Day 7: Surviving in Kyoto Without Cash

After we ran out of cash by the end of the the previous day, the first thing we did after waking up was to look for ATM to draw money. We tried both of our cards and they didn’t work. We have our credit cards but we both did not remember our pin numbers as we never used our credit cards to withdraw money before.

Worried, we went back to the hotel to see if there were other ATMs that work with international banks. We discovered that there was one at the Post Office which was some distance away. We tried it and our hearts sank as our ATM cards did not work there either and the staff did not have any suggestion of what we could do.

By then, it was nearing noon and I was really hungry. I suggested that we go grab a bite first while we think over our options. Without money, we went to a restaurant and had a set meal each.

We tried to brainstorm what we could do. Should I try to contact an old school mate who stays in Kyoto to borrow money from her? Should we try to contact mum to go to our homes to try to look for the credit card passwords? Should we try to borrow some money from the hotel concierge? And we definitely needed to contact our banks to see if they could help.

Our bicycles were locked up at a parking area and we needed coins to retrieve our bicycles. When we return the bicycles, we will get back our deposit of 4,000 yen. However, we need to get them out unlocked first. We would also get some money from returning our ICOCA cards.

When we were about to finish eating, I joked about what if this restaurant didn’t accept credit cards either? However, we had picked this one as we ate at one of their branches elsewhere in Kyoto and had paid by credit card.

We went to the payment counter and the lady said, “Sorry, cash only.” What? ….

We started apologizing that we only had credit cards and the manager came out. We explained to him that we live in the hotel opposite and we need maybe an hour or so to find cash. To our delight, he actually agreed to wait for us to return and he basically trusted us. No writing of contact details, no need to handover anything as deposit, pure human trust.

These 2 days were clearly about being vulnerable and dependent on the goodwill and kindness of others and we are so glad that we were in Kyoto where the people are really awesome!

We called the bank when we reached back the hotel and thank goodness, the problem was that there was a new rule which we didn’t know of — we had to call in advance to activate overseas withdrawal! We both previously had done overseas withdrawal without this step so we didn’t think that it would be this reason.

Supremely happy, we did our sums and tried to be prudent with how much cash we would withdraw as we didn’t have many more days in Kyoto. Here is Mr Lillots looking overjoyed at the ATM!

After paying the restaurant, we also went to return our bicycles. There were not many other sights within Kyoto which we wanted to cover, so we went to our favourite Kamo River, but to a different intersection this time round, where the shape was a Y.

We saw a group of teenagers sitting down together, laughing and joking around and we were about to settle down on some of the rocks when a Japanese asked us some questions. In his hand was a book which had a picture of the Kamo river.

We didn’t quite understand his questions but we learnt that he was from Tokyo. “Romance novels” he said and pointed excitedly around the area. We figured that he meant this area is used as the backdrop for many Japanese romance novels. Indeed, we can imagine many teenagers would have loved and lost in a place like this. Love was clearly in the air around here and we had seen so many couples lying down by the grass, just enjoying the summer breeze.

We were taking pictures when we noticed that the Tokyo tourist was alone and he was trying to take a picture of himself and the river. We offered to help him and he clearly had some ideas of what mood he wanted to convey as he started posing and asking us to capture various angles. Perhaps he was writing his own romance novel too?

The skies had suddenly darkened by now and some park wardens came and shouted at us from across the river. The Tokyo tourist told us it was about to rain, and they advised us to leave quickly. Probably they were afraid there might be flash floods and we would be stuck on the rocks?

The thought of romance novels prompted me to start thinking of one of my own and we were so engrossed in our story telling that we missed our train stop. We back-tracked and found ourselves still stuck in the rainy weather. Thankfully, there was a 100 yen shop and a Japanese bookstore for us to while away some time.

The english books and CDs were really expensive so we didn’t get any, but we bought ourselves a 100 yen transparent umbrella. It is really an elegant design when you think about it. Being able to hold the umbrella close to your bodies while having line of vision of what is ahead of you!

The most comforting food to eat in this type of rainy weather were of course instant  cup noodles while snugged safely in the hotel so that was our dinner. Good night!

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3 thoughts on “Day 7: Surviving in Kyoto Without Cash

    • Thanks! Yes if the reason wasn’t because of the overseas withdrawal rule, we really would not know what to do. We would probably have to borrow money or try to busk at the JR stations 🙂

  1. Pingback: Day 3: The people you meet along the way | lillots

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