This is one of my best ways of how to save money while traveling in Japan. Currency exchange, money transfer, discount train tickets, discount concert & restaurant coupons…no problem!Ticket Daikokuya solve it all!

You may have heard many advice like exchange money in your home bank first, the airport, destination country’s bank or hotel. For Japanese currency, I preferred to exchange money at a store in Shinjuku, Tokyo called Ticket DaiKokuya (Their Kanji name literally means “Big Black House”….kinda shady huh =D).

Shady or not, the Big Black House sells:

  • Discounted Shinkansen and JR Express Train Tickets (my gawd stop paying the full price tickets now, this place gives you 30-45% discount).
  • Special food coupons for restaurants.
  • Currency exchange.

They also operate a pawn shop too….(to add to their interesting store nature).

(Note/Disclaimer: Exchange rate may vary. Please ask before buying. Not responsible for anything that might happen…given the interesting nature of their shop.)

My Currency Exchange Adventure:

Here is how I figure out their value from USD to Yen is worth it. I first exchanged some money at a bank in USA, with the rate of 1USD = 76 Yen. Still have another half to be exchanged but not enough time, I was looking at the exchange rate in San Francisco Airport….my good lord it was 1 USD to 69 Yen. Are you kidding me? I squinted my eyes, and walked away. When I arrived at Ticket DaiKokuya in Shinjuku, the lady showed me the exchange rate: 1 USD to 78 Yen. Bingo! I found my jackpot!

I also heard you can exchange money at certain banks in Japan, I have yet to try that method…

Discount Train Tickets:

Another thing I love about DaiKokuya/Big Black House is their discounted train tickets. I use to buy a JR express train ticket from Tokyo to Shiojiri for $67,00 yen…and when I found the discount ticket at Big Black House, it only costs about $45,00 yen. They also sell some Shinkansen tickets!

Important: After you get your discounted train ticket, take the ticket to the ticket machines at the train stations. Select English language choice, then choose seat reservation with discount coupon/ticket. The machine will direct you to insert your discount ticket, then you can start selecting the train time and seat you want! (Worst comes to worst ask the station people to help you =D)

Note: The discount train ticket is meant for same day usage. During high travel season, buy the tickets early in the morning, and then go to the ticket machines at the stations to reserve the train and seat right away.

DaiKokuya/Big Black House can be found at:

Take South Exit of JR Shinjuku Station. Turn right and walk down the street (you will see a white bridge as you walk by) to the intersection with shopping mall entrance of Lumine 1 . Turn left and cross that street, you should see Ticket Daikokuya with their orange banner.