from early 2006 with my Hong Kong VISA card:

 

Lift tickets at Nosawa and Hakuba? - accepted

Meals out? - usually accepted

Shuttle at Hakuba? - you mean the bus from Nagano? I think cash only.

Ski lessons? - depends where. Some will, some won't. I used card with one, no problem.

Train back to Tokyo? - JR was THE ONLY place that did not accept my VISA card

Taxi in Tokyo? - no idea

 

Also: some hotels may not accept, or charge extra for cards. Take care of that!

Spicy Ski Rental in Hakuba accepts cards

 

Bring also you local debit card. It may work in some ATM. I will bring my EC card which is a very cheap way to get ¥¥¥¥¥

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We found that you could survive pretty adequately almost solely on Master card / Visa card - Cirrus was definately a help. Amex and Diners would see you stranded. Interestingly different cards like the round corner Virgin Card cause major probs in Post office teller machines. In my experience, and perhaps it is just the two types of card that my wife and I have, cheapest cash was to get cash advance from a teller machine at the Post office - exchange rate is whatever it is on the day with very nominal fees (less, I think than doing a cash advance from a non bank ATM here at home)

 

The 7-11 and Lawson cashcard machines are another story and bite you for a somewhat disadvantageous exchange rate and cruel fees. According to legend if you do a cash withdrawal on a debit card it will cost like $80.00 before you get your bit.

 

Next - always have at least 2 different cards as they seem to go on the fritz for seemingly no reason from time to time - again mainly for cash - not so much for purchases.

 

Lift tix - Our experience at Hakuba was that some windows coped with international CCs and some did not. If you are there on a busy day, ticket lines can get a bit intimidating and a pocketfull of yen is handy. I always like to have about 20,000 as this would get lift tix and a long way in a taxi if you somehow ended up somewhere inconvenient.

 

Eateries - usually the best ones need cash but keep an eye open as many will accept CC and it is always handy to preserve your Yen.

 

Train tix from the big stations for the big fares can usually cope with CC, but we got stuck in Nagano and had to go get cash (thankfully PO is just over the road, and trains depart every half hour) and then came back to get tix (at a different window) where we found out that they had a $200 transaction limit for international CC(may have been $100) so always try to break up big purchases from JR to get around this.

 

We have found that it is worth shopping around for where you buy you JPY prior to departure - Suncorp seem to be best. Australia Post used to be really good but now that they are tied up with Travelex, I think there is like a 7% margin in the exchange rate.

 

PS - We always tip Japanese taxi drivers - just round it up to easy change eg 1380 - 1500. Partly because we are involved in taxi industry but also because these guys do it pretty tough and can be a really great resource.

 

Hope this helps.

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>The 7-11 and Lawson cashcard machines are another story and bite you for a somewhat disadvantageous exchange rate and cruel fees. According to legend if you do a cash withdrawal on a debit card it will cost like $80.00 before you get your bit.

 

WOW! veryshocked veryshocked

 

Thats insane MB! How many withdrawals did you make and did you know the fee was that much before coming, or after? Thats a sheetload on fees alone. I know you paid that much, but that amount sounds like a joke - incredulous almost!

 

I think Ewok and I were hit on like 10-15 dollars per transaction in China and Cambodia (Laos maybe?)...maybe she could answer since it was her cc. Think we made 2 the entire trip so kind of a waste but shaaaanai!

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Actually, I have to disagree with Mr Brisbane. I used my NAB ATM card in Tokyo/Furano all the time, to withdraw Yen from my australian Bank account at 7-11's. I think all up, I made about 5-10 withdrawals, and I didn't get charged much at all (From memory about $15) Considering the amount of money I withdrew, I payed a lot less than I would have with Travelex. If I had known this from the start, I wouldn't have worried about getting so much money exchanged in Aus. Get enough to get you from the Airport to your hotel, or whereever you find the nearest 7-11..

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My understanding is that just about every card and bank is different so it is well worth investigating this before you find out the hard way.

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the 7/11 doesnt charge 80 bucks.

 

You can use cards for almost everything but not at local train stations, little izakyas and some cabs.

 

Cards ok at

Lift tickets fine

Hotels fine

Shuttles free in Hakuba

leassons fine

 

Japan has come out of the dark ages!

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I've since searched the Narita Airport site, and there is a 7-11 ATM there if you don't make it to the Currency exchange. good if you need some more funds for a limousine bus or for duty free on the way out

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Counting the days and calculating the extra quantum of Aussie pesos to convert to yen for our next trip (15 days to go), and our first visit to Nozawa.

 

Is it fair to say that the ability to use a Visa card or find an ATM (if I run out of cash) at Noz, will be the same as at Hakuba.

 

i.e. Is there an ATM that takes Cirrus cards in the village (7-11 or post office?)?

Do (at least some) lift ticket windows accept foreign credit cards?

 

I thought I had it all worked out last year, then JR declined my Visa for 2 tix from Nagano to Kyoto. Amex was ok! I guess it had to come in handy eventually.... after so many decades...

 

One more thing, I note that there is a "6 day season pass" at Nozawa. Does this mean any six days in a season?

 

Many thanks

DMcV

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Any Post Office ATM will accept your cirrus card, so I'd expect there to be no probs at the PO in Noz

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Originally Posted By: deemacvee


One more thing, I note that there is a "6 day season pass" at Nozawa. Does this mean any six days in a season?

Many thanks
DMcV


Not sure about ANY 6 days, but I do know that they are NOT consecutive days. I bought a 60yo+ "season" 6 day ticket on 15 Jan, skied that day, the following and the next, had a day off (in bed with sh!t of a cold) and then the next 2 days, another day off because everyone else wanted to have a 'shopping' trip and then skied the next day - all on the original ticket.

They have an electronic "chip" transponder that is read by the lift gates. It calculates the number of days you have used it and displays the number of days remaining on the display at the gate. Use it until ir reads 1 - that means that is your last day, then renew.

As a matter of interest, there was no request to provide proof of age. Thet may mean that I look over 60 (slightly unhappy about that possibility) or they do not care.

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