Snap taken at my local bank during lunch. Despite having the technology to give abilities to school girls to fly and to make huge mean mecha's, Japan is still very much a cash oriented society.
While you can pretty much pay for anything with just a credit card in the US, you will find it difficult getting around on just a card in Japan.
There are many reasons why credit cards are not as popular - a few examples are:-
-Some folks still don't trust credit cards - especially online use of credit cards. We had a tough time at Amazon until we started to accept COD (Cash On Delivery). This is where the goods are paid for at the doorstep. Is this a Japan thing only?
-Many places don't accept credit cards - especially during lunch. Shop owners need to pay a processing fee on cards and because they are not making a lot of money during the lunch period, they don't want to have to loose out on paying the processing fee too.
Restaurants generally make money during the evening when people drink alcohol. They also charge much more for dinner items.
-Many Japanese still keep cash at home - and when they don't they just go to the bank to withdraw some.
The average amount I carry is about 10,000 yen - which is nothing compared to what many of my Japanese comrades carry around which is about 50,000 yen. Personally don't find the need to carry around much cash.
How much wad do you usually carry around?